by Lorraine Day, M.D.
A child is given the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), also called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when he is considered overactive, cannot pay attention and cannot sit still, ALL VERY subjective symptoms. ADD is diagnosed four times more frequently in boys because boys mature more slowly than girls and because boys are put in classes at school with girls of the same age, so the boys, being less mature, appear to be hyperactive. Irritability anger and mental confusion may also be present so these children are then labeled as having a "Learning Disability." However, these symptoms are virtually identical to the symptoms of hypoglycemia, low blood sugar which is caused by the up and down swings of insulin resulting from eating too much refined sugar.
Attention Deficit Disorder and Ritalin have become almost synonymous. Up to 90% of children who are first diagnosed with ADD receive a prescription for Ritalin. At least a dozen other drugs are prescribed for these symptoms as well. There has been a 500% increase in the use of Ritalin alone since 1991. Short- term use of these medications is associated with a 70 to 80% improvement in symptoms. So naturally, it appears that the drugs have solved the problem. However, these studies donīt show the entire picture. Very few long-term studies have been done evaluating the success of amphetamine-type medication such as Ritalin, for ADD symptoms, and the few studies that do exist do not present a very encouraging picture. For years, it was thought that children outgrew symptoms of ADD so they were treated with drugs, until they "outgrew" the condition.
However, This has been found NOT to be the case. Children do NOT outgrow ADD symptoms. In 1990, an eight-year prospective study of hyperactive children was instituted. More than 80% of the children studied had been treated with medications. Sixty- three percent of the group had received the benefit of psychological services and 35% had special educational accommodations.
At the end of the eight years, 80% continued to have the ADD symptoms, while 60% had advanced to Opposition Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD) diagnoses. (Barkley R., Fischer M, et al:The adolescent outcome of hyperactive children diagnosed by research criteria: J Am Acad Child Adoles Psychiatry 29 (4):546-556 July 1990.) These two diagnoses are considered to be much worse than the ADD diagnosis. A literature review dating back to 1971 showed little to be encouraged about. Children with ADD were more likely to fail subjects in school and dropped out of school more frequently. Fewer attended college. And there were NO statistical differences between the long-term results of children treated with medications and those who did not use medications. These studies indicate that there is little evidence of long-term success with the use of medications for hyperactivity.
The adverse reactions (side effects) for Ritalin include nervousness, insomnia, joint pains, fever, anorexia, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, headache, dyskinesia, drowsiness, increased blood pressure and pulse, rapid heart rate, angina, cardiac arrhythmias, abdominal pain, actual psychosis. And there is a major warning in the Physicianīs Desk Reference regarding drug dependency.
The Physicians Desk Reference of Drug Side Effects notes that, regarding the pharmacology of Ritalin: "The mode of action in man is not completely understood." And this is what youīre giving your child! The pharmaceutical manufacturers admit that they donīt even know how it works. Theyīre just experimenting -- on your child!
Ritalin has effects similar to other stimulants including amphetamine, methamphetamine and cocaine. There are 6 million prescriptions for Ritalin filled annually. The U.S. pharmacists distribute five times more Ritalin than the rest of the world combined. No other nation prescribes stimulants for its children in such volume. In fact, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board has on two recent occasions written to U.S. officials expressing concern about the sixfold increase in Ritalin usage since 1990.
Does Ritalin Cause Cancer? Scientific studies on carcinogenicity were finally released in June 1993 revealing that feeding mice Ritalin, induced liver tumors including very rare and highly malignant cancers. These results were found at dosage levels close to those routinely prescribed for children. Animal tests are very good predictors of human health effects. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer suggests that if a chemical is proven to cause cancer in animals, it should be treated as if it were cancer-causing in humans as well.
But the response by the FDA and the pharmaceutical company that makes Ritalin was predictable. The drug company wrote to 100,000 physicians informing them of the study showing that the drug caused cancer but said "Itīs not enough of a signal that we think kids should be taken off the drug." They reassured the doctors that Ritalin is believed to be "safe and effective" by the FDA.
Does the public school system have the right to force parents to accept the drugging of their child? They do in America. But the drugīs side effects, according to vocal opponents of Ritalin, include: zombie-like behavior, growth suppression, behavior or thought disorders (exactly what it is supposed to treat) seizures; headaches, blurred vision, scalp hair loss, barking like a dog and babbling profanities. It can also result in mood swings, depression, drug dependence and inclination for criminal activity.
Why would anyone give such a drug to any child?
The American Psychiatric Association describes a hyperactive child - the target child for this drug--as follows:
"One who exhibits behavior such as fidgeting, squirming, answering questions before being called on, difficulty playing quietly, engaging in physically dangerous activities such as running into the street without looking, or one who has difficulty following instructions." That sounds like a normal kid to me!
I hope itīs clear that drugs do NOT cure anxiety, depression nor supposed hyperactivity. In fact the English word pharmacy comes from the Greek word pharmakeia. Pharmakeia means sorceries and witchcraft. Thatīs what drugs are - sorceries and witchcraft because they only treat symptoms while the underlying disease or condition continues to get worse.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
The following steps are ways to help prevent ADD and ADHD and to reverse the factors that cause them:
1) Change the childīs diet to all natural whole foods. This means fruit, grains and vegetables full of natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
2) Eliminate dairy products and other animal products because these contain hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and the diseasesof the animal itself.
3) Eliminate caffeine, sugar and other sweets, processed food, MSG, aspartame (Nutrasweet) and other sugar substitutes and any foods that contain preservatives, food dyes or other chemicals.
4) Eliminate eating at fast food restaurants as most of these apparently use MSG and preservatives, plus the food in many restaurants often contains less nutrition, but many harmful chemicals.
5) Encourage the child to eat a lot of raw fruit and vegetables because they are full of health-producing enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
6. Drink water, and fresh home-made vegetable and home-made fruit juice. Eliminate soda pop, caffeinated beverages or milk from cows or any other animal. Rice Drean (rice milk) from your health food store is a reasonable substitute.
7. No white bread. Only whole grain bread, either home baked or from a health food store.
8. No white rice. Only whole grain brown rice and other whole grains.
9. No peanut butter: It contains aflatoxin, a fungus that causes cancer. Instead use Almond butter (It spreads like peanut butter and tastes just as good) from your health food store or other store. Also you can make home-made cashew nut butter.
10. Get proper rest. Children need a lot of rest and should go to be early.
11. Get proper exercise daily, outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine.
12. Eliminate TV watching. It is reported that children watch an average of 43 hours of TV per week, thatīs longer than the average adult work week. While watching, they rapidly become almost hypnotized. It has been shown scientifically that within minutes of beginning to watch TV, the brain changes from the alert brain waves (beta waves) to the hypnotic waves (alpha waves) where the judgment center of the brain is bypassed. So the violence and decadence that the child sees, bypasses the judgment center in the brain and is implanted in the childīs brain without any ability on the childīs part to decide whether what they are seeing is right or wrong. The violence and decadence are accepted by the brain without any moral judgment being applied to it. It then becomes part of the childīs permanent subconscious. What goes into a childīs mind is just as important as what goes into his or her mouth!