ADHD weight gain in teen daughter

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    • #40169
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user mookiesmom in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      I have a 13 year old daughter who was diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive type in June 2015.  She is now on Focalin, and also takes Prozac to help with anxiety and OCD.

      She is very short for her age.  In the last year, she has gained more weight than height.  I know that some of this may be due to hormones (she has not started her period yet).  I have recently read some articles that discuss the fact that people with the inattentive type of ADHD are more likely to struggle with weight management because they quickly lose interest in diets and exercise plans due to a lack of focus and difficulty maintaining motivation.

      I want to help my precious daughter before this hurts her self-esteem, or becomes an issue with other kids saying something or the doctor actually putting her on a diet. My heart is so heavy as she is already talking about her “fat tummy” and how bad she thinks she looks in clothes compared to her friends.

      I welcome your thoughts and ideas and insight.  Thank you!!!!!

    • #42350
      Kevin Ju

      This reply was originally posted by user graceeeee in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I am quite a bit older than your daughter. However, I am a professional counselor, had been diagnosed later in life about my ADHD, and have dealt with overeating most of my life, although have never been extremely obese. Attend Overeaters Anonymous, which helped me get my weight/eating under control and stabilized. Reason why I’m telling you all of this is that I have seen many many people in recovery undiagnosed for ADD/ADHD. What I know is that depression and impulsive behavior is rampant for ADD/ADHD. Also, for me, Prozac caused me to gain weight and not care about watching what I ate. I switched to an antidepressant that worked much better for me. Many drugs/anti-depressants can cause weight gain (whether doctors acknowledge this or not), it’s more what it does to our thinking, and that can be the cause of the overeating… The one other thing I wanted to mention was that behavior modification and/or a drug for ADD/ADHD may benefit your daughter, as well. The sooner she starts to learn ways to work smarter, having ADHD, the better off she will be the rest of her life. I can see from my behavior changes and others I know that have it, that have not make strides to change behaviors, that it makes a very big difference in the quality of life we will lead. There are counselors that specialize in ADD/ADHD and will work with her to learn behaviors to help her overcome/deal with ADHD behavior. I will pray for your daughter’s healing and applaud you for paying attention and wanting to be proactive to help her improve her life and lifestyle choices! The earlier the better!!

    • #42356
      Kevin Ju

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      It could be impulsivity. It could be emotional eating. These articles offer some help with weight when one has ADHD:

      The only successful diet for anyone is the lifelong adopting of a healthy lifestyle.

      I am an emotional eater. I’ve never been able to overcome it. In recent years I have made the move to more nutritious foods, which has helped some.

      My teen daughter has anxiety and is also an emotional eater. In the last couple years she’s gained at least 20 pounds, and is devastated about it. However, she refuses to eat nutritiously, which is the reason. I tell her that her health is more important than her weight, but our society bombards teen girls with the message that they must be super-thin.

      I will mention too, SSRI’s are known to cause weight gain. (I take an SSRI for fibromyalgia and my daughter takes one for anxiety). That could be part of the equation for your daughter as well.

      It’s a tough situation, and I certainly don’t have answers.

      Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #42363
      Kevin Ju

      This reply was originally posted by user Susannec in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I’m a clinical dietitian who works with Mental Health patients, some of whom have ADHD and many who have issues with weight, part meds and part lifestyle, environment and diet.
      Most important advice:
      1) dietitian’s definition of ‘diet’ is ‘what you eat’, meaning a diet is lifelong, not a short term thing to lost weight. You are right on with eating for health and not weight loss.
      2) Forget calorie and fat counting. Google MyPlate or Balanced Plate and encourage her to work towards that model. Help her out by getting the rest of the family to work on it too.
      3) read some Brian Wansink literature, Slim by Design, etc….great stuff to help keep your environment (and plate size!) from being a problem. Follow as much of his advice as you can.
      4) check out the above comments, especially the behavioural stuff…. A huge part of not eating healthily is behavioural and emoitional….the other part is the whole ‘balanced’ thing (protein and starch/carbs at each meal for your brain and appetite control but half a plate of veggies for low cal nutrition)
      5) don’t forget activity – make it fun and social….but remember that you can’t outrun your fork…keep portions reasonable smile
      6) find ways to make the healthy stuff delicious. Food should be a pleasure not just sustinence smile
      Hope you have found at least one of these ideas will help you and your daughter out! Take care!

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