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Weighing Nondrug Options for A.D.H.D.
NY Times ^ | June 17, 2008 | TARA PARKER-POPE

Posted on 06/17/2008 12:20:07 AM PDT by neverdem

About 2.5 million children in the United States take stimulant drugs for attention and hyperactivity problems. But concerns about side effects have prompted many parents to look elsewhere: as many as two-thirds of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D., have used some form of alternative treatment.

The most common strategy involves diet changes, like giving up processed foods, sugars and food additives. About 20 percent of children with the disorder have been given some form of herbal therapy; others have tried supplements like vitamins and fish oil or have used biofeedback, massage and yoga.

While some studies of alternative treatments show promise, there is little solid research to guide parents. That is unfortunate, because for some children, prescription drugs aren’t an option.

The drugs have been life-changing for many children. But nearly one-third experience worrisome side effects, and a 2001 report in The Canadian Medical Association Journal found that for more than 10 percent, the effects could be severe — including decreased appetite and weight loss, insomnia, abdominal pain and personality changes.

Although the drugs are widely viewed as safe, many parents were alarmed when the Food and Drug Administration ordered in 2006 that stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta carry warnings of risk for sudden death, heart attacks and hallucinations in some patients.

What about the alternatives? Last week, The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the first study of the herb St. John’s wort worked no better than a placebo to counter A.D.H.D. But the trial, of 54 children, lasted only eight weeks, and even prescription drugs can take up to three months to show a measurable effect.

But the larger issue may be that in complementary medicine, one treatment is rarely used alone, making the range of alternative remedies difficult to study. Natural...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: add; adhd; disorders; health; medicine
Hypericum perforatum (St John's Wort) for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents

Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial

Patient Voices: A.D.H.D. One of the NY Times Health Guide pages, not printer friendly

1 posted on 06/17/2008 12:20:08 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

About time! LOL!


2 posted on 06/17/2008 12:30:19 AM PDT by Tamar1973 (Catch the Korean Wave, one Bae Yong Joon film at a time!)
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To: neverdem

my parents found that a wooden spoon, flyswatter, size 12 foot, or specially made paddle worked rather effectively...


3 posted on 06/17/2008 12:46:02 AM PDT by stefanbatory
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To: neverdem

ADHD appears to be yet another of these scams driven by drug sales.


4 posted on 06/17/2008 12:49:42 AM PDT by Mr Ramsbotham (Barack Obama--the first black Jimmy Carter.)
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To: Tamar1973

Very much so. I have long been appalled at the rate in which we are dumping drugs into kids.

I don’t believe that ADHD exists. It’s simply noisy kids being noisy kids the way they have always been. I was a noisy little brat when I was in grade school.

However, the teachers and the principle felt that my condition was caused by excessive blood in the brain and stimulation of the glutus maximus by hand or paddles would draw away the excess and quiet things down.

Worked great.


5 posted on 06/17/2008 12:52:52 AM PDT by Ronin (Is there some rule that says that when an evil man gets sick, we must pretend he was saint?)
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To: stefanbatory

lol, my dad had something called a quirta, basically a whip with 2 pieces of leather at the top that looked like a snake tongue.

I burned that thing, but looking back, I deserved 100% of every lick I got lol.


6 posted on 06/17/2008 12:52:56 AM PDT by Ainast
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To: stefanbatory
And did hitting you rearrange your neural pathways, specifically the inadequately wired executive function systems? Attention Deficit Disorder is a real, inherited syndrome. It has a physical cause.

I admit it appears to be the “mental problem du jour,” but it is real and requires attention. It doesn't need to be hypermedicated to be managed, but it is something that can make your kid unhappy all the way into their adult lives if they don't know about it and compensate for it.

7 posted on 06/17/2008 2:48:15 AM PDT by GAB-1955 (Kicking and Screaming into the Kingdom of Heaven!)
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To: GAB-1955

That is true, both my son and I have it. I, however, learned it is a blessing to run at hyper- speed with thoughts careening many miles an hour. I must mentally focus when the task calls for one solitary thought per minute. I managed to make mostly A’s in college, even though it took me forever. Tried some Ritalin and it felt like my brain was walking through water. I saw signs and things along the road I had not noticed before. So, I pulled over, called the doc and said I could not take a sedative.
I excel at strategies (esp war games), multi- tasking and creative marketing themes. I can think of so many things at once, my brainstorm rating is CAT 5. LOL.


