Medications for children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are widely available. The main drugs used to treat ADHD are collectively called as psycho-stimulants. They treat symptoms like hyperactivity, lack of concentration, and impulsive disorder. Although effective on these symptoms, the ADHD drugs can still cause side-effects and loss of appetite is one of the most common. When not properly and effectively handled, this might lead to losing weight.
Parents may not be able to combat the loss of appetite. But at least, they can combat losing weight by helping their ADHD children gain weight.
Firstly, observe how the ADHD drug affects your child’s appetite. Some children experience loss of appetite within the first 30 minutes after taking the drugs while other children might experience longer hours of lost appetite. The effects of one drug may vary from one child to another. So it’s important that you familiarize how the drug affects your child. This is a basic requirement when framing effective strategies to combat weight lose.
After that, start strategizing on how you can help your child gain weight or at least, stop losing weight. Below are some ways on how other parents deal with this situation:
- Give the medication after eating. Usually, ADHD drugs take effect on losing a child’s appetite after taking it. Let your child eat his meal before giving the drug. This way, you won’t have to worry even if he lost his appetite.
- Give nutrition-packed foods. It’s not necessary to eat one food to represent each nutrient. One food can already supplement the child’s required daily intake of two or more nutrients. Choose these kinds of food instead of the usual options. For example, instead of giving him jelly-sandwich, give him peanut butter sandwich.
- Be strict on finishing foods on his plate. Require your child to eat everything on his plate. This will teach him discipline and getting only the foods he can finish eating. Also, this is a good way to encourage your child to eat more.
- Encourage the child to eat even just a little amount of food. ADHD drugs send signal to the brain that he is full. But the truth is, he is hungry. He will only realize that when he started eating.
- Let him eat a lot when he wants to eat a lot. Most ADHD children who are taking medications get hungry at dinner time. Instead of serving him a dinner for a pauper, serve him a meal for a king.
- Keep healthy snacks. Be ready when your child wants to eat between meals by having healthy snacks around the house or in his backpack. You don’t want to waste an opportunity that he is interested on eating a lot.
Continue observing your child even while doing the tips above. He should
not lose 10% of his body weight in the first weeks of taking the ADHD
drug. If he does, then you need to consider changing his medication. He
might need to try more ADHD drugs until the perfect medication is found.
Consult your doctor about this. They know what to do best about your
Also, keep on strategizing on better ways to help your child gain
weight. The tips above worked for other kids and might not be effective
for your child. Gauge your child’s attitude and think of the best way to
encourage him to eat more. If this fails, then at least give him
supplements to keep his body healthy even without eating a lot.