HGH, human growth hormone, stimulates the production of cells in your body. It is used to enhance growth and development in children with growth disorders that inhibit the maturation process. A doctor may prescribe HGH for adults who do not produce sufficient amounts of this hormone. Increased hormone production may cause changes in mood and behavior. You should discuss possible behavioral side effects with your doctor before taking HGH or giving it to your child.
HGH is produced by your pituitary gland. In addition to cells, it aids in the development of bones, muscles, tissues and organs. The amount of HGH you produce changes with age. HGH is at its highest level during adolescence. Its production typically begins to decrease after age 30, causing reduced vitality and energy. As such, HGH has been used by athletes to enhance performance. However, it is illegal to prescribe HGH in the United States for this reason because the Secretary of Health and Human does not authorize performance enhancement as an accepted use for this medication.
Unregulated use of HGH is risky. Produced by the pituitary gland and regulated by the hypothalamus, growth hormone affects psychological well-being. Hormonal imbalances, due to HGH abuse, can have profound effects on your overall health. HGH abuse and anabolic steroid abuse can cause serious physical and psychological side effects, including, paranoia, hallucinations, and psychosis, according to the Hormone Foundation. The effects of continued HGH and anabolic steroid abuse could be irreversible. Symptoms of psychosis include delusions, auditory hallucinations and visual hallucinations. Psychotic behavior may be manifested through fearfulness or paranoia.
Physical Side Effects
Side effects may occur from HGH even when taken as prescribed by a physician. According to KidsHealth.org, possible side effects for children are all physical. They include headache, nausea and stomach pain. Changes in behavior are also not known side effects for adults who take HGH, even if they do not need it. Like children, adults may experience physical effects, including swelling and pain in joints and muscles.
The impact of HGH on behavior was the focus of a study that appeared in the February 2002 issue of "Pediatrics." Researchers found no negative behavioral side effects from HGH. In fact, there was a reduction in depressive symptoms among children ages 4 to 16 as a result of daily doses of HGH. Specifically, there was a significant decrease in symptoms of depression during the first year, which continued throughout the second year.
- "Pediatrics"; The Behavioral Impact of Growth Hormone Treatment for Children and Adolescents With Prader-Willi Syndrome: A 2-Year, Controlled Study; Whitman, Barbara, et. al; February 2002
- Kids Health: Human Growth Hormone
- The Hormone Foundation: Hormone Abuse
- "Journal of Strength and Conditioning"; Position Stand on Androgen and Human Growth Hormone"; Hoffman, J., et al.; August 2009