ADHD diagnoses and efficacy of drug treatmentsWhat is your personal viewpoint on major concerns about ADHD diagnoses and the efficacy of drug treatments that have led to recent controversy.
I personally don't like the idea of putting children on drugs! I would rather place them on a healthy diet, limit their intake of junk foods, and supplement with vitamins and minerals. One hundred fifty years ago there was no such thing as ADHD and Dislexia, because most people ate food straight off the farms and it was wholesome and healthy. The people in the cities didn't have it as good because they had to eat more processed, prepared foods. But, as a general rule, our ancestors ate better than we do today. Another thing they had was plenty of good, rich soil to grow crops in. Over the decades, our land has become depleted and pollution has increased. Certain things are lacking in our food supplies today so we need to make a more concerted effort to put those things back in our diets, especially in our children.
Sometimes, just eliminating sugar, soda pop, and refined foods from a child's diet entirely changes his/her mental capabilities and learning abilities to the point that he/she is no longer considered ADHD or "learning disabled." Just look at Hammy, the squirrel, on the movie "Over the Hedge!" They didn't give him soda pop because it made him hyper. Can we not see a type here in our own children?
Putting our children on prescription drug to help thim in school should be our last resort, when all other methods have failed. Even then, we should still be trying to build, repair, and sustain their bodies with good wholesome things!
My personal concern is two-fold. In the first place, the (to some controversial) Feingold Diet for ADHD controls and regulates the effects of ADHD without dangerous exposure to drugs that in some cases result in higher incidence of psychiatric disorders later in the child's life. In the second place, while the cause of ADHD may not yet be definitively identified, there is a strong correlation between environmental and food toxins (e.g., classroom cleansing agents, indoor air quality, food colorants and other additives) and the incidence of ADHD.
#4 raises an excellent point. What concerns me is the way that so many teachers and doctors seem to be in a rush to medicate children with some incredibly powerful drugs. Whilst of course this is important for a number of children, and I personally know of one friend whose son's performance at school has improved massively now that he is on medication, I think we should treat medicating children with ADHD as a last resort rather than a first resort. Trying other strategies like change of diet and fish oil capsules should be our first port of call.
I have had many students over the years who have benefited immensely from being on a drug therapy to help them manage their ADHD symptoms. These drugs have been part of what has helped these students succeed in their academic goals. While there are concerns about the long-term effects of many drugs on the still developing brains of young people, I think that parents need to weigh that against the long-term problem of a student not making adequate academic progress.
I found that while students were on the medical waiting list to be assessed and prescribed medication to manage ADHD, many benifitted from taking fish oil capsules and eradicating additives and food colorings from their diet. I do not doubt that in some cases prescribed medication is the major means by which real stability and clarity of mind can be established, but I have also seen excellent results in young people whose diet and sleep routines were made regular.