ADHD is Over diagnosed and Over Medicated - Six Ways to
Support Your Child Without Drugs
by Joe Kosterich
Let me be up front on this. I do not believe that attention issues in children (or
adults) are caused by a lack of amphetamine like stimulant medication in the blood
stream. Lets examine the facts.
There are children who display behaviors, which are consistent with some of the
diagnostic criteria for ADHD. This presents a genuine management issue for the child,
their parents and often the school as well. There has been a significant increase in the
number of children (and more recently adults) who are being diagnosed with ADHD
or similar over the last 20 years.
So what has led to this increase in diagnosis and, what can be done to manage the
problem? The diagnosis of ADHD is based on fulfilling certain criteria and is completely
subjective. There is no scan or blood test to detect the condition. Certain behaviors
may be acceptable in certain circumstances but not others. For example, grabbing a
person and throwing them to the ground is acceptable on some sports fields but not
in the street. The behavior is the same but the context is different. Answering
questions early is rewarded on TV quiz shows with buzzers but is one of the
diagnostic criteria for ADHD in a classroom setting.
The issue then is how we look at behaviors may have changed more over the last 20
years than the behaviors themselves. Furthermore, children are not actually designed
to sit still for long periods of time. Boys in particular need to be running around to use
up pent up energy. The number of avenues for them to do this has decreased. Fewer
children walk or ride to school and they are less likely to run around in a park after
school. They still have the same amount of energy to burn up as their predecessors.
Bottle up this energy and it may well come out where you do not want it.
Another significant change has been the teaching methods for literacy. The whole of
language approach, which has become almost a religion in certain education circles,
does not serve the interest of all children and particularly not a large number of boys
who will learn literacy in a phonetic manner. Guess what happens to a child sitting in a
classroom if they are not able to keep up or understand the lesson. They will get
bored and they will misbehave.
By creating circumstances that do not necessarily suit children and restricting their
outlets for letting off steam behavioral issues can be created. However, these are
behavioral issues and do not necessarily constitute a medical illness which requires a
Another big issue with children these days is their nutritional status. There is a
growing view that children are often overfed but malnourished. This paradox comes
about because whilst they are consuming increasing amounts of food, they are not
getting the nutrients that they need and in particular, not the essential fatty acids,
vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, their bodies may be exposed to a variety of
preservatives and toxins, which their young bodies are even less designed to cope
with than adult bodies.
We need to look at the child in their total environment, look at what their genuine
needs are and consider what expectations are placed on them. Not all children will be
brilliant scholars and it is ridiculous to expect them to be so. This is not to say that
doing your best in school is not important, but many extremely successful people did
not score brilliantly in school exams. One of the justifications for use of medication
has been that it improves academic performance. This argument would not be
acceptable in a sporting environment and has been proved wrong now anyway.
1) Ensure that simple things like vision and hearing have been checked
2) Ensure that children do have the opportunity to be active and are encouraged to
3) Allow children to have a variety of interests and be on the move
4) Reduce processed and packaged foods, minimize food coloring and additives.
5) Ensure an adequate intake of key minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids like
the omega threes. It has been shown that children eating a Mediterranean type diet
(lots of fruit and vegetables) had less behavioral issues than those eating a "typical"
western diet of processed grains.
6) Say no to demands for soft drinks and other packaged foods. Parents need to be
aware that saying no is quite OK.
It is likely that in 20 years time, people will look back in horror at the medicalization
of behavior that we have seen over the last two decades and in particular, the over
medicalizing of children's behavior where we have repackaged behavioral
phenomenon and labeled it a disease and provided a drug treatment. By that time we
will hopefully be catering to the genuine needs of our children rather than seeking to
force them to fit a narrow definition of "normality" and labeling them as diseased
when they do not.
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at About The Author
Dr Joe's Do it yourself health (DIY Health) is based on the principle that your health is
directly influenced by how you live your life.Do not wait to be a victim of disease.Visit
my website to get knowledge and tips on ways that you can take charge of your
own health today. You will look and feel better.
Last week new research was
released that shower that giving
medication to children with ADHD did
not improve their grades but made
them considerably worse. It also
showed the drugs increased the
blood pressure of children. This week
a US paper has shown that following
treatment guidelines for ADHD helped
symptoms but had no effect on
school performance or their
relationships. Last year a US
government backed study showed a
six-fold increase in deaths in children
on medication compared to those
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