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No More Ritalin : Treating ADHD Without Drugs; Dr. Mary Ann Block
The A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. Diet: A Comprehensive Look at Contributing Factors and Natural Treatments for Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, by Rachel Bell, et al
The Myth of the A.D.D Child: 50 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion, by Thomas Armstrong
Ritalin-Free Kids : Safe and Effective Homeopathic Medicine for Add and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems, by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, et al
The Natural Approach to Attention Deficit
Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD...A New, Non-Drug,
ADD (and ADHD) is a baffling and frustrating disorder not only for those who have the condition, but also for their loved ones and our nation's dedicated doctors who attempt to treat it.
The frustration among physicians is due to the fact that science has not yet identified the cause or causes of ADD. Thus, the subjects of cause, and therefore a precisely appropriate treatment for the condition are still two very large question marks.
A prominent neurologist states, "The more you study hyperactivity or ADD, the less certain you are as to what it is, or whether it is a thousand different situations all called by the same name." (5)
"No single cause has yet been identified for ADHD. In fact, ADHD will probably one day prove to be an umbrella term for a number of associated disorders." (3)
"There is no identified cause specific to ADD... We are left with the possibility that ADD may be a catch-all condition." (13)
"The cause of ADD and ADHD is not known, but structural abnormalities have been ruled out. The leading suspect appears to be problems with neurotransmitters, possibly associated with decreased activity or stimulation in the upper brainstem and frontal midbrain. There is also suspicion that toxins, environmental problems, or neurologic immaturity could be causative factors." (8)
There are many theories as to ADD's cause, but as yet no facts. This explains why practically all physicians in the U.S. currently attempt to simply mask patients' symptoms of the disorder with powerful drugs, as their only alternative.
The problem with drug treatment of ADD, however, are the frequent and dangerous side effects they produce. More on that in a moment.
"The American Psychiatric Association lists fourteen signs, of which at least eight must be present for a child to be officially classified as ADD. These fourteen signs are:
1. Often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated.
2. Having Difficulty remaining seated when required to do so.
3. Being easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
4. Having difficulty awaiting turn in gams or group activities.
5. Often blurting out answers before questions are completed.
6. Having difficulty in following instructions.
7. Having difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
8. Often shifting from one uncompleted task to another.
9. Having difficulty playing quietly.
10. Often talking excessively.
11. Often interrupting or intruding on others.
12. Often not listening to what is being said.
13. Often forgetting things necessary for tasks or activities.
14. Often engaging in physically dangerous activities
without considering possible consequences. (8)
Here is another point to consider: "Official guidelines for evaluating ADD symptoms are vague and open to interpretation - yet they lead to an all-or-nothing diagnosis. In all the behaviors listed by the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association) under ADD, the word often is used to describe behavior that has become a problem. How useful is this?" (13)
Millions of parents across the United States are virtually frantic over the fact that not only have their children been diagnosed as having ADD, but that the prescribed treatment usually consists of powerful stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Cylert.
As a result, many such parents have the constant, gnawing, and disturbing sense of feeling trapped within a very bad situation:
"If I don't avail my child of these prescribed drugs...what else can I do that will help? If I keep my child on the drugs, I'm forced to watch the frequent side effects taking their toll...on my child's health, and on the peace within my family!"
What are some of these drugs' side effects?
Several short term effects could be the following: "Ritalin rebound", loss of appetite and resulting weight loss, insomnia, headaches, stomachaches, drowsiness, potential liver damage, facial tics, and a "sense of sadness", to mention just a few.
The Downside of Ritalin
"Ritalin as a Recreational Drug: A recently identified
drawback of Ritalin is its popularity as an illicit
drug. The annual survey, 'Monitoring the Future' by the
University of Michigan warns of a trend concerning
Ritalin abuse. From 1993 to 1994 the number of high
school seniors admitting to having abused Ritalin
doubled, representing about 350,000 students
"A 1995 Newsweek article reported that students at an upscale New York college crushed and snorted Ritalin tablets like cocaine. They described an immediate rush, as if they felt hyperactive." (16)
"Ritalin consumption has risen nearly sixfold during
the past five years. (16) One college student took
Ritalin in order to help focus his attention in his
studies. Soon he was snorting it twice daily, needing
more and more to achieve the same results. The side
effects of Ritalin addiction include strokes,
hyperthermia, hypertension, and seizures. Several deaths
have been attributed
Also, several authorities report that the long term consequences could be devastating. Equally disturbing is that for many children and adults, the common, prescribed drugs often do not work very well.
