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The ADD Dilemma is not solved by taking drugs

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 Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder Campaigns

Money is a great motivator of psychiatric research. Over forty years ago a mammoth drug company claimed that if a drug could create an effect then obviously it could be sold as a valid treatment. With methylphenidate known as Ritalin they created a “solution” and went about proving that any child could be calmed down and forced to concentrate by taking it. Plausible enough, but how were they selling this idea?

School children who are unable to focus their full attention on the lesson or sit quietly can now be hauled out of class for a psychiatric evaluation. The much bandied about condition veiled as “minimal brain dysfunction” covers a variety of learning and behavioural disorders that affect both children as well as adults. There are many causes and with young children there is a plausible explanation. The young immature brain needs time to become fully trained and organised. It requires guidance, encouragement and discipline to channel the development of thought and concentration processes.

Boring lessons and topics that don’t interest the child are not going to help either! I once caused an outcry for one of my articles mentioning that a hyperactive child is merely reflecting a combination of bad parents and bad teachers! I was questioning the current belief system that approved of giving young children drugs but refusing to dish out a measure of discipline – especially on the behind; the seat of understanding. Back in our day we ate well and got spanked when we were naughty. We did not have ADD dilemmas at school. Neither did our friends become drug addicts. They did not die from the side effects of drugs they were forced by their teacher to take to attend a normal school.

Not all children suffer from ADD and ADHD. Ethiopian scholars are different.

 

Children we saw in Ethiopia were keen to go to school. They flocked around tourists eagerly showing us their school books and beautiful handwriting. They asked us for pens. Evidently they have to bring their own pens. To own a pen is very important because otherwise they cannot write in their books. We soon ran out of pens but hey never ran out of smiles and never gave up asking for them. They did not beg for money or sweets. Only pens. Sometimes older children would come and chat to us. They wanted to practise speaking English.

When we came home, there were e-mail letters from some of the children. Such enthusiasm and appreciation for being in a classroom is a far cry from the way we live in a modern, affluent world where things are taken for granted. We do not have to beg for pens. Do you really think the Ethiopian school children need to take drugs? As it is their school day is divided into an early morning and a late afternoon session to accommodate all the scholars. They walk long distances to school every day and spend a lot of time on their homework – providing they have a pen. An example like this puts us all to shame.

Muscular co-ordination develops at different rates as does confidence and the ability to pursue a single train of thought. No all children learn to walk or talk at the same time and not all of them have a high IQ. We all know that children have a lot of energy and sometimes a physical outburst (hyperkinetic) will occur from time to time. Not all lessons are well presented or even interesting to a growing, curious little person.

How do children relate to the subject, how is it presented?

 

Some children do get bored easily as do most adults. But in a class of children who need to be taught the same thing at the same time they all have to shut up, sit still and focus on the lesson. No effort is required if you can drug the kids. Frequent but regular quick pit stops to drink water, stretch, grab a nutritious snack or jump around are unheard of. Naughty, restless and bored children are controlled with drugs instead of proper discipline, tough love and authority. The kids pop schedule 7 amphetamines that are more dangerous than cocaine instead.

Drugs like Ritalin can be dangerous.

569 children were hospitalized between 1990 – 2000 due to complications with Ritalin. 186 of them died. Drugs like Ritalin do not correct biochemical imbalances of the brain. The effect is the same as any psycho-stimulant. It produces a rush of chemicals to stimulate brain activity, regardless of low blood sugar or problems with blood circulation. After the first rush wears off,  withdrawal sets in. The child may experience dullness, depression, a loss of appetite, a dry mouth and fatigue. (Is this why they calm down?)  Children are being controlled by dangerous amphetamines and tranquilizers. Is this food for a developing brain?

“You can’t teach a hungry child.” Neither can you really teach a child suffering from allergies, toxins or brain damage when they are taking drugs. You may be able to calm them down for a while. Most children on Ritalin complain that it makes them feel funny. They crave sweets, chips and fizzy drinks but do not want to eat a nutritious meal in the evening. The brain needs a constant supply of fuel and oxygen. Water is essential to brain and nerve function. Do children drink water in the classroom? Water is important for nerve and brain activity and drugs tend to cause dehydration.

First read the fine print of the package insert before giving any drug.

Side effects or excessive doses of amphetamines like Ritalin include: agitation, confusion, delirium, seizures, dry mouth, a false sense of euphoria (an upper), sweating, irregular heartbeat or palpitations, increased blood pressure, trembling and muscle twitching. Watch out! You may be giving your child a drug that is making the problem worse. Not all cases are the same but drugs are drugs. Some children develop an addiction to Ritalin and other drugs.

