Wednesday, 08 Apr, 2009 Health & Fitness

Drug Given to Treat ADHD in Children to Help Overweight Adults


According to latest research, Ritalin, which is a drug usually used to treat children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), might help cure obese adults.

The research found that one in three overweight adults, who did not succeed in losing weight through special diets and physical exercise, are in fact undiagnosed with ADHD. After given Ritalin, these patients registered significant improvements in losing weight through diets.

Doctors behind the latest scientific discovery suggest people with serious weight problems to be screened for ADHD. Obviously the screening should take place before starting any diet. Hidden ADHD leads to a chemical imbalance in the brain, which decreases the willpower of people to get rid of excessive fat. Doctors say that a lot of people had symptoms of ADHD during their childhood, but were never diagnosed for the condition. The discovery was published in the International Journal of Obesity.

For obese people dieters suggest low-calorie foods and regular physical exercise. These suggestions represent the first step towards getting rid of obesity. However, a very little number of obese people have the power to do so, which leads to an increase in anti-obesity surgeries.

The symptoms of ADHD include overactivity and lack of concentration. A possible connection between obesity and ADHD has been studied by Dr Lance Levy, from the Nutritional Disorders Clinic in Toronto, Canada. During a research he analyzed 242 patients who were unsuccessful in losing weight despite their long-lasting dieting. The scientist screened every participant for ADHD through a number of tests and interviews.

Test results showed that 32 percent of patients had ADHD. These patients were prescribed anti-hyperactivity drugs such as Adderall, which is a type of amphetamine, and Concerts, which is a Ritalin-like pill. The treatment lasted one year, after which it was discovered that patients who took the drug in average registered a 12 percent decrease in weight, compared to 2.7 percent of patients who did not take the medication.

Those who took the drug felt calmer and more energetic. They had little desire to snack on treats between meals. In addition, they felt full quicker than those who did not take the drug, which also helps reduce restlessness, fatigue and anxiety, as well as decrease the chronic use of food to relieve those feelings.

"People with ADHD are more likely to develop weight problems than those without it. But obesity itself does not cause ADHD."

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