Attention Deficit Hypersensitivity Disorder (ADHD)
From “The Leaves Of The Tree” newsletter by Brian Everhard
The first time I ever heard about ADD was while listening to a radio program which stated that 12% of the boys aged 10-12 years old in the entire State of Michigan were on a medication called Ritalin. I didn’t know what ADD was or Ritalin, but I did know that I didn’t like the sound of that many kids being put on a prescription drug. Then I read in an article from Dr. Adkins Newsletter, Aug. ’95. “Why is one out of every nine third-graders in Baltimore taking the anti-hyperactivity drug Ritalin? If you can answer that, you’re clued into one of the greatest challenges children and parents can face. We have an ever-growing epidemic of hyperactivity and attention deficit disorders among our children.” There was also an article about Dr. Lendon Smith, the famous “children’s doctor,” where he reports that 25 years ago there was about 1 hyperactive kid in each class; now there are about 5 per class.” According to the Health Counselor Vol. 6, No.l, “it was reported that Ritalin sales have increased 33% over the past year (1994) alone.” What is going on? What is causing such an epidemic across the country that kids are being put on drug therapy in increasing numbers?
Let’s start with what ADD or ADHD is. The following are just some of the 14 symptoms listed in the psychiatrists’ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders:
Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
Has difficulty playing quietly
Often talks excessively
Has difficulty sticking to an activity
Needs a lot of supervision
Runs about and climbs on things excessively
Add to these other signs of ADHD, such as:
Short attention span, confusion
Problems with sleep
Problems with coordination
Being extremely emotional
They have just described most of the guys in my junior high and high school class! Only in those days, they attributed it to “hormones” or immaturity. It seems they gave us plenty of attention like sending us to the principal’s office for attitude adjustments, or running laps until we had our attention “focused.”
The trend that concerns me is that kids who demonstrate the aforementioned symptoms are being recommended by school officials more and more to be sent to physicians to be diagnosed and treated with these amphetamines for long periods of time and well-meaning parents are going along with this.
As it stands, the prescription drug of choice for ADHD seems to be Ritalin, which according to the Health Counselor, Vol.6, No.1, “is an amphetamine that works to slow down children with ADHD.” Prevention’s New Encyclopedia of Common Diseases states that “amphetamines only appear to calm the hyperactive child. What they really do is turn him/her into a robot.”
According to the 1992 Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR), these are just a few of the possible side effects of the drug Ritalin:
Nervousness & insomnia
Anorexia & nausea
Blood pressure fluctuations
Dermatitis and skin problems
The PDR goes on to caution “sufficient data on safety and efficacy on long-term use of Ritalin in children are not yet available.” Adding to this, Ray Wunderlich, M.D., a pediatrician says, “Ritalin can cause loss of appetite and weight, stunted growth and insomnia.” Alan Cott, M.D., of New York, adds fatigue, sedation, irritability, and tearfulness to the list of side effects.
Let’s look at this from another point of view – nutrition . Nutrition could possibly be the cause and the solution. We, in the natural health business, are well aware of the roller coaster highs and lows in blood sugar levels which cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
The following are just some of the symptoms of blood sugar problems:
Sound familiar? I am not suggesting that ADHD kids are being misdiagnosed; only that with these similarities, perhaps it would be wise to try to alleviate at least some of these symptoms through nutrition. Read about Blood Sugar Relationship
Has there been success in treating ADHD nutritionally?
Of the approximately 6,000 hyperactive children Dr. Lendon Smith has treated, 80% get better just by changing their diet and taking vitamins. Dr. Adkins states, “I’ve treated dozens of hyperactive and ADD children and not one failed to improve when sugars were eliminated.” Many doctors seem to be in agreement with this. Dr. Lendon Smith pays serious attention to childhood hypoglycemia as a factor in emotional outbursts, poor learning, bed wetting, irrational behavior, and short attention span. (Health Freedom News)