(NaturalNews) Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin provide no long-term benefit in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the latest findings of the ongoing Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA), published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
"If you put a child on medication, he or she is far better right at that time. The question for parents is: Is this going to make a benefit for my child long term?" said researcher William Pelham, of the University of Buffalo. "The answer is no. Behavioral treatments are going to have much better benefit in the long term."
Another analysis of MTA data, published in the same journal, found that use of ADHD drugs appeared to stunt children's growth. Children who had never taken stimulant drugs were an average of six pounds heavier and 0.75 inches taller than children of the same age who had taken the drugs for three years. This height and weight difference was permanent.
According to Pelham, behavioral treatments for ADHD can be harder to find than drugs, and often insurers will not cover them. Nevertheless, such treatments are available and have been proven to work without the side effect risk of pharmaceuticals.
"It's wrong for a doctor to say to a parent, this treatment is harder to find, so instead we're going to put your child on a drug that will have no long-term benefit," he said.