Recently, a study was done in Iceland on children diagnosed with ADHD. Their standard test scores at the fourth grade and seventh grade level were compared to their prescription records. It was found that those that didn’t start taking stimulant ADHD medication until two or three years after their diagnosis had declining mathematics scores on standard tests. Those that started medication within a year of diagnosis had an insignificant decline on their test scores. The conclusion was that early treatment is better than later and could prevent trouble on standard tests later. This study is not convincing because it has drawn its conclusions from loose generalities. It’s misleading and is lacking important information.
The first pitfall of this study is that they did not bother to find out what other factors may have affected the children’s academic performance. All they took into account was an ADHD diagnosis and prescription records. How do they know the medication was responsible for the improvement in test scores if they didn’t look at any other factors? What if a significant number of the children taking the medication early were getting tutoring as well? What about considering that an immature fourth grader may develop into a more diligent student by seventh grade? Without these answers one cannot make such a broad general statement.
Another problem with this study is that one of the researchers received funding from a pharmaceutical company that makes stimulant drugs for ADHD. It would be foolish to think that this study is impartial. Drug companies want to sell lots of drugs so the researcher certainly isn’t getting paid to do a negative study of ADHD medications. He is getting paid to do a study to get more drugs sold, just as this study suggests that the sooner your child is on the medication, the better his academic performance.
The next point to consider is that stimulant drugs such as Vyvanse, Ritalin and Concerta are being prescribed to children today in record numbers to treat “a mental disorder” which has yet to be proven to exist with medical facts. There is no blood test, urine test, MRI or x-ray to confirm the existence of ADHD. The chemical brain imbalance theory lacks scientific evidence, so all we are left with is merely an unsubstantiated opinion based on symptoms only.
It is true that children can be inattentive, unfocused, fidgety and hyperactive. Children are not adults and should not be expected to behave like one in class or any other place. Boys especially can have a lot of energy but it doesn’t mean they have a “mental disorder.” Sure, there are kids that seem out of control, but the point is where is this type of behavior coming from? It could be stemming from multiple causes but we are being pitched the idea that it’s ADHD and a pill is the panacea.
It is time to stop buying the idea that a child has ADHD and do some investigating and find the exact reason the undesirable behavior is occurring. As the first step, it is vital to take a look at what the child is eating. Then by process of elimination, find out what food could be causing the behavior, or as an alternative go organic.
Certain things we eat can cause different reactions or allergies that vary from person to person and come under the heading of “ADHD behavior.” Chemicals are sprayed on anything that grows. Artificial flavors, colors and food dyes are pretty common and can cause severe allergic reactions if not detected. Hormones and steroids are much more prevalent in animal products than they were fifty years ago. Sugar is a common culprit of hyperactivity and sugar is in pretty much everything these days. Even something simple like gluten can cause hyperactivity. These are just a few ideas. Some children don’t get reactions at all and others are very sensitive, thus the need to check the child’s diet item by item.
Though the research could be time consuming to narrow down the cause of the behavior, it would be worth it because you would have solved a problem.
By giving your child a stimulant drug to manage his behavior, you are not solving a problem but are creating one because of the potential side effects. In this study, they devoted one line to the side effects of stimulant drugs for ADHD. They listed appetite loss, sleep problems and stomachaches. These kinds of side effects wouldn’t alarm a parent and is probably the reason why they conveniently left out the ones that would.
The first thing to know about ADHD stimulant drugs or any other psychiatric drugs is that they alter the function of the brain. This means the resulting change in behavior could be worse than what you are trying to handle. The ADHD drugs also have the potential to be highly addictive and are classed by the FDA in the same group as cocaine.
The study didn’t mention such adverse side effects as: aggression, delusions, depression, hallucinations, seizures, tics, suicidal thoughts or even sudden death. These are some documented side effects of Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse. Of the three drugs, the least amount of potential adverse side effects for one drug is twenty-three in number and the most forty-seven. Imagine being a parent and not being told of these? Imagine finding out later that the drug you gave your child stunted his growth or even worse caused him to have tics which are permanent?
It is time that parents take their child’s life in their own hands and stop believing what they are told. Every child is different and is an individual. We don’t all want to be the same do we? Sure there are behavioral problems, but let’s protect our children’s health and welfare by finding the true cause. Don’t fall for the psychiatric marketing ploy. Do your homework, find the cause and get a result. Everyone will be happier because you did.