We have anecdotal reports from concerned parents saying that they feel pressured from teachers, the school nurse and their doctor, to subject their kids to these prescription behavior controls, or risk losing their spot in the classroom (or worse). In a growing number of cases, resistance to giving Ritalin for behavior problems and the rampant diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is being given as much scrutiny as opting not to vaccinate your children without any of the federal protections. Some parents have even been hauled into court, charged with medical negligence and forced to give their children the medication. This is a nightmare on a lot of levels.
Heres something even more startling, and disturbing. We are seeing a dramatic increase in spending on ADHD drugs for children UNDER five years old. The mainstream medical reporters attribute this rise to the popularity of newer, long-acting patent medicines that are edging out twice-a-day doses of Ritalin. But starting such small children on a prescription drug without ever taking a moment to seek out the root cause of the problem being treated is the true medical negligence if you ask me.
Especially since this sentences them to a childhood and perhaps lifetime of prescription stimulants, and the long-term effects of taking such drugs has not been studied. There are reams of material written on the potential risks of Ritalin way too much to get into here. But with a new school year looming, its worth mentioning that there are several possible answers to your childs behavior if you suspect or have received a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD. And addressing these causes naturally may help the little one in your life avoid ever needing drugs to mask their symptoms.
The first rock to look under is food allergy/intolerance. Dr. Wright has related numerous cases of parents at their wits end who bring their children in to his clinic, desperate to keep them off prescription drugs. In many cases, an allergy to milk, wheat, soy, or some other allergen is often the culprit. Find the allergy, eliminate the offending food, and the behavior will often change. Another potential sensitivity to pay close attention to is a possible reaction to salicylates, natural preservatives stored in the bark, leaves, roots, and seeds of plants and found naturally in many foods.
In vegetables, theyre mostly concentrated in the peels and rinds or the outer leaves. The salicylate content in fruit is highest when the food is unripened fruit, and it decreases during the ripening process. And raw foods, dried foods, and juices can contain higher levels of salicylates than cooked food. The second thing to consider is inadequate diet. A 1996 study showed that boys with low levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids also have a greater incidence of behavior and learning problems, and have a diagnosis of ADHD.
Seems that old-fashioned daily spoonful of cod liver oil our parents and grandparents swore by may still be the secret for good behavior as well as better overall health. Other possible diet problems could include excessive amounts of sugar, grains and dairy. Even if there is no allergy or sensitivity present, these foods can have a detrimental effect on behavior because of their effect on insulin regulation. Finally, you may want to consider looking into a different learning environment. Todays classrooms emphasize a level of conformity, excessive standardized testing, and idle hours spent sitting still and listening. Its just not a great fit for all children.
Smaller class size, even homeschooling, or alternative schools where more experiential and hands-on learning exercises are often incorporated can sometimes resolve any behavior challenges a child might have at a regular school. While taking Ritalin or a similar patent medication will bring you results practically overnight, it could take several weeks or months to use the approaches outlined above, to really nail down and eliminate the root cause behind the behavior. But what the extra time will save you and your child in terms of expense and possible long-term health consequences will be well worth it.