Ritalin Stunts Growth, Study Finds

Kids taking ADHD drug Ritalin are about an inch shorter and 4.4 pounds lighter than their friends, according to new study. It won’t be clear until two years from now whether the children’s growth is permanently affected.

Ritalin is such a wonder drug! Now, not only does it make your offspring more manageable, they also cost less to feed and clothe!

ADHD Drug Does Stunt Growth [WebMD via Stay Free!]
(Photo: DCVision)


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  1. G-Dog says:

    My son will never be on Ritalin, or anything of the sort. Ritalin was forced onto me from the ages of 6-17, and it’s predominantly screwed up my life. It’s not natural for an 8 year old kid to be suicidal. I did poorly all through school, then I hit college and stop taking the drug, and suddenly my grades shoot sky high. Lot of good it did me.

    Just because a kid is bored with math doesn’t mean he needs to be medicated. And how can a 4 year old child have behavior patterns?


    Tom Cruise was right all along!!!

  3. G-Dog says:

    Ritalin is nothing more than behavior control, and has nothing to do with education.

    To Paraphrase John Hickman
    “Somebody once told me that you meet every type of person there is while in highschool. I asked if they ever wondered why that is.”

  4. G-Dog says:

    America is responsible for 83% of all Ritalin prescriptions world wide. Last time I checked, college students from England and India weren’t blithering idiots incapable of forming coherent speech.

  5. Malethos says:

    There is some portion of the population that actually has ADHD and is assisted by Ritalin. For those kids its an incredible assist. OTOH, ADHD has become a garbage diagnosis in the modern world — basicly meaning “this kid is too disruptive for us because we dont want to put in the effort to manage/ understand/ challenge them”, so lets medicate them instead.

    This medication in many cases will cause other disruptions– its basicly an amphetamine analog– with all of the fun side effects thereof.

    In light of these new results we as a society need to check our selves and be careful of administering these kinds of drugs to our children.

  6. CreativeLinks says:

    short attention span = shortened growth span :)

  7. Skiffer says:

    4.4 lbs lighter? Childhood obesity begone!

  8. mrmysterious says:

    My brother was on Ritalin and was always the smallest kid in his class. By senior year of high school he was only about 5’2″ and weight about 105lbs.

    He went off of Ritalin when he graduated and he grew about 8-9″ and now is right about 200lbs.

  9. huginn says:

    Dear FDA: We may have found the reason we are losing this ‘international height war’

    Stop doping kids!

  10. Melov says:

    I took Ritalin for over 6 years when I was younger. I’m 5’10” and I’m definitely not 4.4lbs lighter than my friends….haha

  11. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Malethos: Agreed. I have known people with ADD and ADHD who most definitely needed medication for it — being hyper is normal for a kid, but being entirely incapable of focusing on something for more than five minutes at a time is not. The medication basically made it possible for them to think.

    It also pretty much destroyed their appetites, I noticed, so I’m not surprised that Ritalin kids don’t grow as fast. Amphetamines will do that to you. This is why it’s important to be damn sure that your kid is ADHD, not just bored and antsy because the school canceled both gym class and recess.

  12. queen_elvis says:

    Aren’t drugs like Ritalin outmoded? My boyfriend, who actually genuinely needs ADD drugs (unlike my brother, who was a beanpole while taking unnecessary Ritalin), is on a newer, much less harsh drug that’s still under patent.

  13. gibsonic says:

    the rest of the world isn’t self-medicated on McFatty meals as much as the US. Bad diet and lack of proper parenting are the primary ingredients in Ritalin stew.

    if you can’t make your kids mind, DRUG THEM!


    Ritalin does not work for everyone, and I agree that it is over prescribed. It’s very, very difficult to determine if a child has ADD/ADHD without trial and error when it comes to prescription drugs. It’s no easy matter! But just because it is not right for you, there is no reason to condemn it. My boyfriend is 31, and has been taking it since he was a child. It’s worked 100% for him, he suffered throughout grade school before he was prescribed it. I would be more wary of new drugs that have just come out on the market, like Strattera. Every one is so scared that Ritalin is a stimulant, but I trust drugs that have been around longer and are more tested. It’s comparable to the new birth control pills that fuck with your period and are giving women strokes!

    Anyway, Strattera is scary shit b/c there is no scientific evidence that explains how it actually works! One of those things that are discovered through experiments that hapenned to help a few ADD patients … there was a time when I tried Ritalin b/c I was having some attention problems. Didn’t work for me, felt anxious. Figured I didn’t have ADD! But my doc had some free samples of Strattera she gave me to try. After 2 weeks I started feeling paranoid, anxious and nervous. I stopped immediately and was scared as hell. Not worth sticking it out 3+ months to see how it works.

