Now that a new school year will soon be upon us, let’s look at a condition that is becoming increasingly devastating for school age children.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
It's becoming an epidemic
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in seven children in the US receives a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by the time they turn 18, including one in five high school boys.
At least 70 percent of those are prescribed medications like Adderall or Ritalin.
The data show that a staggering 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 received an ADHD diagnosis at some point in their lives--a 41 percent increase in the past decade!
What it's all about
In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, a child must meet the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. The child must have six or more signs and symptoms from one or both of the two categories below.
- Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork and other activities
- Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- Doesn't seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Doesn’t follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork or chores
- Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- Avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework
- Loses items necessary for tasks or activities (for example, toys, school assignments, pencils, books)
- Is easily distracted
- Is forgetful in daily activities
- Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
- Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations when remaining seated is expected
- Runs about or climbs excessively in situations when it's inappropriate
- Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Is "on the go" or acts as if "driven by a motor"
- Talks too much
- Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- Has difficulty awaiting turn
- Interrupts or intrudes on others' conversations or games
That's one of the biggest problems with ADHD--diagnosing it is far from an exact science. In many cases a child is labeled with ADHD based on subjective observations of behaviors that all children exhibit at some time.
This means that potentially thousands of kids are misdiagnosed--and wrongly medicated. And that can have a hefty price…
ADHD drugs--FAR from "mild"
Contrary to what you may believe, the drugs prescribed for ADHD are anything but "mild."
They're Class 2 narcotics, regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a controlled substance.
Here are some of the side effects of the popular ADHD drug Ritalin:
- Sudden death in people who have heart problems or heart defects
- Stroke and heart attack
- Increased blood pressure
- New or worse behavior and thought problems
- New or worse bipolar illness
- New or worse aggressive behavior or hostility
- Psychotic symptoms (such as hearing voices, hallucinations, paranoia)
- New manic symptoms
- Increased heart rate
- Slowing of growth in children
- Eyesight changes or blurred vision
And here’s the real kicker: Ritalin doesn’t even work.
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded that there is no evidence of any long-term improvement in scholastic performance in children taking Ritalin.
A shift to safer thinking!
Many health care professionals are looking at what may be causing or contributing to ADHD, and suggesting measures that are effective and far safer than narcotics for toddlers and kids!
First of all, behavioral therapy has been shown to be helpful with the behaviors and symptoms of ADHD.
Behavioral therapy is a lengthy process that requires cooperation between the child, his family, teachers and therapists, but it can make a dramatic difference in rest of the child’s life.
There are three other significant factors that have been shown to trigger ADHD symptoms, and by addressing these factors you can potentially make a huge difference in a child with ADHD.
ADHD Solution #1: The nutrient connection
Nutrients (vitamins and minerals) are absolutely vital for proper brain function in both younger children and teens.
Here are some examples:
A low magnesium level is linked to ADHD as well as autism, aggressive behavior, over-excitability, excessive fidgeting, restlessness, coordination problems, anxiety, depression, fatigue and learning disabilities.
Low levels of iron can cause poor brain functioning and erratic behavior.
Zinc deficiency can lead to angry, aggressive behavior, depression with suicidal ideation and eating disorders.
In addition, zinc helps balance blood sugar, so kids that are low on it crave sweets and refined carbohydrates and reject nutritious proteins and vegetables.
Vitamin B6 is necessary for your body to convert amino acids into neurotransmitters (your brain’s chemical messengers).
Especially important here is taurine. Low taurine levels can trigger insomnia, hyperactivity, seizures, anxiety or addiction problems.
Unfortunately many kids live on junk and fast foods, which are gravely lacking in nutrients. So it's easy to see how deficiencies can occur...and ADHD symptoms can manifest or worsen.
But you can help turn that around for your kids.
The Great Taste No Pain health system can show you delicious ways to enjoy healthful foods loaded with nutrients that are both easy to prepare and kid-approved.
When your meals are made from REAL foods, not only can you get more nutrients from your meals, but you are also encouraging better digestion—which can help enhance nutrient absorption.
In addition, gluten sensitivity can also manifest itself as ADHD symptoms. If you suspect gluten may be an issue for your child, then Great Taste No Gluten can help.
Great Taste No Gluten lives up to its name—it comes with 160 delicious gluten free dishes—plus instructions to answer every question you have and guide you step by step into a gluten free life.
ADHD Solution #2: Avoid heavy metals
Here are the three main heavy metals, how they can induce ADHD symptoms and where they’re found:
Aluminum is harmful to the nervous system with symptoms that can include disturbed sleep, nervousness, emotional instability, memory loss, headaches, and impaired thinking and memory.
Aluminum is found in cookware, food and beer/soda cans, aluminum foil, antacids, hepatitis vaccines, baking powder, anti-perspirants, margarine, buffered aspirin and bleached white flour.
Mercury exposure can cause mental dysfunction, fatigue, poor memory, depression, emotional problems, neurological and muscular disorders.
Dental amalgam fillings are by far the number one source. Mercury is also found in fungicides and pesticides, cosmetics, tattoo dyes, flu shots, laxatives, paper products, home thermometers and fish (especially shark, swordfish, tuna, mackerel and sea bass).
In children, too much lead in the body can cause lasting problems with growth and development. These can affect behavior, hearing and learning and can slow the child's growth.
Lead is typically found in pipes, paints and gasoline. It's also in glassware, roadways, cosmetics, hair dyes, newspaper print and ceramic glazes.
The more you can avoid exposure to these heavy metals, the better for your child’s brain (and yours!).
ADHD Solution #3: Get enough Omega-3 EFAs
Studies show that Omega-3 essential fatty acids can lead to improved brain function and higher mental test scores, while too many Omega-6 EFAs actually contribute to impaired cognitive ability.
Unfortunately, our typical diets (especially kids' diets!) are rich in vegetable oils, fast food and meats from grain-fed animals--foods that are brimming with Omega-6 EFAs, while at the same time are seriously lacking Omega-3 EFAs.
So daily supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids can be very helpful to help turn that around!
VitalMega-3 fish oil formula is your ticket for a great, high quality supplement.
The 2-capsule daily serving includes 600 mg. of EPA and 400 mg. of DHA--two of the very best Omega-3 EFAs for sharp brain functioning.
Be sure to let your or your child’s doctor know about supplements you are taking or considering giving to your child.
When you take a look at what may be contributing to your child’s ADHD, you can help to make a tremendous difference in their lives...and your own.
To your health,