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Kids Have More Mental Illness Than Ever, Says CDC, Need More Drugs
by Barbara Minton
(The Best Years in Life) Our kids have more mental illness than ever says the new Children's Mental Health report just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The release of this report coincides with the long awaited release of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the bible of the American Psychological Association (APA). This is the manual that is turning everyday commonplace characteristics, that have traditionally been accepted as fitting into the spectrum of human behavior, into disorders treatable with drugs.
Mental disorders among children are defined in the report as "serious changes in the ways children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions". Interestingly, these disorders are usually not diagnosed until the child goes to school.
The CDC report is the first time federal activities have been employed to track U.S. children's mental disorders. It is based on data collected and compiled from 2005-2011. Notable findings include:
*1 out of 5 children experienced a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year.
*Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was the most prevalent diagnosis among children aged 3 to 17.
*Other identified common diagnoses fell into the category of disruptive behavioral disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, autism spectrum disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, and Tourette syndrome.
*Boys were more likely to have ADHD, behavioral or conduct problems, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, Tourette syndrome, and cigarette dependence. (Yes, anxiety and cigarette smoking are now mental illnesses according to DSM-5)
*Adolescent girls were more likely than boys to have depression or use alcohol (alcohol use is now classified as mental illness according to DSM-5)
*The CDC believes that "public health surveillance" is the first step to better understanding of childhood mental disorders. (Look for less privacy for your children as increasing surveillance is used to track their behavior and drug treatment compliance.)
It is no coincidence that most childhood mental illness is diagnosed during the school years
What is behind the staggering rates of childhood mental illness? There seem to be several moving parts. In self serving fashion, the APA along with the pharmaceutical industry, has steadily expanded the definition of mental illness for the past dozen years and has gradually snipped more and more off the ends of the bell curve that once described the normal range of human behavior.
Characteristics that once made a child stand out as an individual are no longer wanted in today's world that values compliance and standardization. Parents have been encouraged to program every waking hour of their children's time to make sure no moments are left for creative play or daydreaming, the sort of activities that produce people who can think for themselves and have well developed personalities.
In today's world what is wanted is people who will do as they are told without thinking much about what is really going on. What is wanted today is consumers who will buy what they are told to buy, and workers who will embrace the slave-like working conditions they find themselves facing.
Anyone whose personality characteristics lie outside what is conducive to these parameters can be best marginalized by a mental illness diagnosis and medication.
The across the board dumbing down of the educational system reflects these current trends. The major overriding concept taught in schools is not how to think and learn throughout the lifetime. Instead it is conformity that is valued above all else. Children who have been taught by their parents to think and act as individuals have a difficult time fitting into the mind numbing tedium of a day at school.
While the way adults live and work has covered the gambit from the industrial revolution to the technological revolution, not much has changed in the school experience. Today's children are expected to sit at a desk for all day, doing paper and pencil tasks, just like children did centuries ago. And these tasks are more irrelevant than ever. It is viewed as more important that they memorize the exports from ancient Egypt than that they learn how to make sound financial decisions or learn to care for their own bodies and health. The individual knowledge and thought that leads to empowerment is not valued in our schools, and the denial of thinking and self expression, coupled with the one-size-fits-all of the "learning" experience makes schools a breading ground for what is now considered mental illness.
Children who are unable to endure the mind numbing tedium of traditional school coupled with the denial of independent thought and individuality may sooner or later find they have been labeled as ADHD or one of the other top diagnoses.
Most parents take very good care of their children, and waste no time getting help for them when they see something is wrong. Preschoolers are brought to doctors offices everyday for a wide range of problems. So why don't parents take their kids for mental disorder treatment before they enter school? The common sense answer is that parents are not observing any symptoms of mental illness in their preschool children. The mental health of most children seems quite fine to their parents and everyone else until they enter school.
A malnourished body has a malnourished brain
Whether it be plant or animal, almost all species of life go to great lengths to provide their young with the most healthy food they can make or find. The foods produced to nourish the young are some of the most healthy foods on earth: fruits, nuts, raw milk, bee pollen. The one exception to the rule is humans, many of whom willingly feed their young foods that promote disease rather than health.
Children who are raised on foods lacking in vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats end up with malnourished brains that cannot function as the they were meant to. Many of the foods fed to children at home and through school "nutrition" programs are genetically modified or contain genetically modified ingredients, and are seriously lacking in real nutrition. These foods cannot promote a healthy, well functioning brain.
Food colorings, chemical additives and excitotoxins, high sugar intake, and lack of omega 3 fatty acids have all been documented in research as contributing to the rising rates of ADHD and other disorders that are becoming common in children. Add to that the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in children which has left them without the friendly bacteria in their intestinal tracts needed to absorb what little nutrients their food does contain.
For children to grow up with good health and be able to avoid mental illness labeling, they must be fed the best food available, just like other species do. This means a diet comprised of whole foods that will provide needed vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats. Fake foods, processed foods and nutritionally empty foods should have no place in our children's lives.
What it means that more kids than ever are being diagnosed
Are more children really mentally ill today than in the past? Probably not. Rather the criteria used to diagnose mental illness has expanded considerably, so the APA will have more children to treat, and pharmaceutical companies will have more customers for their drugs.
But it is more likely now that your child will be threatened with a mental illness label than at any time in history. In order to avoid that, it is up to all of us to make sure that children are allowed to grow up as individuals who are taught to think, evaluate, and act in their own best interest. The dumbing down of the education system must end, and an experiential curriculum implemented that teaches what is worth knowing to be a citizen in the world of today. And human parents must take a lesson from the other species with which they share the earth, and provide their children with the building blocks to develop and maintain a healthy brain.
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