    Ritalin all the way! From Strattera’s Website:

    “Strattera works differently from other available ADHD medications. It is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. The precise role that norepinephrine plays in the treatment of ADHD is not known. However, scientists believe it may be important in regulating attention, impulsivity, and activity levels.”

    Eh, eh, eeehhhh …

  15. G-Dog says:


    A young kid doesn’t like school, SHOCKING!

    I didn’t pay attention in school because I didn’t care about it. With or without drugs being forced down my throat, I still didn’t care about school and still didn’t focus.

    In my experience, wild hyper kids have parents that unknowingly encourage the behavior.


    Also, we all have Ritalin and Aderal to thank for celebrities staying thin (Nicole Ritichie)! I had no appetite on that stuff when I tried it and I lost so much weight.

  17. G-Dog says:

    My wife made me try Strattera, as I was getting into arguments with my crappy boss. She was convinced it was my alleged ADD, and my boss couldn’t have been a jerk.

    Two days. I took it for two days and started to go all crazy-go-gothic. My mind was working like a bad Nine Inch Nails video. I dropped that crap by day three.

  18. gibsonic says:

    it’s not so much that parents directly encourage the behavior is that parents are really quite negligent, selfish, and lazy to do what it takes to properly raise children in this day and age.

    I can speak from experience as I have 3 of my own and we make hard fought conscious efforts to not be “those types of parents” but we sometimes slip up. My sister is one of “those types of parents” and quite predictably her boys are both diagnosed ADHD.

    Ironically, every time they come to my house for any length of time and are trained to behave and given proper love and attention they act perfectly normal without any drugs what-so-ever.

    There may be very rare cases of true ADD or ADHD but even those could most likely benefit from a better diet and dedicated training on the parents part.

  19. Skiffer says:

    But, if we stop over-prescribing ADD/ADHD drugs, then how are college kids supposed to get their “study aids” at the end of the semester?

  20. magic8ball says:

    Well, I’ve already reached my full adult growth, so can I have some Ritalin now please?

  21. sleze69 says:

    Ritalin worked for me. I took it when I went back to school and was finally able to concentrate on studying. I did lose weight but who cares, I am once again fat and now have a degree.

  22. banned says:

    I was a ritalin child and was already short and underweight prior to taking the drug. This is certainly over-diagnosed, most kids do not need it but I did. It did not make me a better person however, it made me seem better, kinda’ like prozac does for the depressed. My marks did improve, but my intelligence remained the same. I wasn’t too bored in school, I was too smart. I think alot of kids have the same problem as education moves at the dumb kids’ speed. I am 5’11” now so I don’t think my growth was stunted long-term

  23. TexasScout says:

    “Horse Hockey!”

    My son took it for 4-5 years, he’s 6’7″ tall.

  24. banned says:

    Benny’s like the rest of us!

  25. zentec says:

    Ritalin is a crutch in most instances and is prescribed without trying other resolutions because those resolutions are painful, stressing and a lot of work.

    My son was classic ADHD and Ritalin helped some problems, but it caused others. I remember taking him to school and he’d be in the backseat just spaced out. He had a totally dazed look about him and I said “that’s enough”. He couldn’t have learned something in that stupor. The doctor demanded that we try cutting the dose. That made it better in that he didn’t appear to be spaced out, but my wife and I both agreed it couldn’t be good for him and he still was disruptive and unable to control his body or focus his mind.

    So, I went to school and met with each of his teachers and explained the situation. I cut a deal; I worked and worked with my son under the help of a behavioral specialist to get him to control his body and actions. The teachers agreed that if he was antsy or couldn’t focus, he could leave his seat, stand in the back of the room or go get a drink of water as long as he was not disruptive to others. Those teachers that didn’t agree, I pulled him from the class. When the school put up resistance, I fought them. Seven year old boys don’t understand ADHD, nor do they see it as a problem. Adults do, and the adults at the school would rather see the kid on drugs than have to make reasonable accommodations.

    With a lot of effort and desperate attempts to boost his maturity level in order to help him understand the problem, he wasn’t required to take drugs. After puberty, the ADHD magically disappeared.

  26. G-Dog says:

    I was talking about well meaning parents that don’t realize that they are turning their children into monsters. letting your little boy run around like a tiger for hours on end at home is cute, but he needs to understand that it’s not acceptable at school.

