The ADHD/ADD Epidemic: What Every Parent Must Know

Diagnoses for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have rapidly increased in the past 30 years, especially in the United States. The U.S. has 5 times more cases of ADHD than any other country in the world. However, controversial diagnostic methods and treatment procedures have prompted many parents, teachers and medical practitioners to question their validity. Though the diagnosis may provide initial relief, the social stigma, medical costs and drug side effects can be detrimental.

It is now common for preschool age children to be placed on highly potent medications such as Ritalin. Ritalin is a Schedule II central nervous system stimulant, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), a label reserved for the most dangerous and addictive drugs which can be prescribed legally. Ritalin's ® side effects range from insomnia to seizures, or even death. Matthew Smith was diagnosed with ADHD as a 7 year old. He was 14 on March 21, 2000 when he collapsed while skateboarding outside with his cousins and soon died. An autopsy by Dr. Dragovich, then the chief pathologist in the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office, revealed heart complications due to over-use of methylphenidate, the scientific name for Ritalin. There are no blood tests or brain scans which proved Matthew had ADHD. Such tests do not exist. ADHD is diagnosed through second-hand reports from teachers and school administrators. Matthew's fidgety behavior was enough to convince medical practitioners that a drug with frightening similarities to cocaine would help him be a better student. After thousands of dollars spent on Ritalin and years of child psychologists, Matthew's behavior never improved and his heart conditioned worsened.

Cases such as Matthew's are very rare, and it would have been near impossible for the Royal Oak medical community to predict such a terrible outcome. Doctors and teachers thought they were helping Matthew, but the truth is they were masking the symptoms of another problem which was never discovered. Take the case of Brandon, a little boy from Australia who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 4. By 2004, at the age of 12, he was on Dexamphetamine for ADHD and tranquilizers to stabilize his mood. Frustrated with their inability to help their son, Brandon's parents took him off the medications. After a series of doctor and psychologist visits they discovered that Brandon had learning and hearing difficulties. Brandon's disruptive behavior was a message to his parents that he needed help, not that he had an attention deficit disorder.

As Martin Whitely, ADHD policy expert and member of the Legislative Assembly in the Parliament of Western Australia, writes, children with ADHD symptoms “can be difficult to control in a classroom and in many cases are more compliant” when on Ritalin, but “there is absolutely no scientifically valid evidence” that these children learn faster or that the root of the problem is ever addressed.

We need to change the conversation from how can we subdue unruly and disruptive children in the classroom to how can we effectively help our children learn and grow. Fortunately, there are many simple lifestyle changes we can make, and many health professionals who can advise us along this path. A resolution is more easily found by removing dietary or environmental factors, than adding more chemicals and complication to the mix.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

ADHD/ADD Epidemic: What Every Parent Must Know

Diagnoses for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have rapidly increased in the past 30 years, especially in the United States. The U.S. has 5 times more cases of ADHD than any other country in the world. However, controversial diagnostic methods and treatment procedures have prompted many parents, teachers and medical practitioners to question their validity. Though the diagnosis may provide initial relief, the social stigma, medical costs and drug side effects can be detrimental.

It is now common for preschool age children to be placed on highly potent medications such as Ritalin. Ritalin is a Schedule II central nervous system stimulant, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), a label reserved for the most dangerous and addictive drugs which can be prescribed legally. Ritalin's ® side effects range from insomnia to seizures, or even death. Matthew Smith was diagnosed with ADHD as a 7 year old. He was 14 on March 21, 2000 when he collapsed while skateboarding outside with his cousins and soon died. An autopsy by Dr. Dragovich, then the chief pathologist in the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office, revealed heart complications due to over-use of methylphenidate, the scientific name for Ritalin. There are no blood tests or brain scans which proved Matthew had ADHD. Such tests do not exist. ADHD is diagnosed through second-hand reports from teachers and school administrators. Matthew's fidgety behavior was enough to convince medical practitioners that a drug with frightening similarities to cocaine would help him be a better student. After thousands of dollars spent on Ritalin and years of child psychologists, Matthew's behavior never improved and his heart conditioned worsened.

Cases such as Matthew's are very rare, and it would have been near impossible for the Royal Oak medical community to predict such a terrible outcome. Doctors and teachers thought they were helping Matthew, but the truth is they were masking the symptoms of another problem which was never discovered. Take the case of Brandon, a little boy from Australia who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 4. By 2004, at the age of 12, he was on Dexamphetamine for ADHD and tranquilizers to stabilize his mood. Frustrated with their inability to help their son, Brandon's parents took him off the medications. After a series of doctor and psychologist visits they discovered that Brandon had learning and hearing difficulties. Brandon's disruptive behavior was a message to his parents that he needed help, not that he had an attention deficit disorder.

