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adhd & the meds used to treat it


Finally, the illusion that children’s behavior problems can be cured with drugs prevents us as a society from seeking the more complex solutions that will be necessary. Drugs get everyone — politicians, scientists, teachers and parents — off the hook. Everyone except the children, that is.  Dr. L. Alan Sroufe; Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development.

“There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.”  Oscar Levant

Is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) really a disease?  The truth is, there are many experts who say it is not a disease in any sense of the word.  Not to mention the numerous others who claim that at the very least, it is over-diagnosed — way over-diagnosed.  Interestingly enough, most of the people who have devoted a significant portion of their lives to finding the root cause(s) of ADHD, almost universally believe it has something to do with with diet (a subject most doctors are clueless about — HERE).  I would have to concur.  The renowned Dr. Feingold said the problem is mostly due to processed food and Food Sensitivities (GLUTEN, dairy, etc).  Hans Larsen’s Oil of Pisces site contains several peer-reviewed medical studies whose conclusion is that ADHD is nothing more than a deficiency of high quality Omega Three Fatty Acids. I think that they are both right, but probably not completely so.  We will explore all of these things and more.  But first I want to show you something very intriguing.


(Webb & Latimer 1993)

  1. Poorly sustained attention in almost all situations
  2. Diminished persistence on tasks not having immediate consequences
  3. Impulsivity, poor delay of gratification
  4. Impaired adherence to commands to regulate or inhibit behavior in social contexts
  5. More active, restless than normal children
  6. Difficulty adhering to rules and regulations

(Barkley 1990)

  1. Poor attention, boredom, daydreaming in specific situations
  2. Low tolerance for persistence on tasks that seem irrelevant
  3. Judgment lags behind development of intellect
  4. Intensity may lead to power struggles with authorities
  5. High activity level; may need less sleep
  6. Questions rules, customs and traditions
I was absolutely stunned when I saw this chart.  My wife now has proof that my problem for all these years has been undiagnosed genius.  Of course, I am kidding.  With great numbers of people, however, this is no laughing matter.  When the symptoms of a well known disorder are virtually indistinguishable from genius (or as the author refers to it, ‘giftedness‘), the potential for missed diagnosis is off the charts.  And with missed diagnosis comes treatment that may very well be 180 degrees different than what this person requires to be successfully educated — not to mention lead a successful life.

But think about it for a moment.  If greedy people can convince the American public that these characteristics listed above are symptoms of a “Disease”, everyone in the medical community benefits.  The University Research Facilities (built and funded by big government and big pharma) get more of your tax dollars to tell the world how wonderful and effective their drugs are, and doctors get over-simplified solutions to complex problems —- i.e. drugs.  Hey; why try to solve underlying problems when you have a prescription pad and pen in your pocket?   And who makes out like the biggest bandit in this happy shindig?  Everyone knows the answer to this one — the pharmaceutical companies.  But it all comes back to convincing people that they or their children have a disease — a disease that can only be addressed with drugs.

The drugs used to treat ADD / ADHD are in such great demand right now that an ongoing shortage of the medications used by the medical community for the pharmaceutical treatment of these problems has left many patients scrambling to fill their prescriptions.  These shortages are the result of an ongoing battle between drug manufacturers who value profit above all else, and the DEA (not the FDA; the DEA), which wants to slow down the Meth problem.  What did you just say?  Yes, you heard me correctly.  Believe it or not, Ritalin and other ADHD drugs are a form of METHAMPHETAMINE

Ritalin (Methylphenidate —- look at the first four letters of the drug’s name), Adderall, and other similar drugs are prescribed by physicians to combat ADHD.  Manufacturers claim that when used correctly, these medications are not addictive.  If you believe that one, I have this bridge over in Brooklyn I’d just love to sell you.  The truth is that almost half of the teenagers in drug treatment centers across the United States report having abused Ritalin / Adderall.  And there is no argument that when Ritalin is abused, it is addictive — very addictive.

According to the latest CDC statistics (2007 — yeah; I realize they are over five years old), North Carolina is the state with the highest incidence (nearly 16%), while Nevada is the lowest at between 5-6%.  Missouri comes in at almost 11%.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 million children (ages 4-17) are on drugs for the disorder, with almost half of that group on Ritilin or Meth-like meds.   Not surprisingly, boys are diagnosed almost 3 times more often than girls.    Depending upon whose stats you choose to believe, the rate of ADHD is increasing at a rate of about 5% per year.   Things, however, may be much worse than our outdated government stats are saying. 

