ADHD Medications Are Controversial and Risky; Try Natural Instead
The number of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has grown rapidly over the last decade, with between 5 and 8% of all school-aged children now affected by this disease. As many as 60% of these take this disease into adulthood with them, leaving roughly 4% of all adults affected with this condition.
Boys are affected more often with ADHD than girls are, with a ratio of 3:1, although there is some indication that the numbers are starting to equalize.
There are those who question the legitimacy of an ADHD diagnosis in so many children. However, clinicians (psychiatrists, pediatricians, neurologists, clinical social workers, psychologists and school psychologists) argue that significant time, energy and effort is spent looking at a child’s physical, social, academic, behavioral, emotional and developmental function, following guidelines established by appropriate medical groups, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Medication is the first-line treatment for ADHD, and it may take weeks to get the right medication and correct dosing before a change is seen in the child’s behavior. The medications used to treat ADHD are typically Schedule II controlled substances, amphetamines that are highly addictive, with long lists of risky and dangerous side effects that carry “Black Box” warnings on packaging and in patient literature.
But do parents have a choice? Their children act up in school, causing all types of trouble, and the medication calms them so they can learn. But is it really worth the risks?
While many parents and teachers may say, “Yes, ” others are questioning both the short and long range effects of ADHD medications on the overall health of the children taking it, both now and in the future.
There is an all-natural solution, with no risks, no side effects and no short or long-term negative consequences. It doesn’t just control the symptoms of ADHD, it goes right to the cause. But before we look at that, let’s take a look at some of the more popular ADHD prescription medication solutions and their side effects.
ADHD Medication: It’s Not Just Ritalin Anymore
There used to be no choice when it came to ADHD medications – it was basically just Ritalin or a generic. Period. Now all that has changed and there are a number of other psychostimulants on the market, a fairly popular non-stimulant and other medications as well, to use when another mental disorder is present as well.
Many of the new medications have 12-hour dosing, so they are given just once a day, making it easier for the school nurse to take care of sick kids because she is no longer lunchtime dosing all the students with ADHD.
Most doctors prescribe ADHD medication at low levels to start, gradually increasing the dosage as needed, based on the child’s response to the medication. With most childhood medications, dosing is based on weight; however, this is not the case with ADHD medications.
Physicians start with one medication; if it doesn’t quite take care of all the symptoms, another one is tried until the one that works best, with the least amount of side effects, is identified.
ADHD Medications: Long-Acting Stimulants
Stimulants are routinely prescribed for ADHD symptoms because they are believed to increase the level of the brain chemical dopamine. Stimulants help to increase a child’s ability to concentrate and focus while simultaneously decreasing hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors.
There are a number of long-acting ADHD medications that fall under a once-per-day dosing schedule because they last from 8 – 12 hours, the time during which a child is in school, continuing into the after-school homework hour.
- Concerta – approved for children over the age of 6 years, this is a long-acting (12 hours) form of Ritalin.
- Adderall XR – Also approved for children over the age of 6 years, this is a long-acting form of Adderall, a popular ADHD stimulant which contains dextroamphetamine and amphetamine.
- Vyvance – the newest long-acting ADHD stimulant; it is similar to Adderall because one of its main ingredients, lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, is a derivative of one of the ingredients in Adderall.
- Daytrana – a Ritalin patch that is applied to the child’s hip. Its major “selling” point is that it can be used in children that can’t swallow pills and can be applied or taken off as needed. Since its effects linger after removal, the child’s bedtime must be taken into consideration.
- Metadate CD and Ritalin LA – long-acting forms of methylphenidate (Ritalin); the benefit of Ritalin LA is that the capsules can be opened and sprinkled on some form of food for children who can’t swallow pills.
- Focalin XR – an extended release form of Focalin that contains a derivative of methylphenidate, the main ingredient found in Ritalin.
ADHD Medications: Short-Acting Stimulants
These older ADHD medications work for a shorter period of time and require 2-3 dosages a day. While many children have been switched to the longer-acting stimulants, there is no difference in their effectiveness, only in their convenience.
Short-acting stimulants include: Ritalin (Methylphenidate HCl), Ritalin SR, Methylin Chewable Tablet and Oral Solution, Metadate ER , Methylin ER, Focalin (a short-acting stimulant with the active ingredient dexmethylphenidate hydrocholoride, found in Ritalin), Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate), Dextrostat, Adderall, Adderall (generic) and Dexedrine spansules. The main benefit of short-acting Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine is that they are available in a less expensive generic form.
ADHD Medications: Non-Stimulants
The one major non-stimulant medication used to treat ADHD is Strattera. It is generally used in children who cannot tolerate the side effects of stimulant ADHD medications. It is also used for children who suffer from anxiety in addition to ADHD.
ADHD Medications: Other
When the typical stimulants and non-stimulant ADHD medications prove unsuccessful in treating a child with ADHD, other types of medications, including antidepressants, may be prescribed, especially if the child has any additional psychiatric conditions.
