When you check the Psychiatric Association Manual, the ICD-10 Classifications of Mental and Behavioral Disorders(13) and the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), the main symptoms of hyperactivity are: “often fidgets with hands or feet, or squirms in seat.” Under impulsivity it states “blurts out answer before question has been completed.” And under inattention it reads “often fails to give close attention to details, or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities.” Robert Erickson, M.D. states “And if you look at how this diagnosis has been formulated, it is to define disruptive classroom behavior, with the purpose of being able to medicate under these psychiatric guidelines.”
Annette Primiani, an Educational Consultant, states, “As a classroom teacher you are given a list of nine categories for diagnosing ADHD. If a child demonstrates six of these, then the teacher, a consultant, or a special-ed teacher can recommend this child to a doctor for medication, often with the support of Child Protective Services.”
According to Patti Johnson, a Colorado Board of Education member from 1995-2001: “In the early 1990s, there was a huge spike of children being diagnosed with ADHD, and subsequently put on Ritalin. At that time two things happened:
Half a century ago, the amount of children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or depression was infinitesimal. Today, there are over seven million children ‘officially diagnosed’ and medicated daily. This is a very sad fact and it doesn’t have to continue this way. Our children are not deficient in any of the above-mentioned drugs. What are they deficient in?
Healthy Parents: Lendon Smith, M.D.(1921-2001),(14) who practiced as OB/GYN and pediatrician for over 55 years, says, “If you are thinking about getting pregnant, clean up your diet (see tips below), quit drinking alcohol, start taking a high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral complex, with extra Folic Acid, 1,000-5,000 mg Vitamin C, extra Zinc (for the father). Also, breastfeeding is very important.
Minerals: Over 81% of minerals have been lost from our soils and foods during the last fifty years. Minerals perform important enzymatic and alkalizing functions in our body and brain. Try some liquid trace minerals in water, or take a couple of quality multi-mineral tablets daily.
Healthy Fats: particularly Omega-3 from fish-oil. Part of the fat-deficiency in children today may be inherited from the parents’ low-fat/no-fat diets from the 80s and 90s. That may have affected the quality of sperm and the health of the fertilized egg developing during pregnancy. These fats are absolutely essential for overall brain health, focus, problem solving, and vision.
I suggest two to three high-DHA Omega-3 capsules, or at least one teaspoon of pleasant-tasting cod-liver oil daily. It’s also important to add 2000-8000 IU’s of Vitamin-D3 daily, a fat soluble vitamin, which has shown improved positive thinking and happiness.
Carbohydrates: Substantially reducing carbohydrate-rich foods from the family’s diet can quickly lower ADHD symptoms. What I mean to say is the reduction of simple sugars, such as white breads, pasta, junk food, chips, dairy, candy, juices, and all artificial sweeteners (i.e. aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, sucralose, splenda) and food colorings, especially Blue #1(15). I do believe complex carbohydrates found in whole foods are slower in the breakdown during digestion; and won’t focus so much on stimulating the brain like simple sugars do.
Eliminate Allergens and Toxins: Gluten has shown to contribute to confusion, loss of concentration and focus, indigestion, weakness, and insomnia. Also, today’s dairy quality is not what it used to be, and, because of homogenization and pasteurization, it has lost almost all of its immune-enhancing properties. And don’t discount allergies from eggs, chicken, and certain nuts. Then there is possible lead-toxicity, which damages a mechanism that regulates attention and self-control.
Increase Daily Protein: Most children are very active and need to refuel with the nutrients that feed all cells, not just the muscles, heart and brain. At least half their body weight in grams of protein daily will show rapid improvements in mood, energy, and good sleep. Make sure the child eats a protein-rich breakfast every morning.
Feel free to contact me with any questions and for further options.
… AND FINALLY,
Violence is so wrong. Based on personal reactions from those involved during and after a violent act, the sadness and grief make it clear there are no winners. These young aggressors, these killers, know emotionally that what they do is wrong, but they cannot stop themselves mentally. They cannot stop the voices in their head. And if this was created as a side effect of mind-altering drugs they are taking, then shame on the pharmaceutical companies that keep pushing these drugs for all the wrong reasons!
Dr. Peter Breggin says it well: “ Depression in children is not a biological phenomena; it is a spiritual, psychological, and social issue. But whatever the reason is why kids get depressed, the solution is in the hands of adults to provide children hope, to empower children, to give them a sense that they can matter in their own world and in a larger world.”
There is no substitute for adults our children’s lives - giving them support, gratitude, encouragement and hope. Hope does not lie in a pill.