    I have a 18 month old, and he’s going to be a chore, but that’s what being a parent is, working hard to raise a child right.

  27. RokMartian says:

    My son (16) takes a variant of it. Yes, he was properly diagnosed. I have ADD as well and was on it for a while. I can honestly say that it really made a positive difference in our lives. I don’t force my son to take it and he usually takes vacations from it on weekends and in the summer break. He honestly will tell me that he does perform better at school and prefers to be on it during that time.

    Ritalin (methyphenidate) will suppress your appetite and you will eat less, hence the weight loss.

  28. G-Dog says:

    The Onion diagnosed this problem a few years ago, they called it “Youthful Tendency Disorder”

    “Youthful Tendency Disorder (YTD), a poorly understood neurological condition that afflicts an estimated 20 million U.S. children, is characterized by a variety of senseless, unproductive physical and mental exercises, often lasting hours at a time. In the thrall of YTD, sufferers run, jump, climb, twirl, shout, dance, do cartwheels, and enter unreal, unexplainable states of “make-believe.””

    On a related note, this is a fan made ending to the comic strip “Calvin & Hobbs”


    @G-Dog: Woah! Yea, my Strattera paranoia started after I accidentally viewed this horrific video that was auto playing on someone’s MySpace page. It was graphic video of trappers ripping the fur from animals that were still alive and then throwing them in a heap of other writhing bodies. I didn’t feel OK for over a week and threw the meds in the trash. AHHHHH!!!!!

  30. QuantumRiff says:

    My favorite ADD song..

    I have A-D-D
    thats okay with me.
    I have A-D-D

    Oh, look, a butterfly…

  31. Melov says:

    I absolutely needed the medicine to focus in school, otherwise I was either tired or couldn’t concentrate. I probably would have failed without it.

  32. The Bigger Unit says:

    Someone who is 1 inch shorter somehow costs less to clothe? Last I looked a small shirt is usually the same price as a large shirt on the same rack…

    I suppose if your 1 inch makes you straddle the line between wearing kids clothes vs. adult jammies…

  33. G-Dog says:

    Before I went to college, my grades were unchanged with or without it. So I suffered the mental side effects for nothing.

  34. Peekaso says:

    I had ADD diagnosed at 7 years old. Took Ritalin everyday until 14, I am 6’7″ and well adjusted successful member of society.

    Good job whining victims. Way to be good little Americans.

    My wife took it for 3 years, she is 6’4″ and plays college volleyball and is an A student and has a job. Yep ritalin sucks, unless you snort it, you will be ok.

    G-dog sounds like you need a hug.

  35. FreakyStyley says:

    @G-Dog: “Last time I checked, college students from England and India weren’t blithering idiots incapable of forming coherent speech.”

    You sure about that? I would say that statement applies to most people, let alone college students, in the world.

  36. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @G-Dog: The people I know who have ADD/ADHD were college classmates of mine, not young children. I know a lot of kids go to college these days because they think it’s what you’re supposed to do, but trust me when I say that these people were motivated.

    When your friend tries to go off his meds and fails half his courses because he’s absolutely unable to study, and then he gets put back on Adderall and starts making As and Bs, the conclusion is difficult to escape.

    It’s obvious that you were misdiagnosed. We understand that. That’s why the meds screwed you up — stimulants have a different effect on ADD/ADHD people than they do on the general population. That doesn’t mean Strattera is universally bad; it just means it’s a bad idea to take medications for any disorder you don’t have, mental or physical. I bet if I took anti-seizure meds I’d get fucked up real good, but that doesn’t mean epilepsy doesn’t exist.

  37. ZonzoMaster says:

    @The Nature Boy: I think it’s related to a kid not growing (you don’t buy new clothes very often (well, if you are cheap at least)).

  38. Upsilon says:

    That’s why I’m shorter than my younger brother!!!
    Maybe I should call the law offices of attourney *name here*…

  39. @Upsilon: Law Offices Of Monkey 1, Monkey 2, and/or Monkey 3 are usually open for calls and on TV. See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil…

  40. MommaJ says:

    I guarantee that every poster pontificating here about how there’s no such thing as ADHD, it’s all bad parents, Big Macs, normal childhood behavior blah blah blah, has never dealt with an ADHD child (with loving, attentive, sensible parents) whose life is miserable because of ADHD’s devasting effects on social life, academics, and family relationships. But you no doubt all remember the “class clown” who disrupted every lesson, learned nothing in school, and ended up drifting from one minimum wage job to another, if not jail–that was undiagnosed/untreated ADHD. Ritalin and related medications have been a huge benefit to many children and adults, and they would gladly trade an inch of height for a fulfilling life. Please don’t post in ignorance.

