We were watching Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. My daughter and I turned to one another after Alexander asked his friend how he knew this another kid, Phillip. He said he knew Phillip because they both had ADHD and the same Psychotherapist (or something along those lines).
We smiled a little because of the connection we had together over ADHD. My daughter, who was diagnosed with ADHD at age 7, saw how the diagnosis can be portrayed in a movie between kids her age – a common connection today! I thought the movie was addressing the rise in the diagnosis today – almost making fun of it. It made me sad. I often think are kids over-diagnosed and over-medicated.
Maybe I hear about ADHD more than others, this is what I do for a living. However, I am concerned with the significant increase in diagnosis and treatment today!
1 in 10 children are diagnosed with ADHD.
A 400% increase within the past 20 years.
ADHD is the #1 reason why children are medicated.
Why is this increase happening, and is medication really the answer? When Mollie was diagnosed, I wanted to understand why this was happening to her and our family. I had a lot of questions.
- Was it something I did?
- Was it genetics?
- Was it something I ate during my pregnancy?
- Was it medication or shots I received during my pregnancy?
- Was it because I delivered her early?
- Was it because I fell when I was pregnant?
- Was it our house?
My questions went on and on! And the answer could be YES to all of them. There is not ONE root cause that determines ADHD. There are many contributing factors: genetic, environmental, immune, pharmaceutical, lifestyle, diet, toxins, etc.
To be clear, I do not judge any parent that medicates their child. Medication can work, but for how long? Can you grow out of ADHD? There are short-term and long-term side effects to medication. Her doctor spent lots of time going over that with me when he handed me a prescription. I waited 7 years for my daughter to grow out of her ADHD and it only got worse, not better! I didn’t end up taking the prescription, but I knew that I had to find a solution fast. We were tired, Mollie was not doing well, and her teacher needed her in control. What a dilemma – one that many parents are faced with today!
I wanted to understand the root causes of what was happening to Mollie. I found out that her immune system was compromised, she had oxidative stress, food sensitivities, and a host of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Mollie responded to dietary, supplemention, and environmental changes with amazing results! There is NO magic pill, and it didn’t happen overnight. I would say that within a 1 year I had a new child and family!
I am not saying what we did or continue to do is “easy“! I don’t believe medication is easy with all the changes in types of medications, dosing adjustments, side effects, etc. Food and supplementation are the same process if you think about it in that way. Some people may respond to one thing and not to another. It is person specific, what we call bio-individuality! I embrace biochemistry, and am fascinated with what our bodies need and respond to individually.
Here is a great article: ADHD – Recovery without drugs. These quotes stood out to me:
“Pharmaceuticals may act as a patch and cause improvement, but they often mask signs and symptoms of underlying medical problems and thus are often ineffective. In those with co-morbid psychiatric illnesses, the medication used for ADHD (usually stimulants) can even be dangerous.”
“In looking at possible underlying medical problems as contributing factors in ADHD, the integrative approach to those with ADHD offers an individualized and comprehensive alternative approach that can either make medication unnecessary or reduce it to a temporary and adjunctive intervention.”
There is not one bio-marker (test) to determine ADHD. The diagnosis is subjective. Address the underlying causes.