8 posted on 06/17/2008 3:17:29 AM PDT by momincombatboots (Not a journey for the feeble. (Added to the Non- sheeple list of those Not voting for Mccain))
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To: neverdem

To all:

This topic hits close to home. My youngest was having trouble in school and he went through a series of test. Of course, one of the “experts” said he needed to be medicated. When my wife and I disagreed with that, they decided to have an ocupational therapist observe him in class. During recess, she pulled him aside and did some fun testing with him. It included jumping jacks, ect to see his coordination. Later that night, the occupatioanl therapist called my wife and recommended that we have our son’s eyes tested. It ends up he was in need of vision therapy! His eyes did not focus on the same point! I think this is similar to a Lazy eye, but it was not noticable. My son went thru a couple of months of vision therapy which consisted of “games” that required him to re-train his eye muscles. He went from a C/D student to an A/B student! It turns out he was fustrated he was haing problems reading, but thought everyone saw the same way. We are very proud of him.

We were tld that this condition sometimes occurs when a toddler is more interested in walking rather than crawling. He was too busy trying to keep up with his older brother than to let his vision mature. If ANYONE is having issues with their son or daughter, I HIGHLY recommend they look on the internet for Vision Therapy. This is not a normal “practice” of all optomotrist - my son had glasses and his optmotrist did not catch this condition. Believe me, I would have this checked before I subjected my kids to drugs. Do the research, the symtoms of needing vision therapy are similar to ADHD. My wife and I are big advocates of this therapy and have spread the word. Two families we told about this have been able to help their sons.

As a side note, the academic professionals do not agree with Vision Therapy. They claim it is “Voodoo Science”. This is because they are not part of the solution and if word spreads, they are afraid of loosing control and grants.


9 posted on 06/17/2008 3:47:03 AM PDT by EngineDad (Acta non verba)
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To: All

ADHD does exist, believe me (I am a neuroscientist). That said, it is a great riddle to me why it occurred when it did, not so very long ago, and on such a wide scale. I am more a man to inquire into the causes than throwing kilos of drugs to the kids in question.
Currently I am looking into the following topics:
-in how far is it a cross-cultural phenomenon? We could learn a lot about a potential genetic background if we compare different races of people in this respect.
-when exactly did the ‘epidemic’ start?
-...and what exactly did change in our societies in a ‘concomitant’ way, together with that explosion?
I conjecture that a few phenomena could be involved, such as: a sudden rise in fooling around with ‘neurotic stimuli’, which are massively present in computer games, for instance. Bear in mind that people with a disposition towards epileptic seizures already can be ‘triggered’ by flash photography. We all are sensitive to intense and quickly changing light impulses, rapidly appearing intense images on a screen. So what could be the impact of playing violent games for hours on end? My instincts tell me: not good, not good at all. (Incidentally, I am against early morning TV viewing by young children. They are still learning how to process dreams and getting used to normal daily rhythms. TV is highly disturbing in this respect, and I don’t care at all whether hundreds of millions of parents think otherwise).
Kids need tender, patient, loving care; and playing a board game with the entire family in the evening, instead of endlessly watching garbage and commercials is crucial in bringing up mature, responsible, and thoughtful adolescents.
Just my two cents.


10 posted on 06/17/2008 4:22:46 AM PDT by Apollo 13
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To: stefanbatory

Yes, and all that discipline and they still did not raise a person who could gather thinking skills to understand a disease.

Disgusts me when people act like it is a DISCIPLINE problem. Yes, there are problem children, YES, they need more guidance than some kids, but true ADD is not just discipline. So when people blame the parents, I just say, “
Wow, how lucky for my kids that only one out of three gets the ‘bad parenting’.


11 posted on 06/17/2008 4:40:44 AM PDT by Southerngl
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To: Ronin
...It’s simply noisy kids being noisy kids the way they have always been.