  41. TVarmy says:

    While this debate rages on, I feel I should mention Option C, antidepressents. I had trouble motivating myself in school and getting basic tasks done. My psychiatrist first tried a bunch of amphetamines that worked on a certain level, but not very well. Plus, they kept me up at night. After trying 3 different drugs, he proposed that I might have mild depression, which can often look like ADD/HD.

    Some of you may find it hard to believe that a person can be depressed and not know it, but the human mind is the most subjective thing there is. There is no way to feel exactly what someone else considers “normal.”

    I started taking a low dose of Welbutrin, and it’s been great ever since. I’m more motivated, and I feel I have more “useful energy,” as in energy I am willing to apply towards exercise, schoolwork, etc, rather than energy for goofing off. Higher doses make me jumpy, but that little bit makes life a whole lot easier for me.

    Plus, the amphetamines temporarily killed my sex drive (Not that I actually had any chance of using it, lol). I have no idea if that’s part of the reason parents try to get their kids on the meds.

  42. TVarmy says:

    @G-Dog: I feel I should mention that I am sorry amphetamines didn’t work for you. However, don’t knock ’em for everyone. I have a friend on huge doses of Adderol, way more than I ever was prescribed, but he’s the most ambitious guy I know. He’s currently got an internship at NASA.

  43. mconfoy says:

    Maybe its bad parenting when a doctor says they need ADDH medication and the parents say no. Most over prescribing in the USA seems to be because its not child psychiatrists doing the diagnosis and prescriptions. And just like Autism, ADDH has increased. Unlike Austism, we know there is a strong genetic component in ADDH. Any parent that denies their child the proper medications for ADDH is commiting child abuse. If you look at the prison population, you will see a high amount with untreated ADD. Imagine if they had been treated as a child. In most cases parents could not afford a shrink or they are too ignorant to get them to one.

  44. zolielo says:

    Has it been that long that people have been on ADDH drugs from grade school to grad school?

    Also what is up with several of you experimenting with prescription medication?

    I recall that that military used to ban recruits who had taken ADDH drugs, though, I believe it has been dropped as to meet recruiting goals.

  45. zolielo says:

    Which leads me to believe that such treatment needs to be taken much more serious than it often seems currently be…

  46. formergr says:

    @mconfoy: Actually, there very much is a strongly suspected genetic component to autism, as recent studies of multiple autistic siblings in one family have shown.

    I haven’t heard of any studies showing a genetic component behind ADHD.

  47. aikoto says:


    Amen. Stop drugging the kids just because they can’t sit still in class.

  48. vladthepaler says:

    Children whose parents are so self-involved that they’d rather drug their kids than spend time with them probably have stunted growth because of their crappy home life.

    If the study wants to prove that the drugs are a factor, they need to compare ritalin-treated ADHD kids to non-treated ADHD kids, not to the general population.

  49. mrdelayer says:

    Awesome. That’ll teach all those idiot kids who take Ritalin for fun. Assholes.

    P.S.: There’s no such thing as ADHD that real, back-of-the-hand parenting can’t solve reeeeal quick.

  50. bluesunburn says:

    I’ve met a small number of people with ADD or ADHD that needed Ritalin or Strattera or a similar drug, and it worked really well for them. I’ve met a larger number of people for whom Ritalin didn’t do beans.

    Kids don’t need Ritalin, parents need Valium.

  51. karmaghost says:

    Sounds like you had a bunch of mis-/improper diagnoses (sp?). No offense, but I don’t that your wife made a proper assessment of your problem, which I think is the problem with a lot of kids these days; you have all these teachers and other elders that are not properly diagnosing children, and doctor’s aren’t making things better. I went to the doctor’s a few months ago and told him I thought I may have ADHD. He gave me a script for Ritalin; it was incredibly easy to get, I could have just read the symptoms off of WebMD. When the Ritalin didn’t work, I went back and he sent me to a psychologist. Even then he, after about an hour of questions, didn’t really get anything out of me that I couldn’t have lied about. Now I have a script for Adderall XR and man does it work. The point tho is that it’s a difficult thing to diagnose in children and it lends itself to being an easy diagnosis for people to “abuse” to gain access to controlled substances.

  52. mconfoy says:

    so what’s your excuse then?