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Articles by natural health author Luella May



ADD Misdiagnosis and the Ineffectiveness and Dangers of Commonly Prescribed Ritalin

by Luella May

(The Best Years in Life) I will forever be grateful to my son's pediatrician who examined my son for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) back in 1989. After his examination, the pediatrician's diagnosis was: "The only thing wrong with your son is that he is a boy." It was the usual scenario where because of discipline problems, the school automatically assumed that he had ADD and needed medication. Of course, the recommended medication was Ritalin. This doctor was careful to point out to me that Ritalin came with many side effects, some quite dangerous, emphasizing that one of these side effects was stunted growth. Now, some 20 years later, my son has grown into a fine young man and every now and then I say a silent thank you to that doctor. Had he not had that important heart-to-heart with me, I would have been one of those uninformed concerned mothers who would have consented to administering Ritalin to my son.

As with any other psychological disorder, there is no precise testing to determine if a child does indeed have Attention Deficit Disorder. Diagnosis is made simply by observation. Is the child hyperactive? Is he impulsive? Does he distract easily? This is the criteria for the label "Attention Deficit Disorder." Labeling children with ADD actually does them an injustice. It clumps them into a certain classification and instead of looking at the individual needs of a particular child, the perceived illness is treated. For example, does the child have any emotional problems (what's bothering him)? Is he merely bored in school? Does his behavior improve when he participates in activities that he enjoys?

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Let's look at the complexities of 21st century life. To name just a few, we live in a society that promotes instant gratification; the divorce rate skyrockets, leaving many of these children to grow up in single-parent households; there is no more respect for authority; and everyday stress levels are at an all time high. Children today have a lot more to cope with than in past generations. Another very important factor to consider is that food allergies and nutritional deficiencies also result in this type of behavior.

Ritalin is considered to be the wonder drug for this condition. This drug has gained immense popularity, with prescription use increasing by 500% in just the last six years. Yet, it is interesting to note that children who take Ritalin do not get well. In too many instances, their problems become more complex. For one, taking Ritalin very often results in the child becoming aggressive and rebellious. A study done as far back as 1971 studied 83 children classified as ADD, 92% of which were given Ritalin. The study, entitled "Hyperactive Children as Teenagers: A Follow-Up Study," followed children some years later in order to determine their progress. These were the findings:

*83% were habitual deceivers.

*60% of these children were still hyperactive, there was no scholastic improvement, and now they were considered rebellious.

*59% had run-ins with the police.

*58% were failing one or more classes.

*57% still had discipline problems in school.

*52% had destructive tendencies.

*34% has threatened to kill their parents.

*23% had been taken to the police station several times.

*15% had suicidal thoughts or had attempted suicide.

Additionally, Ritalin is highly addictive and there are indications that it can lead to future dependence on recreational drugs.


Ritalin has side effects, some which result in the actual conditions that the medication is supposed to eliminate. Listed below are just a few of its side effects:

*Heart Palpitations
*Decreased appetite
*Slowing of growth
*Blurry vision
*High blood pressure
*Heart problems
*Liver damage

And interestingly enough, one of the side effects is a craving for cocaine.

Each child is unique and lumping any child into a ready-made label does him an injustice. The focus should be on the individual child's strengths, limitations, stresses, learning obstacles, and so forth.

Besides addressing the child's emotional needs, proper nutrition is key in treating children labeled as ADD/ADHD. For instance, mood swings could be the result of fluctuating blood sugar. These behavior patterns could very well be the result of a vitamin and mineral deficiency and/or food insensitivities and allergies. As a side note, dark circles under the eyes is a sure sign that the child is sensitive or allergic to certain foods and the culprit is usually dairy.

Tests done on children with ADD/ADHD have shown that they are deficient in calcium and magnesium. They may be drinking lots of milk, but they are not absorbing the calcium properly. Switching them to raw goat's milk is a far better solution, as goat's milk does not contain the complex proteins that stimulates allergic reactions and is digested much faster than cow's milk. The child can also take calcium and magnesium supplements at a ratio of 2:1 calcium to magnesium. It is important to note that a magnesium deficiency can present itself with "mental disorders."

The child should start each day with a balanced and healthy breakfast. All sugar, sweets, candies, processed, foods, junk foods, fast foods, sodas, etc. should be eliminated. The diet should be a natural one which should include as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible.

Certain supplements can also be beneficial:

GABA has a calming effect.

Colloidal gold relieves and depression and promotes mental clarity and focus.

SAMe relieves stress. However, children considered bipolar should not take this supplement.

Treating a child labeled as ADD/ADHD should entail using a holistic approach, focusing on the child's individual needs, both emotionally and nutritionally.



About the author:

Luella Mayis a natural health advocate and author helping people to heal naturally.  Her articles appear in several online venues, including Natural News, AlignLife and CureZone.  Luella is in the midst of editing her eBook, "The 8 Invisible Stains of Our Souls" which will be available in the next few months. She partners with Tony Isaacs, who authors books and articles about natural health including "Cancer's Natural Enemy". Luella a partner and contributor of The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Luella co-moderates the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and hosts her own yahoo group focusing on the natural wellbeing of pets. 

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