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Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
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My son has been on concerts for 6-7 years. I know it suppresses

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My son has been on concerts for 6-7 years. I know it suppresses the appetite but he has steadily gained. He has experienced significant weight gain for the past 2 years. Could this be from the medicine. He is now 13 and at 5'3 he is weighing about 165.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. You are clearly loving and caring mom. He's fortunate to have you making these efforts on behalf.

I can understand why the doctor says it can't be the Concerta. Concerta is recognized to be an appetite suppressant. Now, with every drug there are going to be those rare exceptions who have the opposite reaction to the drug. But let's assume your son is not that one in a million because that won't help much: if the Concerta is helping him with the ADHD symptoms, then the loss is greater than the benefit of discontinuing the medication. Because the chances are so slim that he's that rare exception.

Now, that said, I have heard of kids gaining weight while on Concerta. And this is the scenario: the appetite suppressing effect keeps the kid from eating during the day. Then in the evening when the med wears off, he gets very hungry and eats too many calories in one sedentary period. This gets managed by limiting availability of the kitchen in the evening.

So, this needs to be explored, if the timing of his eating needs to be worked on so that he's not overeating and undereating in sequence during the day.


If this is not a problem, or even if it is, it sounds as though you are going to need to use some behavior modification techniques with him. 13 year olds are already very reward conscious. You might need to have a weigh in ever day at the same time and have a weekly reward and a monthly reward for consistent weight loss.


The same might be done for making healthy food choices as opposed to junk food. Or incorporate the two reward systems. In one sense, I imagine he is used to having charts around because of ADHD, so this will be a familiar one with rewards involved.


Next, you might have to have the football coach in on this. If he is health conscious, that would make it easier to enlist his help in getting your son on a healthy diet regime. The more you can have people who he wants to please and impress get him to make the behavior changes, the less you have to nag him and that's always a plus.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. You can continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I do offer healthy alternatives and if it was just us there would most likely be no other choices. I tend to focus on health where as my husband and younger son do not. Major junk food Junkies! This is where it is most difficult for him. But you are right about the suppressed appetite, and he swears he's starving in the evenings. Then I wonder could he finally be showing signs of puberty, where I know his metabolism will kick in. I do know he really wants to look and feel better about his self but in the evening his will power is gone and we usually end up in fights about food. Thought about trying sensa but don't know that much about it. I really appreciate your advice and we will try the end of the reward methods. He's not a hyper kid just can't focus in school or church.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
I don' know enough about the Sensa system to tell you if it's any different than any of the other marketed ways to make money...


Yes, Concerta can undermine a weight program with the night eating.


I don't know about the puberty. That will certainly give you another weapon as he will want to look good, but that's something you have to be careful about over-promoting.


It sounds like dad sabotages. You may need to take dad to the internet and start doing the searches on the damage of junk foods. Jorge Cruise has some good videos about the effects of bad food. His diet and exercise plans are sensible.


This is very difficult because it sounds also as though dad and son bond around junk food. So you may have to try behavior modification on them BOTH to find other things to rally around, like hiking together or building models together instead of junk food.


Perhaps your husband would look at my answer and think about the opportunity he has to not only change his life but affect for the positive his son's and perhaps his grandchildren's lives as well simply by recognizing the effect of how he treats food.


I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. You can continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5170
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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