Well, I posted a few weeks back that my easy child/difficult child 2 had turned from doing fair to becoming a complete nightmare after adding Zoloft into his medication mix. The only choice was to of course discontinue the Zoloft & start him on Risperdal, which has helped some, but not completely (maybe 50% improvement from where he was which was horrible). So, of course, the psychiatrist has increased the Risperdal. I'm sick to my stomach the same as I was when my difficult child 1 was started on it. I admit it has helped my difficult child 1, but we had her well visit and she's gained 5lbs. in 3 months. Keep in mind, she has always been extremely petite and never gained more than maybe 3 to 4 lbs. in a year. She's famished from the time she gets home from school until bedtime. I try to keep the most healthy food possible around for her, but it's a constant struggle to monitor what she's eating. We have gotten chewing gum which really helps. I'm petrified my difficult child 2 will have the same problem. He's a much worse eater than difficult child 1. Won't eat barely any veggies, but will eat some fruit. I WILL NOT let my children gain huge amounts of weight because of this medication. I just think I'll be trading one problem for another. Children with-weight problems are really on a road to a lifetime of weight issues that most of the time aren't really fixable. Maybe the Concerta that both my kids are on helps during the first part of the day, but I'm sure it wears off by the time they're home from school. I have made it known to our psychiatrist that I refuse to let this spiral out of control. I feel trapped and stuck and just awful about it all. They're miserable and complete wrecks off these medications (as are me and husband) and on them, they're likely to get huge and fat. :( I hate to sound harsh, but that's the way I see it. Trading one problem for another. And I've been shielding myself from reading about Risperdal because it causes my own anxiety to skyrocket, but I read that it has to be continually increased over time. That's a devastating thought. I feel completely trapped and miserable. Had a phone conference with-the kids counsellor and she's basically told me to expect my kids to be on this medication for at least a year if not longer. :( Not if the weight gain continues. :no I feel like I have nowhere to go from here. I've read here that most of these medications cause huge weight gain. I know I seem hyper focused on that issue, but as someone who's had to watch her weight her whole life, I can attest to how bad it feels to struggle with-this issue. Maybe it's a hot topic for me. But truly that's just the hot button issue - I'm sick about them having to take these medications, period - for so many reasons, mainly my concern for the long-term affect on their health in general - especially for my son, after reading here about prolactin stuff in the boys. I just want it to NOT be this way.

Also, as to the question about either of my kids being Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), I'm starting to believe that that's not their problem. I've talked with-4 different doctors. who have all adamantly told me that is simply not what my kids have and I do believe that. My counsellor feels that if any diagnosis may come up in the future, it could be mood disorder/bipolar, but she's NOT dxing them with-that at the moment, just her take on what other possible diagnosis's may come up in the future. It sickens me to think that, but probably because I hate to say it, but that seems closer to what they seem like. Have I mentioned how much I hate all of this?


CD Hall of Fame
I know how you feel. Storm was on Zyprexa for a while and put on 20lbs in short order. It also caused her severe feet tingling/pain at night that kept her up and while it did wonders for her mood the side effects weren't tolerable and it just had to go. She could be full to the point of pain and still be hungry, it hurt me to see her that way and had to hurt her more to feel that way.


Well-Known Member
I hear you. Especially since they're so young.
However ... and this is a huge "however," after experiencing first-hand the near-miraculous effects of certain medications on my son and my cousin and my neice (to name a few), and watching the journeys of those who suffer (and I mean suffer) from mental illness, like Carrie Fischer, and her weight gain and how she has finally made peace with her bipolar, her body, and her career, I have changed my mind about exchanging "fat" for "sane."

First of all, fat doesn't have to be humungous. It can be sturdy or plump. Even on medications that cause a lot of weight gain, there can be some leeway, and your kids can still be healthy. Make sure they exercise and that they don't eat junk food to the point of pain. They'll have to learn to eat fresh, raw vegetables and meat without skin, but they can still eat.
Second, this is only for a year, maybe, according to what you've written, and they may end up on a completely different type of drug. They are still growing and can still shed the weight far more easily than if they were middle-aged.

But I do know how you feel. It's just so hard, living this life, where we have to choose between one or the other. I have, however, come as close to making peace with my 16-yr-old son's flabby stomach as I will ever be, because he is no longer spitting on me, he is no longer assaulting me, he is no longer stealing from me, he is no longer doing street drugs, and he is making huge strides at school.
HE SMILES. He talks. He backs off on occasion. :) He admits when he's been a jerk.
That is worth a belly roll, for sure!


Well-Known Member
Yes there is a co-relationship between Risperidone and Concerta/Ritalin/methylphenidate.
They CAN work well together, but it takes a sharp psychiatrist, and a bit of tuning.

