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A Weighty Concern
"My 9-year-old son has just been diagnosed with ADD. He is overweight, and we were told that a stimulant may also help control his appetite. Is this true?"
Yes, stimulant medications decrease some children's appetites. As long as your son was correctly diagnosed with ADHD, and if the physician follows a rigorous dosing process, appetite suppression could, in his case, be a tolerable side effect. But you should not look to this medication primarily for this effect, as there may be several reasons for his weight problem. You must address his weight problem separately from treating his ADHD.
Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.