As Martin Whitely, ADHD policy expert and member of the Legislative Assembly in the Parliament of Western Australia, writes, children with ADHD symptoms “can be difficult to control in a classroom and in many cases are more compliant” when on Ritalin, but “there is absolutely no scientifically valid evidence” that these children learn faster or that the root of the problem is ever addressed.

We need to change the conversation from how can we subdue unruly and disruptive children in the classroom to how can we effectively help our children learn and grow. Fortunately, there are many simple lifestyle changes we can make, and many health professionals who can advise us along this path. A resolution is more easily found by removing dietary or environmental factors, than adding more chemicals and complication to the mix.

Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall: Dangerous, Expensive and Ineffective

CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) was founded in 1987 by Ciba-Ceigy (now Novartis), the original maker of Ritalin. Not surprisingly, drugs like Ritalin have been pushed by supposedly unbiased health organizations, such as CHADD, as the only viable method to ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD. However, these drugs are dangerous, expensive, and often ineffective.

How effective are common treatment methods like Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall?

Currently, the amphetamines Ritalin and Concerta or an amphetamines “cocktail” (Adderall) is used to treat ADHD. Though Dr. Braly, author of The Essential Guide to Uncovering Food Allergies: And Achieving Permanent Relief  (2008), confirms that the “short-term effectiveness of these medications in reducing hyperactivity and improving concentration and learning is about 60 to 70 percent,” (57) these medications have very common and detrimental side effects.

Common Side Effects of Ritalin

  • Addiction
  • Nervousness including agitation, anxiety and irritability
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations

Other Serious Side Effects of Ritalin Include

  • Slowing of growth (height and weight) in children
  • Seizures, mainly in patients with a history of seizures
  • Eyesight changes or blurred vision
Less Common Side Effects of Ritalin
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse rate (and other heart problems)
  • Tolerance (constant need to raise the dose)
  • Feelings of suspicion and paranoia
  • Visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not there)
  • Depression  
  • Dermatoses (infected or diseased skin)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Infection or viral infection
  • Elevated ALT enzyme levels in the blood (signaling liver damage)

Overdose Side Effects of Ritalin

Since methylphenidate drugs are highly addictive, overdose side effects may result. Here are some of the more common symptoms of an overdose:

  • Restlessness
  • Tremor
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic states
  • Hyperreflexia (overactive reflexes, which can include twitching or spasms)
  • Personality changes
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Seizures or abnormal EEGs
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Swelling of hands/feet/ankles (for example, numbing of the fingertips)
  • Delusions
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Unexplained muscle pain
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Rhabdomyolysis and kidney damage

Chronic abuse can manifest itself as psychosis, often indistinguishable from schizophrenia 

A Call to Action

If you or a loved one suffers from ADD or ADHD, take your health into your own hands. Visit an appropriate health practitioner who will talk about the most simple and least invasive methods of healing. Throwing dangerous drugs at the problem is clearly not the solution.

ADHD and Big Business: What the Drug Companies Don't Want You to Know

In 1985, A Respected Doctor Discovers Food Can Cause ADHD

Dr. Joseph Egger, head of the Pediatric University Hospital in Munich, Germany, could not believe his results. Of 76 children with severe ADHD put on the strict hypoallergenic diet for a month, 82% got better. These were children with severe epilepsy, antisocial behavior, who were sometimes even prone to violence. Yet, in little over a month's time, it was as if they were entirely new people.

Dr. Egger's 1985 study created an uproar. Scientists scrambled to conduct their own research to see if these staggering results were true. Over the years, peer review corroborated Dr. Egger's findings repeatedly - removing artificial food colors, preservatives, and common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts and eggs, lead to drastic improvements in some of the worst cases of ADHD in both children and adults.

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)

Despite mounting evidence that food allergies correlate directly with the onset of ADHD, organizations such as CHADD do not even mention food allergies and diet as a potential cause for Attention Deficit Disorders. Why would they disregard these studies, which could lead to complete improvements for many patients?

CHADD: Brought to You By the Makers of Ritalin

CHADD was founded in 1987 by Ciba-Ceigy (now Novartis), the original maker of Ritalin, the popular ADD drug. A 1995 PBS Merrow Report found that CHADD consistently distributed misleading information to hundreds of thousands of parents and teachers which exaggerated the benefits of ADD drugs, such as Ritalin. In response to this report, the Drug Enforcement Administration put a stop to CHADD's efforts to relax controls on Ritalin, and the US Department of Education withdrew videos which were created by CHADD as educational tools for teachers and parents.

