Honey, They've Medicated the Kids

“Soon almost all kids will be on medications for something,” said Dr. Fuhrman when I asked him to comment on a report suggesting bipolar disorder may be over-diagnosed in youths. Kind of foreboding, when you read this article by Melissa Healy of The Los Angeles Times, “Are we too quick to medicate children?” Here’s a bit:
In 2005, the latest year for which statistics are available, at least 2.2 million American children over the age of 4 were being treated for serious difficulties with emotion, concentration, behavior or ability to get along with others. It's a figure mental-health professionals say has exploded in the last decade and a half, along with sales of a wide range of psychiatric medications for use by children.

A welter of studies has shown that kids are being diagnosed at younger ages, with a wider range of disorders and with more severe disorders than ever before. And in growing numbers, they are being medicated with drugs whose safety, effectiveness and long-range effects on children have not been demonstrated by extensive research.

A study published in September found that the diagnosis among children of bipolar disorder, a mental illness long thought not to exist in kids, grew 40-fold over the last decade. The prescribing to kids of antipsychotic drugs typically used to treat the symptoms of bipolar illness have soared as well, despite continuing concerns over side effects such as weight gain, metabolic changes that can lead to diabetes, and tremors.

Psychiatrists admit they haven't drawn clear lines between problem behaviors and mental illness, especially in kids, and they are debating future fixes. But until those fixes are made, parents -- with their kids' futures on the line -- are left with little to guide them when a child is tagged with a psychiatric label.
Who am I to say when kids—or any person for that matter—should be given the assistance of psychotropic medications, but at the very least, before we start prescribing kids pills willy-nilly, shouldn’t safer options be tried first. Consider this excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child concerning children and ADHD. Take a look:
What has been shown to be highly effective in some recent studies is high-nutrient eating, removal of processed foods, and supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids.1 The difference between my approach and others is that it changes a poor diet into an excellent one, supplying an adequate amount of thousands of important nutrients that work synergistically as well as removing those noxious substances such as chemical additives, trans fat, saturated fats, and empty-calorie food that place a nutritional stress on our brain cells. I believe this comprehensive approach is more effective; the scientific literature suggests this, and I have observed this in my practice with hundreds of ADHD children who have see me as patients.
Eh, I guess its just easier to prescribe some pills and get back to shopping at the mall.

1. Breakey J. The role of diet and behavior in childhood. J Paediatr Child Health 1997;33(3):190-194. Schnoll R, Burshteyn D, Cea-Aravena J. Nutrition in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a neglected but important aspect. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 2003;28(1):63-75. Richardso AJ; Puri BK. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effects of supplementation with highly unsaturated fatty acids on ADHD-related symptoms in children with specific learning difficulties. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiarty 2002;26(2):233-239. Kidd PM. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children: rationale for its integrative management. Altern Med Rev 2000;5(5):402-428.
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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Kirsten - November 5, 2007 9:09 AM

What I find particularly distressing is that there are such large numbers of boys in particular being identified as ADHD. Michael Guerin has interesting things to say about our expectations of boys' behavior. There is also "Nature Deficit Disorder" to take into account--kids are simply not getting the time, space and exposure that they need to be kids. It is really sad to see so many kids so disconnected from themselves and then medicated instead of really healed.

Monty - November 5, 2007 1:43 PM

Could this all be to cover up symptoms caused by zapping newborns with vaccines loaded with methylmercury that destroyed their brain development? Besides using the first product to sell the second, is there a measure of biological warfare or mind control involved? Is it all an effort to dumb down the western world?

Zola Nelson - May 15, 2008 1:44 AM

New Jersey, 1973; I was diagnosed at age 6 with ADHD (can't recall now if that is how it was called/categorized today.) My mother came VERY close to start giving me Ritalin in liquid form, but couldn't do it. She knew it was a powerful med; too strong for a young child. She did some sleuthing on my problem and found Dr. Feingold (www.feingold.org/) and placed me on his diet. He had reported then that too quickly/easily approving thousands of non-nurtritive food additives were approved and used in our foods. This diet it was a stress for our whole family. It would have been much easier for my parents to medicate me. Additive-free foods were scarce (lots of shop-hunting was needed) and expensive. Plus each week (or so it seemed) a new junk food was being introduced on the market and I wanted them, especially sugary/colored breakfast drinks and cereals. (A young child can be awful when refused!) Though then I hated the diet it nearly removed my symptoms. Futhermore during adolescence I did not suffer weight-gain/control problems or any skin outbreaks. (Thus far in my life I have had maybe a dozen pimples.) As an adult I continue to avoid unnecessary additives: food dyes, trans-fat (WHY did we need this in our food anyway???), sugar substitutes. And the Feingold diet somehow caused me to dislike animal products, especially dairy. I use butter on bread sometimes but not daily. As I am over 40, slowly I am moving toward a completely raw diet. A new challenge as I live in France where meat and dairy are prevalent in most meals. My partner isn't keen (yet ;-)) but the fact that I look much younger than my peers and have weighed the same for over 20 years influences his opinion. Additionally, I do the Master Cleanse annually as well as regular salt-water intestinal cleanses (www.lifeevents.org/salt-water-cleanse.htm). Finally, I do yoga 5 days a week. I cannot stress enough how important, utterly beneficial is this mode of maintaining physical AND emotional health.

Like Gerry said, "..we should all do yoga."


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