Eleven percent of children (20% of all boys) are diagnosed with ADHD. Most are on ADHD medication. Parents are told that ADHD is chronic and lifelong. And, they are told that drugs are the “best chance” to get kids on track. Did you know that side effects include psychosis and death?
When a child receives a diagnosis of ADHD, it’s hard for parents to deal with the emotional repercussions. In addition, it is hard to sort out the mass of information. However, there is one message that will be coming through loud and clear from doctors, teachers, psychiatrists, and practitioners — and that’s:
“You should get him on ADHD medication immediately!”
To use ADHD medication or not, that’s the big question
An ADHD diagnosis is particularly prone to this knee-jerk response from professionals who are so convinced these children have a genetic disorder that they have called off the search for a better understanding of the underlying conditions. Sadly, our society has become conditioned to trust the physicians and jump to a pill for the ‘quick fix.’
Of course, conventional medicine is a powerful tool, and certainly the best place to start if you have a broken leg or a heart attack. However, it falls short against a more nuanced disorder like ADHD. Parents will be told that ADHD is complex in nature, possibly a result of genetic, psychological, and other unknown factors. In general, however, allopathic doctors do not address the wide range of physical symptoms often shared by kids with this disorder, such as:
- allergies and asthma
- chronic illness
- gastrointestinal distress
- food sensitivities
- yeast overgrowth
- leaky gut syndrome
- malnutrition and obesity
- adrenal fatigue
- hormone imbalances
- sleep disturbances
- skin conditions, including eczema
- Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder (PANS and PANDAS)
As a psychotherapist who has worked for over a decade in mainstream medicine, I empathize with parents seeking a quick fix with ADHD medication. However, I feel it is important for parents to look deeper to search for underlying causes. In addition, to consider the results that parents are seeing with holistic approaches and dietary changes.
What you won’t hear from a conventional doctor
For every medication, there is a natural plant or remedy that can achieve the same result without side effects.
Our emotions are largely governed by our intestinal system. There is more serotonin in our bowels than in our brains.
Bear in mind
Every child is unique. A well thought out integrative treatment plan needs to be tailored to each child’s specific immunologic, digestive, and metabolic conditions. So, find physicians and practitioners who will listen to you and conduct a thorough investigation. You will most likely need a team or different practitioners.
Changes can take time. Move slowly but steadily with dietary changes and protocols.
Treatment can be expensive. You are not letting your child down if you can’t afford the most expensive therapies. Check with special needs associations about the Department of Education services, government subsidies, financial aid, and therapists who provide sliding scales. You may also have to make lifestyle changes.
Focus on love, patience, and hard work. Know that the most important therapy takes place at home.
Trust your gut! You know your child best. Your intuition is the best guide.
Important first steps
- Look for a qualified naturopath or integrative MD in your area who specializes in ADHD and related disorders. Google Naturopathic (ND), Defeat Autism Now (DAN), Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (MAPS) physician, Functional Medicine, or Integrative Medical Doctor (MD) practitioners in your area.
- Do your research. Have a list of questions for your selected doctor. Ask for a complete metabolic workup including blood, urine and fecal testing. Also request a food sensitivity test (IgG) or ALCAT, Organic Acids Test to determine nutritional deficiencies.
- Read the books and scientific journal articles most of your doctors aren’t reading.
- Continue with mainstream therapies like OT and PT, behavioral plans, and psychotherapy. Also investigate other modalities such as acupuncture, craniosacral, brain balance therapies, and so on. Biomedical treatment enhances the effects of other therapies.
Our children deserve a healing-oriented approach. One that, considers the whole person — body, mind, and spirit. In fact, the best results come from tailor-made therapies, both conventional and alternative. Good medicine should be based on good science, be inquiry-driven, and be open to new paradigms. Therefore, we need a system that promotes prevention of illness as well as a healthier treatment of disease. So, I urge parents to consider natural, effective interventions whenever possible.
To learn more about how to treat our children without mind altering chemicals, read my award winning book Healing without Hurting. Investigate the 101 ways to treat ADHD, Apraxia and Autism Spectrum Disorders Naturally and Effectively Without Harmful Medications.