The growing problem with ADHD, and the effects of the medications that relieve it. The NY times explores and Huffington Post offers alternative advice.


The growing problem with ADHD, and the effects of the medications that relieve it. The NY times explores and Huffington Post offers alternative advice

Apparently, more children than ever are being diagnosed with ADHD, and with that, more people than ever are taking Ritalin. While this drug can help those who are unable to concentrate because the condition affects their attention span, are more children being placed on the drug because they just do not fit the classic school mold?

Ritalin, of course, is a stimulant and when used on children and adults with the condition, seems to help some, while it addicts others. While most of us are aware of the drug approach to the management of the condition, there are other ways of handling and relieving its effects. Is Ritalin the cure or a crutch and are there safer and healthier ways to help someone who has the signs and symptoms of ADHD cope and be more effective in school and in the competitive work world.

There are other more natural options other than amphetamine-based stimulants without the side effects of drugs such as Ritalin. Many students rely on these stimulants and may be better off using substances such as Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa Monnieri, caffeine as well as L-Theanine to name a few.

To read more from the NY Times article, read it here

A.D.H.D. Seen in 11% of U.S. Children as Diagnoses Rise

Published: March 31, 2013

Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children overall have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children.

The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 53 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

“Those are astronomical numbers. I’m floored,” said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.”

read more here

The Huffington Post offers some different advice on how to treat the condition. In an article by Marilyn Wedge Ph.D., she offers some alternative management ways of working with the condition. Perhaps, in many cases, ADHD is a normal variant of human beings that needs to be addressed a little differently. Read her column here

7 Natural Ways to Help Your Child’s ADHD by

About three weeks into the school year, I start getting calls from parents who are worried that their child might have attention deficit disorder. Parents also call with other worries — they fear that their child has school phobia or social anxiety. But with almost 5 million children in this country diagnosed with ADHD, this ominous acronym is the first thing parents tend to think of when school problems occur.

Whether ADHD is actually a biological condition (there is no scientific evidence for this), or whether ADHD is a profitable social construction that allows Big Pharma to sell more drugs, is a topic that continues to be debated. The more important question, it seems to me, is how can parents help a child who cannot concentrate in the classroom, or whose behavior is out of control? Drug solutions have been touted for decades by expensive marketing campaigns of the psychiatric-pharmaceutical complex. Non-drug solutions are less well-known — except to parents who have fiercely devoted themselves to finding an alternative way to help their children.

From my point of view as a family therapist, the various behaviors that we group together and the name “ADHD” (ADD without hyperactivity is no longer a diagnosis in the latest edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) have a situational, not a biological, cause. Many parents, for example, find that although their child seems to have ADHD at school, when the child is home-schooled he doesn’t have symptoms at all.

Situational problems require situational solutions. When her two sons were diagnosed with ADHD, one mom found that enrolling them in boxing helped them expend their extra energy. This worked so well that she was able to avoid medicating them. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD at 9 years old, then took himself off medication at age 13 because he didn’t want to use the medication as a crutch. Phelps did very well for a boy whose teacher predicted that he would never succeed at anything.

Enrolling an overactive child in a sport such as boxing or swimming is a good way to channel excess energy. But there are other solutions as well. Here are some that I have gleaned from my 22 years of helping children in family therapy. These strategies are not for the hurried parent who wants a quick fix, Band-Aid solution for their child’s symptoms. The parents who find their way to my office through the haze of psychiatric-pharmaceutical propaganda have read the research about the side effects of the speed medications used for ADHD, and they are looking for a saner alternative. These courageous souls are willing to take responsibility for making changes in their own homes to decrease their child’s stress and improve the child’s emotional health. Here are some of the strategies I recommend to them:

read more here