Monday, January 9, 2012

What the doctors and teachers may not tell you when recommending medicating your ADD / ADHD child

I'm pissed off! I am pissed off because parents and educators are hurting children and they may not even realize it. This post is written to change that.  

If you are a parent or educator who is allowing a child you know to be drugged because they have an ADD / ADHD "disorder" you could be responsible for receiving short-term gains in exchange for long-term detrimental effects.  

Drugging children has well-known risks which I share below, but now there's another to add to list as a parent / friend just informed me. Schools had convinced her to drug her son providing all sorts of evidence from doctors and others that this was best for her child. The risks were not presented. Fortunately, she eventually realized something was very wrong with the path down which schools were leading her child and she pulled him out of school so he could own his learning and have a happy and successful life.

Unfortunately, the damage may already have been done.
I was not given a list of this as a side effect and I may have condemned him to an adulthood of trials and pain. Doctors play down rare side effects just as well as educators. Children are statistics not people.
This mother shared what she just learned.
Did you know that a study last year indicated that there is a possible correlation between stimulant use (including ritalin and adderal) and parkinson's disease. Why is this important? My barely 20 year old son was given a tentative diagnosis yesterday of early onset Parkinson's disease (onset under 50). His only known risk factor having been prescribed Ritalin and risperdal before the age of 10. We will look for an early onset doctor and PUSH for more research to save other children from this debilitating disease. My focus changed yesterday!
Fortunately, there is at least one group that is trying to get information to parents. It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to deeply research this decision. Once they do it will be crystal clear that if you allow children to be drugged without standing up and sharing the numerous alternatives that can pursued instead, you may very well be condemning that child to serious long term effects which not only include Parkinsons but also include:

Effect on the developing brain — Some researchers are concerned that the use of drugs such as Ritalin in children and teens interferes with normal brain development.

Psychiatric problems — Stimulants for ADD/ADHD can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of hostility, aggression, anxiety, depression, and paranoia. People with a personal or family history of suicide, depression, or bipolar disorder are at a particularly high risk, and should be carefully monitored when taking stimulants.

Potential for abuse — Stimulant abuse is a growing problem, particularly among teens and young adults. College students take them for a boost when cramming for exams or pulling all-nighters. Others abuse stimulant meds for their weight-loss properties. If your child is taking stimulants, make sure he or she isn’t sharing the pills or selling them.

Heart-related problems — ADD/ADHD stimulant medications have been found to cause sudden death in children and adults with heart conditions. The American Heart Association recommends that all individuals, including children, have a cardiac evaluation prior to starting a stimulant. An electrocardiogram is recommended if the person has a history of heart problems. Unfortunately that didn’t happen in the case of this child:
The day after Christmas 2010, a grandfather discovered his 8 year old grandson dead in bed. The child was on Adderall, the prescribing physician missed an underlying heart murmur, the parents and grandparents under informed on proper use, the school and classroom teacher pushed for the child to remain on drugs after the father's resistance, when he became the primary caregiver. Evidence indicates that children on Medicaid are more likely to be prescribed than otherwise. This was also the case.

Parents or educators who do not intervene are responsible for hurting children if they are not trying options that don’t involve medicating first.  Pediatrician Lawrence Diller says that non-drug interventions value engagement with the child; they require more time, more involvement by adults and initially cost more money. Medical and educational systems value efficiency. Parents generally value engagement but if the treating systems only offer pills, parents will surely take them over no treatment.

Parents and teachers if your not sure what you can do instead of drugging children, here are some ideas.
As with most things in America, money factors rule. But a society that chooses to cope by using drugs, in the long term, does so at its own peril.
-Lawrence Diller, M.D., Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrician, Author, UCSF Clinical Faculty

If you know a child who is being drugged, they and their parents should know the risks. If you don't want to tell them, just give them this article and save a child.

If you want to join the conversation you can do so here on my Facebook page or here on my page for parents, educators, and students interested in discussing innovative learning opportunities that provide a brand new type of learning environment outside of traditional school options.

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