Over Medicating the Future generation

adhd

I have not written a blog post in a while but would like to begin writing again with one of my favorite and passionate subjects, PEDIATRICS. 

I was lucky enough to have one of the best and very knowledgeable mentors in school. She inspired me more and more everyday through her teachings. At my Chiropractic school clinic I was able to intern with her and watch the many ways Chiropractic would change a kid’s life. I would see such progress and changes with every patient she had and I wanted to make sure that I would make a difference in every child’s life that I would see in my future practice. It is disappointing to see that there are so many childhood diseases and disorders out there. I am shocked at the rate of how many kids are being diagnosed with speech delay, ADHD, and autism. Even some therapists themselves are surprised at the new alarming increases in rates. Over diagnosis leads to over medicating. Big pharma wins again!

ADHD is a hot topic among parents. It was called ADD before but was changed to include the hyperactivity disorder.

What is ADHD? It stands for Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. A disorder that the CDC claims is affecting a huge number of children. The criteria to diagnosis ADHD includes:

-inability to focus

-fidgeting and squirming

-impulsive behavior

“Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are three main signs of the condition in kids of any age, according to the NIH” (Madell).

Did you know that some of those signs are typical child like behavior?

All of a sudden a child doesn’t pay attention in a class and they are slapped with a label of ADHD. Interestingly enough the quiet kids who are sitting down in their chairs are an example of best behavior but they may be actually the ones who have a problem. The NIH states that “The NIH reports that it’s easy for parents and even teachers to mistake ADHD for other problems. Toddlers who are sitting quietly and behaving in preschool may actually not be paying attention. Children who are hyperactive might just have disciplinary problems” (Madell). Did you know that “about half of preschoolers with ADHD were taking medication for ADHD, and about 1 in 4 were treated only with medication” (CDC). PRESCHOOLERS ARE ON MEDICATION? This is a HUGE problem! You can tell how disappointed I am at our system. You put a toddler on drugs from an early age and expect them to be on them for their whole life. This creates a bigger problem. What about the body and the mind that is receiving these drugs for so many years? Side effects of these drugs? Liver damage? It’s an easy way out. Slap a label on, prescribe a drug, and the issue is solved.

There have been increasing cases of ADHD in kids over the years.  CDC states that, “The first national survey that asked parents about ADHD was completed in 1997. Since that time, there has been a clear upward trend in national estimates of parent-reported ADHD diagnoses. It is not possible to tell whether this increase represents a change in the number of children who have ADHD, or a change in the number of children who were diagnosed. Perhaps relatedly, the number of FDA-approved ADHD medications increased noticeably since the 1990s, after the introduction of long-acting formulations” (CDC). We need to ask ourselves why these changes are happening and could there be possible misdiagnosis? “It is possible to misdiagnose a child with ADHD because most toddlers will exhibit a lack of focus, excessive energy, and impulsivity at different times” (Madell). The criteria for diagnosing this disorder is very broad and similar to how regular school age children act. When I went to school I don’t remember having kids in my class that had these problems. Today if you walk into a classroom I am sure you will find not just one but several kids diagnosed with ADHD. Why is the United States so different than other countries? Why do WE have the highest rates of ADHD in our children?  “In the United States, at least 9 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5 percent” (Wedge). This is a big difference!

So the criteria to diagnose a child with ADHD includes being impulsive, jumping around, and not wanting to sit still, but these are also behaviors that are awknowledged to be normal toddler behavior? “‘Toddler impulsivity can get a little nutty,” says Michele Kambolis, a child and family therapist in Vancouver. “But while these changes may seem crazy to you, the biting, kicking, hitting, and sudden shifts of feelings are all normal at this age.” The explosion of brain development that comes around 18 months brings a new self awareness and desire for independence, Kambolis explains” (Carter). These are all typical toddler behaviors. We as a society and as parents need to question the statistics and ask many questions of why?! Why are so many children in the United States diagnosed with not only ADHD, speech delay, and autism. Many therapists say that the autism spectrum is so broad that sometimes kids are borderline and just get the autism diagnosis. There is a huge divide between that needs to be closed. There are other ways such as nutrition, Chiropractic, therapy, and other alternative approaches that can be utilized before giving kids so much medication. We want the future generations to be healthy, but we are slowly killing them by over over medicating. You, as a parent, know your child much better than anyone else. Take the time to listen, to observe, and make sure that your child is not one of the victim’s of over diagnosis or over prescribed medication.

Sources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_152545.html

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/research.html

http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/toddlers#RecognizingADHD1

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/suffer-the-children/201203/why-french-kids-dont-have-adhd

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/688.html

http://www.todaysparent.com/toddler/toddlers-bad-behaviour-normal/

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