In the absence of any objective medical tests to determine who has ADD or ADHD, doctors rely in part on standardized assessments and the impressions of teachers and guardians while the they administer leave little room for other causes or aggravating factors, such as diet, or environment. Hence, diagnosing a child or adolescent with ADD or ADHD is often the outcome, although no organic basis for either disease has yet to be clinically proven. Psychiatrists may then prescribe psychotropic drugs for the children without first without making it clear to parents that these medications can have severe side-effects including insomnia, loss of appetite, headaches, psychotic symptoms and even potentially fatal adverse reactions, such as cardiac arrhythmia. And yet, despite these dangers, many school systems actually work with government agencies to force parents to drug their children, threatening those who refuse with the prospect of having their children taken from the home unless they cooperate.
By Dr. Mercola
Millions of US children are taking powerful mind-altering drugs, often before they’re even old enough to attend school.
Oftentimes the side effects are far worse than the conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for which they’re prescribed, and rival illegal street drugs in terms of their dangerous risks to health.
In children, the long-term effects are often largely unknown, while in the short term, we’ve seen shocking increases in violent and aggressive acts committed by teens taking one or more psychotropic drugs.
With the problem getting increasingly worse instead of better, now is a perfect time to view Gary Null’s excellent documentary, The Drugging of Our Children.
The number of prescriptions for psychotropic drugs for children more than doubled between 1995 and 2000; the documentary details the devastating consequences of this excessive medicating of our children, with a focus on children who have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Most Children Diagnosed with ADHD Are Given Drugs Even Though Misdiagnosis Is Common
As the documentary points out, many of you reading this probably don’t remember any kids in your class at school who were taking mind-altering drugs. And that’s likely because the vast majority were not.
In contrast, one in 10 US children is now claimed to have ADHD, which is a 22 percent increase since 2003.1 About two-thirds of the children diagnosed with ADHD are on some form of prescription medication, which is unfortunate not only because there are far better (and safer) treatment options but also because many are misdiagnosed.
ADHD seems to have become more or less the catchall designation for children who do not “behave well” — and one study determined that about 20 percent of children have likely been misdiagnosed.2 That’s nearly 1 million children in the US alone.
The study found that many of the youngest children in any given grade level are perceived as exhibiting “symptoms” of ADHD, such as fidgeting and an inability to concentrate, simply because they’re younger and being compared to their older, more mature classmates.
The documentary, too, points out that an ADHD diagnosis is often made, in part, on the highly subjective observations of teachers or guardians, based on signs nearly every child will display at some point (fidgeting, easily distracted, difficulty waiting his or her turn, and so on), and with little regard for other factors that could be aggravating a child’s behavior, such as diet or home environment.
The outcome is, sadly, typically the same: another child placed on powerful drugs, of which parents are often completely unaware of the extreme side effects they carry.
We’re Talking Hard-Core ‘Class 2’ Narcotics
Drugs prescribed for ADHD are not “mild” by any means. These are hard-core, “class 2″ narcotics, regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a controlled substance because they can lead to dependence. The majority of kids diagnosed with ADHD will be prescribed these potentially dangerous drugs, the most common being Ritalin.
By definition, Ritalin stimulates your central nervous system and may certainly interfere with the delicate and complex workings of your brain and personality. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),3 side effects include:
|Sudden death in people who have heart problems or heart defects
||Stroke and heart attack
||Increased blood pressure
|New or worse behavior and thought problems
||New or worse bipolar illness
||New or worse aggressive behavior or hostility
|New psychotic symptoms (such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true, are suspicious)
||New manic symptoms
||Increased heart rate
|Slowing of growth (height and weight) in children
||Eyesight changes or blurred vision
There are reports of children committing suicide while taking the drug, and the long-term effects are unknown. Researchers have also revealed that Ritalin appears to delay puberty, an effect that was previously unknown, raising questions about what other effects may have yet to be uncovered. Another common ADHD drug is Adderall, which contains amphetamine (aka “speed”) and dextroamphetamine, and is used to reduce impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD. Like Ritalin, Adderall can cause potentially life-threatening side effects. Among them:
|Aggressive behavior or hostility
||Worse behavior or thought problems
|Psychotic symptoms (hearing voices, believing things that are not true) or manic symptoms
||Sudden death in patients who have heart problems or heart defects
||Stroke or heart attack
|Increased blood pressure and heart rate
||Seizures and eyesight changes
||Slowing of growth in children