"Still there remains much we don't know about the
benefits or drawbacks of taking Ritalin, especially over
many years... Nevertheless, what published research does
exist has found the long-term value of Ritalin
disappointing. Studies beginning in the 1960s showed
that children who took stimulants for hyperactivity (the
name for ADD at the time) over several years did just
Children who have ever been on Ritalin
are not allowed into the Military and other
organizations!!!! Talk about the left hand not
matching the right hand!
The article continues, "For all the success they've had
in treating ADHD, many doctors are convinced that
Ritalin is overprescribed." Dr. Peter S. Jensen, chief
of the Child and Adolescent Disorders Research Branch of
the National Institutes of Mental Health is quoted: "I
fear that ADHD is suffering from the 'disease of the
month' syndrome." Dr. Bruce Epstein, a St.
We applaud Dr. Thomas Armstrong's warning about the
current overdiagnosis of ADD in his book The Myth of the
ADD Child. We have seen a number of children who were
high-spirited, extremely imaginative, and so precocious
that their parents were unable to keep up with their
ceaseless questions and insatiable intellectual
appetites. We have also met children who were
We have also seen a large number of children whose behaviors are very disruptive and disturbing through no fault of teachers. No one can expect a teacher in a classroom of forty active children to cope happily with the statistical average of 10 percent (four children) in her class with ADD. The amount of extra attention, discipline, and time just trying to keep these children and those around them safe is more than many teachers can handle.
Can we, however, lump all of these children together under one diagnostic category? Can a child who lashes out at his family, peers, and teachers in a violent, destructive manner and has no interest in his schoolwork fit into the same diagnostic group as a sweet, gregarious child who simply cannot pay attention in class? Conventional medicine would say that, based on their scores on standardized ADD tests, both children could indeed have ADD. Homeopathy would say that these are two distinct children whose problems and temperaments are as different as night and day. A homeopath would prescribe very different medicines for the two children, rather than giving them both stimulants.
And what about the many conditions that mimic ADD, such
as dyslexia and other learning disabilities, vision and
auditory problems, epilepsy, developmental disorders,
hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, food
allergies, lead poisoning, caffeinism, anxiety,
depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder, just to
name a few? It is essential to understand and
Unlike many other syndromes there is no physical
examination or laboratory test that definitely confirms
the diagnosis of ADD. While some psychologists and
educators use the Conners' Rating Scales, others,
including physicians, often base the diagnosis on the
subjective reports of parents and teachers. The
inconsistency of diagnostic criteria and apparent
overdiagnosing in this
The Homeopathic Approach to ADD
Each of these individuals included in this book is
unique, and it is that uniqueness that leads to the
homeopathic prescription in such a different way than
with conventional medicine. Our clinical experience,
presented in the case studies in this book, as well as
the published experience of other homeopaths, suggests
strongly that homeopathy is a useful treatment for
The Pros of Homeopathic Treatment of ADD
· Treats the whole person at the root of the problem Considered safe, without the side effects of Ritalin and other medications
· Uses natural, nontoxic medicines
· Treats each person as an individual
· Heals physical as well as mental and emotional symptoms
· Lasts for months or years rather than hours
· Is inexpensive
· Is cost-effective
Why Choose Homeopathy over Conventional Medicine for ADD?
The most common reason patients choose homeopathic treatment is the positive results they have heard from others with similar problems or because they have been referred by another physician or practitioner who is familiar with homeopathic treatment of ADD.
The patient or parents have read about homeopathy, and the philosophy and approach make more sense to them than conventional medicine.
Many adults and parents choose homeopathic treatment because it is safe, nontoxic, and effective.
Conventional medications for ADD act very briefly. A dose of Ritalin, for example, lasts only about four hours. One dose of the correct homeopathic medicine usually lasts at least four to six months.
Homeopathic medicines often result in growth spurts in children and never suppress a child's normal development. Nor do they cause such side effects as tics, appetite suppression, and insomnia.
Homeopathic medicines are very inexpensive. The only significant cost of homeopathic treatment is office visits. Once the person has responded well to the homeopathic medicine, appointments are infrequent.
Homeopathy treats the whole person. Not only do learning and behavioral problems improve, so do most or all of the other physical, mental, and emotional complaints of the person. Conventional medication for ADD works only on specific learning and behavioral problems. Sally Smith, a parent of an ADD child formerly on Ritalin, describes this phenomenon by holding up a ruler and pointing to the one-inch mark: "Ritalin makes you available to learn. You and your parents and teachers have to work on all the rest.''
Homeopathy will not make a child depressed or dull. Parents sometimes complain that, although stimulant and antidepressant medications have eliminated some of the more severe problem behaviors, their children's spirits seem dampened and they do not seem like their former selves.
Homeopathic medicines are generally given infrequently
and over limited periods of time. Conventional
medications put only a temporary lid on ADD symptoms.
Doctors often recommend that these medications be
taken for the rest of the patient's life.