I would rephrase your post, this way:

It’s simply usually noisy kids BOYS being noisy kids BOYS, the way they have always been. It's what you get when you mix testosterone with unlimited energy!


12 posted on 06/17/2008 4:46:30 AM PDT by WVKayaker ( "Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome..." I. Asimov)
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To: stefanbatory
"my parents found that a wooden spoon, flyswatter, size 12 foot, or specially made paddle worked rather effectively..."

Sounds to me like they were applying one of the techniques that this article has deemed to be effective, biofeedback.

13 posted on 06/17/2008 5:43:24 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage (Planting trees to offset carbon emissions is like drinking water to offset rising ocean levels)
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To: Mr Ramsbotham

ADHD is real - but is grossly overdiagnosed. There is even a clinical test for it, which is the method by which my doubts were assuaged.

Reducing carbohydrates and increasing the intake of protein are important in a holistic approach to overcoming a true case of ADHD. The dopaminergic system’s deficiencies cause carb cravings, while protein helps solve some of the problems with the system.

The available pharmacological aids are helpful when very tightly titrated, and coupled with “conditioning” therapy, where the affected child is taught to recognize when they are focusing effectively on their task. Using this method, the drugs become superfluous after a while, and can be discontinued once the child has learned to counter the effects of ADHD by focusing their concentration.

The drugs are heavily over-prescribed for kids who have been given a “behavioral diagnosis”, commonly by the recommendation of their teachers, with compliance to the recommendation by their doctor. 40mg of Ritalin is a HUGE dosage, but isn’t uncommon when the basis for “diagnosis” is a teacher’s observations of the child’s behavior.

The clinical test (which measures cortical slowing under a variety of conditions) has shown that as many as 50% of children given a “behavioral diagnosis” are misdiagnosed.

BTW - I am the father of 2 kids who were diagnosed, treated pharmaceutically and with feedback therapy, and no longer take any pharmaceuticals for ADHD. Their behavioral issues were eliminated as they gained control over their focus, and they greatly enhanced their ability to perform their school work. Neither has any special actions to take, outside of maintaining a healthy diet.


14 posted on 06/17/2008 5:55:59 AM PDT by MortMan (Those who stand for nothing fall for anything. - Alexander Hamilton)
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To: MortMan

“ADHD is real - but is grossly overdiagnosed. There is even a clinical test for it, which is the method by which my doubts were assuaged.

The drugs are heavily over-prescribed for kids who have been given a “behavioral diagnosis”, commonly by the recommendation of their teachers, with compliance to the recommendation by their doctor. 40mg of Ritalin is a HUGE dosage, but isn’t uncommon when the basis for “diagnosis” is a teacher’s observations of the child’s behavior.”

My wife has worked as the office RN for a great FP for over 30 years. He has had hundreds of boys brought to him by parents demanding a diagnosis of ADHD often because of teachers not having the skills to handle young boys or due to lazy parents.

In those 30 years, he with the help of an excellent child pysch have made about 6 diagnosises of ADHD from the hundreds of boys brought for the diagnosis. Two Pediatric friends with similiar long term practice have similiar low diagnosis. The rest were highly intelligent and energized boys.

With this doctor and the others, medicine has been used with good results and was needed with the real ADHD kids, teens and young adults.

This doctor and his fellow doctor friends, who refuse to rush to diagnosis ADHD have a common comment. They would have been diagnosised as ADHD kids when they were growing up as they were above average in intelligence, got bored in class and many home situations and acted out until they developed coping skills to handle these situations.


15 posted on 06/17/2008 8:20:22 AM PDT by Grampa Dave ( Kerry was a Uber Liberal, Hussein ObamaMessiaHamas makes Kerry look like Jesse Helms!)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Eyes Bloodshot, Doctors Vent Their Discontent

Ozone Layer to the Rescue? [Ozone hole recovery will help fight GW]

The Aria of Prince Algorino

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

16 posted on 06/17/2008 9:47:08 AM PDT by neverdem (I'm praying for a Divine Intervention.)
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To: neverdem

Medications in small doses can be beneficial, but should be supplemented with diet (staying away from sugar, IMO), yoga (especially headstands, increase brain flow to the head), other excercise, and meditation (basically practicing focus). Neurofeedback may also be an option.