ADHD Medications: Concerns About Side Effects
In addition to the fact that ADHD medications are controlled substances with the potential for addiction (in fact, often these medications are stolen from homes and sold to addicts on the street), there is a very long list of potential side effects (For a complete list of side effects, see side bar in related article, ADHD: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment With a Natural Approach).
The typical side effects of ADHD medications include loss of appetite, difficulty falling asleep, headaches, stomach pain, shakiness and wanting to withdraw from others. The typical physician response to these symptoms is either to lower the dosage or assure the parents that these symptoms will diminish over time.
Interested in a Natural Alternative?
Reading all this should make any parent jittery and nervous – six-year-olds on amphetamines? ADHD drugs that haven’t been tested for long-term effects? Medications that even the manufacturers and researchers don’t completely understand? Pretty scary stuff to be playing around with where children are concerned.
So, what can you do – resign yourself to just live with your child’s hyperactive and impulsive behavior? You know you don’t have to – there is an alternative that is safe, all natural and has no side effects.
And, not only that, it’s showing a great deal of promise in relieving the symptoms of childhood ADHD. So…what is it?
It’s chiropractic care. And we can just guess what your reaction is: “What? How can a back and neck specialist help my child with ADHD?”
We understand. But before you click out of this page, you owe it to your child to keep reading…
How Can Chiropractic Help My Child with ADHD?
The sponsors of ChooseNatural.com are chiropractors with advanced training in helping patients to heal from many different types of conditions and illnesses, including ADHD. And the really terrific thing about what they do is that they address the underlying cause of your child’s ADHD, they don’t just treat the symptoms with risky medications!
You see, our sponsors believe that ADHD symptoms are the direct result of some past trauma to your child’s head or neck. Perhaps your child had a bad fall off a bicycle or tricycle, or maybe he or she was a passenger in an automobile accident or was injured playing a sport. It might have even happened during the birth process when your baby’s head and neck were twisted and pulled. Whatever the cause, head and neck trauma often produces spinal misalignments that need to be corrected, and that’s where the chiropractor comes in.
Spinal misalignments press on nerves, nerves that travel throughout the body and carry communication between the brain and the body. When nerves are compromised in some way by a bone being out of place, this communication link is short-circuited, causing illness in the body.
A chiropractor is trained to locate and correct spinal misalignments, freeing up the nerves to work properly once again. When the misalignment is removed, the nerves are free to carry out their communication role, and often the symptoms of ADHD disappear, right along with the need for potentially risky medications!
Parents and teachers are often shocked by the effectiveness of chiropractic care in relieving the symptoms of ADHD and in seeing the child find natural relief from inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
Click here for a Choose Natural sponsor in your area.
ADHD Medication: Daniel’s Story (Told by his mother)
|Daniel was hyper right out of the womb. First it was colic, and then it became hyperactive and impulsive behaviors that scared me half to death. I never knew what he was going to do next, and felt that I had to watch him every second of the day. His boundless energy and risky behaviors exhausted me and the only relief I got was when he finally fell asleep at night. Unfortunately, I had to wake up to the same scenario the very next day.
Many of my friends said, “He’s a boy, this is what boys do.” I couldn’t buy that in its entirety because I had had brothers who never acted like that. I started to wonder if it had something to do with me.
When he started school, Daniel was a disaster in the classroom. His teacher complained that he never sat still and distracted the other children all the time. He blurted out answers and was often ill-tempered and uncontrollable. She recommended a child study team evaluation and I agreed it was time.
The child study team felt that he had many of the indicators for ADHD. They suggested that I go to the pediatrician with their recommendation that Daniel be placed on Ritalin to control his behavior, at least while he was in the classroom.
The pediatrician agreed and Daniel started taking the Ritalin. I had little knowledge of its side effects at the time, and I had always been brought up to believe that “doctor knows best, ” so it never even occurred to me to read all the patient information literature.
I started to notice that Daniel did appear to be less hyperactive while on the medication and that homework time was less of a struggle. But I also noticed that his appetite had decreased and there were times when I was talking to him that he appeared to be far away somewhere, like he was “zoned out.” The doctor assured me that this was normal and that these symptoms should resolve themselves over time.
They didn’t, and not only that, he had problems sleeping at night so now, even my downtime was no longer my own. I was miserable and so was Daniel. He also had frequent headaches and complained frequently of an upset stomach.
Finally a friend of mine suggested a chiropractor for Daniel. Chiropractic care had helped her daughter’s ADHD symptoms, and she was sure it would help Daniel’s.
I took Daniel to see Dr. Paul and noticed nearly immediately that this was working. Daniel’s behavior showed a marked improvement and he even brought home a “student of the week” award after several weeks of chiropractic care. Dr. Paul was not at all surprised, but Daniel’s pediatrician was, especially when, after about three months of care, he saw him in his office and said Daniel’s ADHD no longer required medication.
Wow…who would have thought that chiropractic care could make my son happy and ADHD-symptom free? Not me, but trust me – this is all true.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, call one of the sponsors of ChooseNatural.com and discover a way to end your child’s ADHD symptoms in a way that’s safe and natural. Your child will be glad you took this advice, and so will you!
Click here for a Choose Natural sponsor in your area.