Take Your Health Out of Corporate Hands

It's time to start listening to scientists that are not backed by a multi-million dollar drug company agenda. Disorders such as ADHD are big business for pharmaceutical companies feeding off the distress of uninformed parents. You have the power to educate yourself and take your family's health into your own hands. Talk to an appropriate health practitioner today.

The ADHD Epidemic: Food Allergies and Children

Children Suffer Most for Changes in American Diet

James Braly, M.D., graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1970 and pushed for a deeper understanding of food as an integral element of optimal performance for Olympians and as a mechanism for illness, particularly among children. In his book The Essential Guide to Uncovering Food Allergies: And Achieving Permanent Relief  (2008) Braly writes that “of all people, children show most clearly that our twenty-first-century diets and lifestyles are resulting in more and more food allergies and sensitivities. And along with those allergies go a wide range of childhood illnesses and other conditions...” (56) One of which is ADHD.

3 Surprising statistics about ADHD

  • 1990: around 750,000 American children were diagnosed with ADHD.
  • 2008: an estimated 3 million children were diagnosed with ADHD.
  • 1/3 or more ADHD children will grow up to be ADHD adults

*statistics from “The Essential Guide to Uncovering Food Allergies: And Achieving Permanent Relief” by Dr. James Braly, 2008

13 Symptoms Watch

1. inattention, easily distracted

2. antisocial behavior and emotional problems (depression, anxiety, irritability etc.)

3. hyperactivity

4. chronic insomnia

5. headaches

6. seizures/fits

7. abdominal pain or discomfort

8. chronic rhinitis (nonseasonal)

9. frequent sinus and middle ear infections

10. leg aches (“growing pains”), joint pain

11. skin rashes

12. mouth ulcers

13. dark circles under eyes

How is ADHD most commonly diagnosed?

Dr. Braly points out in his book that “There is no laboratory or clinical test available yet that definitively diagnoses the condition; a diagnosis is based on observations of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity so serious they impair a child's ability to function.” (56) For all the talk of the importance of biochemical testing in determining diagnosis, it seems surprising that a mere observation is information enough to throw additional chemicals (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall) at the problem. Of course, diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medications means more money in the doctors pocket, and an ADHD epidemic means dollar signs for pharmaceutical companies. For plenty of reasons, the role of food allergies and chemical-food-additive sensitivities in children with ADHD remains, in Dr. Braly's words, “largely ignored.” (57)

Food Allergy testing and ADHD: A Simple, Cost-Effective, and Scientific Solution

The most comprehensive food allergy diagnostic tool is the ELISA blood test, which examines the bodies reaction to 96 different potential food allergens, including gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and peanuts. This simple test also allows health professionals to efficiently check for the severity of allergies, ranging from IgE (most severe), IgA (moderate) and IgG (least severe). This test can quickly and precisely point to exactly which foods may be causing such a severe reaction in a child.

A Call to Action

If your child has ADHD, speak to the appropriate health practitioner about a food allergy test. ADHD medications are potentially harmful, and usually only effective in the short-term. Don't be another tally in the pharmaceutical companies profit margin. Take control of your health today.

Surprising Truth about ADHD

This may sound like a strange analogy, but Dr. Doris Rapp, environmental medicine and allergy specialist, often compares children who suffer from food allergies to barrels.

Barrel

Child

Specific fluid capacity

Specific food allergy capacity

Spills when overfull

Spills (with symptoms) when overfull

Capacity does not change day-by-day

Capacity can change day-by-day depending on exposure level, type and general physical/emotional health


8 ADHD Symptoms: Once the barrel is overfull, these symptoms may appear.

1. red ear lobes

2. dark circles under their eyes

3. glazed eyes

4. behavioral swings

5. inattention, restlessness, distractibility

6. aggression

7. withdrawn, disinterested behavior 

8. difficulties learning language, diagnosis of dyslexia

In a nutritional disorder study review conducted by Bobner et. al, they state “Millions of dollars are spent annually on special education programs for children whose behavior prevent them from participating in the regular school setting despite average or above average intellectual capacity. A growing body of research indicates that some of these behavioral disorders are related to nutritional problems.”

Why don't healthcare professionals take a closer look at nutrition? Delayed reaction allergies to nuts, dairy, eggs, soy and processed foods are taking a huge toll on our public education system and family dynamics. If your child suffers from ADHD or ADD, take a second look at their diet.