Thursday, September 17, 2009

ADHD Medications: Over-Prescribed

Can you believe it? How could 1 in 25 U.S. children be on a potent psychiatric medication? The U.S. presently leads the world in diagnosing and treating ADHD. We fill approximately 83% of the world’s prescriptions for ADHD (2007 Reuters.

This report (cited above) is very disappointing. There is no objective test for ADHD. It is a compilation of symptoms that are viewed as abnormal including distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and other symptoms. How could we go from no children being treated with these medications when I was a child to 1 in 25 U.S. children currently being treated? Either we have some new major health crises that was not present in previous generations or there is a problem with over-diagnosing and over-treating unacceptable behaviors.

What are the long-term effects of treating all these millions of children with potent psychiatric drugs? No one knows since long-term studies have never been done on these medications.

Some years back, a close relative of mine, Conner, was told to go on a stimulant medication by the counselor at his school. The school called a meeting with the parents and told them they wanted to place Conner on Ritalin. The parents asked the counselor why she recommended it and the counselor claimed Conner needed medication in order to make him more attentive. When the parent asked the counselor if she did a psychological and neurological exam on Conner, she (of course) said “no”. I sent Conner to a psychologist who performed an exhaustive examination. The conclusion of the psychologist was that Conner did not need medication, he just needed to be challenged. The psychologist said he was bored at school. The parents chose another route and did not medicate him. I think they made the right decision.

This case is repeated over and over in schools all over the country. Stimulant medications should be the last resort for our children--not the first thing given when there are problems. I think the report on the wide spread medical ‘drugging’ of our children is a travesty. There is a lot of blame to go around for this; doctors who prescribe too many medications without performing a thorough workup as well as parents who look for the easy fix.

I advise you to not medicate your children without seeking a full evaluation and carefully considering all the options available. Perhaps many of these children have nutritional and/or hormonal imbalances that need attention. All children diagnosed with ADHD should have a complete nutritional, hormonal, and toxicity evaluation before instituting drug therapies.


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