Alternatives to Drugging Children, the Facts
Citizens Commission on Human Rights does not give medical or legal advice. However, medical studies show that underlying, undiagnosed physical problems can manifest as unwanted behavior or so-called “psychiatric” or behavioral symptoms. Parents need to know the alternatives to mind-altering damaging drugs.
Dr. Sydney Walker III, a psychiatrist and neurologist, wrote that labeling a child with a mental disorder “is a danger to ill children whose true diagnoses remain undiscovered and untreated. Most important, however, the DSM [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] is dangerous because doctors are using the book as a substitute for clinical judgment and diagnostic skills. If a doctor tells you that your child has a ‘DSM diagnosis’ of ADHD…find another doctor who relies on real medical knowledge and evaluation rather than on this diagnostic cookbook.”
He pointed out that you “need to find out what’s causing the symptoms, otherwise, you’re just sticking on more Band-Aids.”
Common causes of the symptoms of so-called “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” or “ADHD” are poor reading and math skills requiring tutoring, and educational basics, including phonics, reinforced. Environmental toxins, allergies, nutritional deficiencies, and other easily detectable and treatable physical conditions can also be a source of the behavioral or learning problem.
Allergies: Solvents and cleaning agents, aerosol sprays, and industrial chemicals can affect behavior. Gary Oberg, M.D., President of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, says that these as well as “chemicals in food and tap water, carbon monoxide, diesel fumes… can cause symptoms of brain dysfunction which may lead to an inaccurate diagnosis….” Allergic reactions can also come from trees, weeds, grass, mold, cats, dogs, or dust and dust mites.
It is, therefore, important to find a medical doctor that will conduct a thorough physical examination to first determine what underlying physical condition may be causing any unwanted behavior or emotion, including, but not limited to testing for:
- Lead- or pesticide-poisoning
- Thyroid conditions
- Early-onset diabetes
- Heart disease
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Head injuries or tumors
- Vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies
- Mercury exposure
Diet: The Washington D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) cited 17 controlled studies in a 1999 report that found diet adversely affects children’s behavior, sometimes dramatically.
The Feingold Approach is a doctor-designed, extensively researched elimination diet that carefully cuts out synthetic additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and dyes/colorings from a child’s diet. Studies show children significantly improve when additives and preservatives are withdrawn from their diet.
Intelligent, Gifted and Bored: Scores of children are also very intelligent and gifted, but faced with a non-stimulating curriculum, are bored. Ty C. Colbert, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, says, “Creative, intelligent children often have trouble concentrating in school. Goal-oriented children have a rough time focusing unless a specific challenging goal is outlined because they much more quickly, and to a greater degree, feel…[bored].” The real test is “How much attention can a child give to what he or she likes doing?”
Discipline: Dr. Walker also warned that drugging a child because his or her behavior is unacceptable, sends the child the wrong message: “One of the greatest sins of doctors who label normal children hyperactive is that they are telling children, in effect, ‘You’re not responsible for your behavior.’ In addition, they are telling parents that simple discipline won’t work, because their children have brain disorders that prevent them from behaving. Excusing out-of-control behaviors in a normal, healthy child simply causes more such behaviors—and the range of behaviors that are being attributed to hyperactivity and attention deficits, and which can thus be excused by children as out of their control—borders on the ludicrous.”
Exercise: The December 2005 issue of The Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport & Exercise reported that exercising rather than antidepressants relieves symptoms of “depression.”
Education: Renowned educator Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld says that psychology based teaching methods create “reading disability and dyslexia.” Children “know that something terrible is being done to them, but they don’t know how it is being done. And so they become angry and frustrated and their behavior reflects their hatred of school.”
He says, “all of this could have been avoided had the child been taught to read with intensive, systematic phonics….” He advises parents to remove their children from schools that use psychological curricula and “put them in private schools or teach them at home. Parents still have the freedom to take matters into their own hands. If they don’t, then it is the children who will suffer.”
Communication: Parents act out of a strong desire to do what is best for their child; the child doesn’t always understand this. But truthfully, there is no barrier as long as parents are frank and have honest communication with their children, where both sides understand each other and can agree.