Ritalin can adversely affect the child’s appetite and cause stunted growth. It  can make them feel dull, sometimes dizzy and not their usual selves. Some children suffer more from bad dreams, become neurotic, wet beds and do not sleep well. The worst problem is when children don’t want to take these medications because it makes them feel awful. Do we listen to them? Why was the mother of a four-year old child suffering from allergies, adverse reactions to vaccines and malnutrition told to add Ritalin to the regimen of antibiotics and cortisone? In the first place, Ritalin should not be given to any child below the age of six years. Read the insert.

At high school a girl gave some of her Ritalin pills to her boyfriend, hoping that it would help him to study for the exams. But he showed the bottle to his father and when they found out what happens to long-term users of the drug, they threw them away. But his girlfriend continued to take Ritalin and after she graduated she found that could not do without them. Drug dependence had set in and she became a cocaine addict. Her future career went down the drain. Her boyfriend left her and the parents were heartbroken. They tried sending her to drug rehabilitation centres but they did not succeed. She committed suicide a few months later.

Do we as Adults Set a Good Example to our Children?

We are told that the average human attention span is now only a few minutes long. How many times do you actually stop and listen to a child and hear them out to the end of each sentence? Guilty! You also get distracted, interrupt people or go about your own work with people trailing behind you trying to get a word in edgeways. We as adults do not really listen to people, let alone look people in the eye and concentrate on what they are saying. But we are not rounded up and sent to the school psychologist. We are not singled with an attention deficit disorder, were we? But our children are.

We complain about brain fog, fatigue, depression and dullness. Our work may be boring, so we distract ourselves, tell jokes, chat to colleagues or browse through face book and the internet for entertainment. We still get paid. When we come home, we get complaints about our children behaving the same way at school! Unless their behaviour improves the school administrators feel they have the right to demand that we drug our children. In some cases the children are given drugs to take without the knowledge of their parents.

Any adult who takes Cocaine is arrested and locked up in jail for taking a less dangerous amphetamine known as cocaine. Ritalin is a schedule 7 drug. It is highly addictive and does not correct blood sugar imbalances, heavy metal toxicity, reactions to vaccines or deep-seated emotional problems.

The problem is that many of the children who once took Ritalin become drug addicts in later life when they are unable to act normally without some form of medication or drug. A drug addict is merely one who does not feel OK without taking some form of drug to keep up what feels normal. So we too, are drug addicts if we depend on taking pills a few times a day – regardless of them being prescribed by a doctor. But doctors who prescribe Ritalin to innocent young children should know better.

Good nutrition, therapy and sensible supplements

Ritalin is not a source of Omega 3 oils, vitamins, proteins or minerals. A naturopath with a good understanding of natural herbs and remedies can help you to set up a suitable diet and supplementation programme. Natural modalities like hypnosis or brain gym do help children to achieve excellent academic results and they do no harm. Both hemispheres of the brain need to be well-developed and connected. Over time steady progress can be achieved. Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, homeopathy, herbal remedies and particularly the Bach flower tinctures can give the fine tuning needed on an individual basis for each child.

Most children are addicted to carbohydrates and this is often because they are allergic to wheat. According to some leading research a wheat or gluten sensitivity is responsible for over 90% of the cases of bed wetting. Food sensitivities and excessive sugar consumption interfere with normal brain function. So do adverse reactions to vaccines, parasites, environmental toxins and mercury poisoning. Children with a disturbed immune system suffer more from constant colds, mucous problems, asthma or blocked ears. These factors also affect their behaviour and impair their ability to concentrate.

A good diet based on regular amounts of protein and fresh wholesome food is essential for a growing child’s brain. The ZONE diet by Barry Sears is a good place to start. Copious amounts of cod liver oil or other sources of omega 3 oil are proving to work very well to improve overall brain function. An understanding of the blood type diet helps one to see how different groups of people behave when it comes to diet and body chemistry. What you eat affects how you behave!

Get to the cause of the problem and treat it

The worst thing you can do is ignore the cause of your child’s so-called ADD or ADHD problems. You cannot send a little drug addict to school on an empty stomach with money to buy sweets and a fizzy drinks for lunch and expect miracles. Many of them suffer from a dry mouth as a side effect of the medications they are given and do not have a good appetite. It is more beneficial for the family to consciously engage in healthy eating habits with regular exercise and activities that improve the mental and physical wellbeing of all concerned. At the same time work with a therapist who is sympathetic to your appeal not to drug your children.

In some cases an iodine deficiency may be the problem. Children born to mothers who are iodine deficient are more prone to mental disorders, especially the inability to concentrate. A drop or two of iodine can improve the behaviour and concentration of small children when it is added to their morning fruit juice. So why would you want to give an iodine deficient child a drug instead? There is no reason to treat any symptom of a health-related problem with Ritalin.

Pehaps drug dependence is a symptom of our time. We are just too lazy to really fix anything these days. One day follows another and we all take pills and drugs to alleviate annoying symptoms of underlying health issues, so why not give them to our children as well? Only you can answer that!

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