Medication can provide proper motivation to pursue non pharmacologic treatment as it gives a sense of what ‘normal’ is. Don’t let the anti med folks scare you, just be careful in young children. There are plenty of adults who would be better off on low dose adderral (XR) or other than on their 2-3 cups of coffee a day.


17 posted on 06/17/2008 9:51:41 AM PDT by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/Ron_Paul_2008.htm)
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To: Apollo 13
Look up ADHD's close cousin similar symptoms cousin C.A.P.D. for the reason for the epidemic. C.A.P.D. or Central Auditory Processing Disorders can produce similar behavioral issues but are of a completely different origin. Ritalin will not work for this and makes matters worse actually as it floods an already damaged sensory processing system.

So why the sudden epidemic? Because of such triggers as X-Box, Nitendo, HD TV, or anything that has rapid sensory bombardments. It can also be visual in nature. I'm 50 years old and it was thought I had ADHD. Now I realize my sensory processing system is shot and it points to major Vestibular dysfunction. It's to the point I have Myoclonic seizures as a result. The condition have always been amongst us. The triggers however have not. The triggers created the appearance of an epidemic.

The main problem is doctors {especially shrinks} are very quick to say ADHD and do not do the necessary testing for C.A.P.D. I think ADHD is real but not near as common as believed. I think C.A.P.D. is real and is belived to be a result of normal childhood issues such as Chronic Ear Infections, sinus allergies, etc. Thus it is far more common. As for treatment? Pretty simple. Treat the primary condition doing the damage such as the ear infection or allergies and try to limit further damage.

18 posted on 06/17/2008 10:08:47 AM PDT by cva66snipe (Three Blind Rats. Three Blind Rats, See How They Run. See How They Run. Hillbomacain)
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To: Apollo 13
ADHD does exist, believe me (I am a neuroscientist). That said, it is a great riddle to me why it occurred when it did, not so very long ago, and on such a wide scale. I am more a man to inquire into the causes than throwing kilos of drugs to the kids in question.

I love doctors like you.

A pediatric neurologist saved my son a lifetime of hell and saved my sanity. Found out my kid was a Celiac. Within two weeks, I had a new kid. After two months he was normal in every way.

I fought my a$$ off to get to the bottom of the problem. Even homeschooled him for 7 years to keep him from driving the teachers crazy.

He's 14 now and it's all paid off. He's happy, calm, A student, athletic, funny, moral and goal oriented on life. Never once took behavior meds.

He did develop Type 1 diabetes and had to get over terrible malnutrition caused by CD, but he's thriving. (A bit shorter than he would've been, but that doesn't bother him one bit.)

Please don't stop what you're doing. So many families need doctors like you.

19 posted on 06/17/2008 10:33:17 AM PDT by Marie (Why is it that some people believe everything that happens is the will of G-d - except Israel?)
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To: neverdem
Side effects of these drugs can be extremely serious and dangerous and they are prescribed far too often. Any study done on alternatives to drugs should be looked at with great skepticism as once you get to checking, very small doses have been given or in the instance sited here, it was a very short period of time.

Any prescription drugs should only be prescribed after all other alternatives have been exhausted. The consequences are just too great not to go the most conservative route possible.

I know of a young man, now in jail and awaiting sentencing that had every possible drug plus combinations for his whole teen years. The young man is barely 5 ft. tall. The doctors need to be held accountable but they will not be. If their drugs had helped him in other ways it would be one thing but there have been NO positive effects from the drugs.

20 posted on 06/17/2008 12:46:29 PM PDT by Conservativegreatgrandma
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To: MortMan
Reducing carbohydrates and increasing the intake of protein are important in a holistic approach to overcoming a true case of ADHD.

Atkins works! : )

21 posted on 06/17/2008 3:12:25 PM PDT by Tamar1973 (Catch the Korean Wave, one Bae Yong Joon film at a time!)
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To: Apollo 13
I conjecture that a few phenomena could be involved, such as: a sudden rise in fooling around with ‘neurotic stimuli’, which are massively present in computer games, for instance.