The Concerta may be too high a dose, over-suppressing appetite during the day and then when it wears off, adding to the hunger.
Or, it may be that the Concerta just wears off... and the hunger comes roaring back.
In either case, a small top-up dose of short-acting Ritalin (or equivalent) can keep the edge off the hunger.

With Risperidone, one of the tricks is to NEVER let them get hungry in the first place.
Plan meals and snacks from wake to bed-time, no more than 2-3 hours between (shorter if physically active).
If they are that hungry, each meal and snack needs to include protein, fat, and slow-acting carbs. Include quality fast-acting carbs at times when you know they will need an extra boost (just before or just after PE, for example).
Get them eating by the clock, plan the calories across the day... it makes it easier to mentally turn down the hunger when you know that it's only "x" minutes to the next food.
The trouble with getting really hungry when on Risperidone is that it sends your blood sugar absolutely wonky. It can take weeks to get back on an even keel.

If you want to challenge the weight gain (and other issues) more creatively, try testing out some of the alternative diets... but not all at once, you need to know what works and what doesn't. CF (casein free), girlfriend (gluten free) and wheat free are three options. Also consider dropping anything with food dye in it, as a test - no diff for my kids, but for others it's HUGE.

Getting them to eat more veggies... we started a small "kitchen garden" and... the kids declared that having tasted that stuff (compared to store-bought), they were prepared to eat salad every single day all summer... but not the store-bought stuff, because it doesn't taste right.


New Member
Oh sweetie, I feel for you. If you dont see Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and you feel in your heart it is bipolar (yes that too is sad) we always say here, trust your gut. Regardless of the diagnosis, if the behavior methods being used are not working, it is still worth it to look at places where there are alternates and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) methods are being used successfully (as are many gentle teaching methods) in emotional/behavior disorder classes and programs so look for methods under any diagnosis....till you find what works for you and your family. Ideas from The Explosive Child and Ross Greene's website can be very helpful for any diagnosis.

My son was always super small and like yours gained only a few pounds a year too. A year ago he was barely one hundred and now he is 191. All since starting Zyprexa. BUT I, unlike you, have the scales tipping on it not being a choice. He was way too aggressive and would not have been in any school or maybe even living at home if something didn't change. He was on the road to daily huge aggression, getting kicked out of everything, car rides were impossible, etc. Even going to the doctors who are supposed to help was not working. Even the hospital couldn't handle him. So, his pediatrician is watching his labs carefully and it is complicated because he hit puberty at the same time so also grew much taller....he wears mens medium pants and large tops. So, he is not huge but it obviously is scary to think of it getting much worse. Still it is not an option to go off of it at this time. Other medications like Risperdal caused him to become much more aggressive as did seroquel so it is not even a matter of just trying another. Each of us has to weigh the benefits versus the costs for our kids. My son being thin but having no quality of life at all was not an option for us.

Yes, the whole medication thing stinks to high heaven. I am so so sorry that it is a hard road for them, no kid should have to go through all of this. No parent should have to watch their child suffer so much.

Take the medication thing slowly and monitor. For some, it can even out. It has slowed a lot for my son now and he is loving the veggies and things I have ready for him every day when he comes home. I just simply do not buy sweets. There are enough of them floating around during activities and school so we dont buy them at all. Anything he may overindulge on, I keep in my bedroom, hidden.

Darn side effects, it is just so frustrating and unfair that a medication can help but then ruin other parts of their lives. I hate it too.


Active Member
I understand your worry about the weight, but I am with Terry on this one. I have seen the effects the abilfy and the concerta have had on difficult child. And, I will trade a few pounds for her well being and our household peace. Yes she has gained some weight. About 5-10 pounds. She was very underweight to begin with so it hasn't hurt her. But Every.single.pound. was woth it here. We were actively searching for RTCs for her before we added these medications. Things are by no means perfect, but they are much much better.


Active Member
My son is on risperdal and it has helped him immensely. I was also really worried about the weight gain. I've told the psychiatrist that between him being a young teenage boy and just in that stage of eating everything in sight, and the medications there are days when he eats me out of house and home! I try to keep good things in the house for him to eat, but he wants something like a cookie I tell him what his limit is. If he's hungry, I let home at, but I monitor what he eats and when.

Also, the psychiatrist should be monitoring his weight and height, and should be sending him for blood work every six months.


Well-Known Member
Almost all psychotrophic medications cause weight gain. It's a quality of life issue sometimes. Risperdal though is one of the very worst. I had a psychiatrist once tell me the top five weight gainers and I *think* that he said: Risperdal, Zyprexa, Clozapine, Depakote and Lithium.