I do believe it's been around longer than that. My wife had a student in her first year of teaching that today would be call ADHD, I think they just called him hyperactive. That was in 1971-72. His "medication" consisted of a big thermos of strong coffee, to be administered when needed. It worked, most of the time. The other times I think he was being the typical 11 year old boy. Given his home/family situation, poor as church mice, I doubt he got a lot of TV time, even in black and white). I know the one time I interacted with him, he wasn't either hyper or "down", he was just being a brat. he paid for it by having to stay on the bus while the rest of class cavort around a park and zoo. However he was told that if he didn't straighten up, he'd miss the tour of the computer center, something he really wanted to see. He straightened up, albeit with some difficulty, and got to see the computer center. (The IBM 360 room sized computer). I've heard that he grew up OK.

22 posted on 06/17/2008 3:51:34 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: El Gato
One shrink I know uses a caffeine pill on kids he suspects ADHD and observes the child for about 30-45 minutes for change in behavior. It's harmless yet tells him pretty much if ADHD or ADD is likely or is it something else.

Before I took any kid suspected of being ADD ADHD to a shrink though I'd see an Audiologist or Speech Pathologist for sensory processing disorders testing first. In doing so you get a pretty well uninfluenced opinion away from Big Pharm as they can not write prescriptions.

BTW this is not the same thing as deafness either. But these disorders can wreak havoc on some very primative but powerful responses by the brain which is programned for self preservation.

23 posted on 06/17/2008 5:26:52 PM PDT by cva66snipe (Three Blind Rats. Three Blind Rats, See How They Run. See How They Run. Hillbomacain)
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To: Mr Ramsbotham
ADHD appears to be yet another of these scams driven by drug sales.

I recently began work at a children's behavioral treatment center.

They are of the opinion that ADHD is a fraud, that much of the behaviors can be treated with the same approach that the Dog Whisperer Uses: first you take them on a walk (exercise) then they can focus.

Many of these youngsters need some old fashioned recess activites like Dodgeball, then they can focus.

P.S. I'm a boomer, lived all over the US as a military brat, grew up with a wide variety of kids all over the US.

Boys of my generation did NOT suffer from ADHD.

24 posted on 06/17/2008 6:13:20 PM PDT by happygrl
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To: norwaypinesavage; All

I also was not subjected to hideous government schools...a far worse punishment than any I had ever received...


25 posted on 06/17/2008 6:21:36 PM PDT by stefanbatory
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To: momincombatboots

I wanted to try Ritalin, being a major ADHD sufferer (I’ve been called everything from space cadet to the absent-minded professor). Instead I medicate myself with coffee. Fortunately not gallons of it, since I have another problem — acid reflux. However, enough to keep me alert. I can never give it up. I also forcefed myself non-fiction and writing exercises to bolster the intellect & make myself more tolerable to others.

I made up a saying: When you have ADHD, your brain has a mind of its own. Although I don’t base my whole identity on it, it does, unfortunately, control my life. Every time I find myself staring off into space or forgetting something 5 seconds (literally) after reminding myself, I get frustrated. People don’t realize how crippling it can be.

At the same time, though, as you said, it can be a blessing. My ability to think out of the box & make sudden, creative decisions or solutions has been an asset at work. Like many ADHDers, I like media, maybe because of its visuality & blending of disciplines. So far — knock on wood — my biggest fear of ending up homeless has not materialized & I’ve remained employable.

Guess when you’re stuck with lemons, you make lemonade.


26 posted on 06/17/2008 7:39:44 PM PDT by MoochPooch (I'm a compassionate cynic.)
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To: happygrl
P.S. I'm a boomer, lived all over the US as a military brat, grew up with a wide variety of kids all over the US. Boys of my generation did NOT suffer from ADHD.

My situation was pretty much the same--my father was Air Force; I went to military-sponsored schools from 1957 to 1971, where the discipline was no-nonsense, and class sizes averaged about 32 kids, with recess twice a day in the lower grades, and gym once a day in the higher. No ADHD, or anything like it. My own belief is that a better name for ADHD would be "bad child syndrome."

27 posted on 06/17/2008 9:50:37 PM PDT by Mr Ramsbotham (Barack Obama--the first black Jimmy Carter.)
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