A recent study by Dr. Craig Garfield of Northwestern University in Chicago was published in the medical journal, Academic Pediatrics.  It showed that nearly 10.5 million American kids (4-17) were diagnosed with ADHD in 2010.  That adds up to an almost incomprehensible increase of 66% in ADHD since Y2K.  But even more shocking is that the authors claim that the actual numbers are much higher.

Ritalin / Adderall are stimulants that affect the central nervous system.  Although the drug’s effects are similar to amphetamines, for those with ADHD, they may prove to be just the opposite.  Scientists know that Ritalin increases the release of dopamine in the brain.  But the truth is, no one really knows how the stuff works.  I’ve heard it said that Ritalin (speed) cranks the kids up so tight (like an over-wound watch) that it actually slows them down (the spring broke).  The “experts” say that people with ADHD have weak dopamine receptors or low amounts of dopamine in the brain, and the increase in dopamine brought on by ADHD drugs focuses their attention.  The problem is that most recreational drugs tend to work in much the same way — they increase neurotransmitters such as dopamine or serotonin.  They also tend to burn out the parts of the body where these neurotransmitters are made.  This leaves us with addicts who are unable to feel anything other than sadness and depression without the drugs. 

If you ever have a chance, google “Kurt Cobain ADHD”.  When you’re a kid and you get this drug that makes you feel that feeling, where else are you going to turn to when you’re an adult? —- Cobain’s widow Courtney Love talking about their drug use.

Ritalin and other similar drugs such as Concerta or Adderall (look how many pro athletes have been suspended lately for Adderall) are abused because of their Meth-like qualitites. This is why there are always stories of teachers, parents, day care supervisors, nurses, etc, stealing little kid’s Ritalin.   Because Ritalin is a form of Meth, it suppresses appetite and suppresses fatigue.  It gives people a boost that is said to last for hours, providing elevated awareness and pleasure (the word actually used most often is ‘euphoria‘).  This class of drug is usually taken orally or crushed and snorted like cocaine.  To anyone who has followed this sordid affair, none of this should be surprising.  In the past 30 years, there has been a twenty-fold increase in prescriptions for treating ADHD.   It’s always interesting that even though there is an overt message of ‘Just Say No‘ going on in our schools and communities; the people who supposedly love these children and care about them the most (parents, teachers, doctors, caregivers, etc) are canceling out that message by giving them drugs every time they turn around.

ADHD medications undoubtedly increase concentration over the short haul.  Probably why one of the main groups of abusers are college students.  But what does the research say about long-term results with these drugs.  One thing we do know is that these drugs do not improve test scores or fix behavior issues when given over the long haul.  Nor does this take into account the side effects of these drugs (we’ll get to them shortly).

The interesting thing about these drugs is that despite the fact that no one seems to know how they work, various forms of amphetamines have been given out by our military since the days of WWII.  Sure they help people stay awake and focus on mundane tasks (air traffic control or radar / sonar operator, for example).  The problem is that there is almost no hard evidence that these drugs are improving the overall ability of diagnosed children to learn.  One of the biggest studies on this particular issue was published just a few short years ago in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  The study showed that for a relatively short period the drugs seemed to work.  But the longer the kids took them, the less effective they were.  The authors pointed out that there was no long term benefit in these drugs as far as either academics or behavior were concerned —- the two reasons these drugs would be prescribed.  By the way, this study has been going on for well over a decade, and is ongoing.


We have not yet covered the side effects of ADHD Drugs like Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and others.  Most of this is a no-brainer.  If you are on these drugs very long, the side effects can begin to make you look suspiciously like a meth-head.  And as you have seen, there is good reason for this.  These drugs are amphetamines —- speed —- a form of legalized meth.

One of the most common class of side effects involves the Circulatory System (heart).  Six percent of the people who take these drugs have a significantly increased heart rate.  The drugs also commonly cause palpitations, irregular heart beat, and high blood pressure.  And just like meth, they can cause stroke, heart attack, and even death.  But this is not even near all of it.  If you have ever seen people on meth for any length of time, you know they do not tend to cast much of a shadow (they are often skin and bone).  This is because the drugs remove the sensation of hunger (which, by the way, is why most diet drugs are versions of speed as well).  Meth and similar drugs have always been a favorite among those wishing to lose weight via chemical means.  Believe it or not, approximately one in three people taking the ADHD drugs are going to have anorexia-related side effects (nausea, vomiting, anorexia, things taste different, diarrhea, etc).  This is particularly true of Adderall.

Urinary Tract Infections are another common side effect of ADHD drugs.  According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common of these includes symptoms of abdominal pain, increased frequency, cloudy urine, bloody urine, as well as several others.  Although these are bad, the worst is yet to come.  Not surprisingly, ADHD meds have a tendency to mess with people’s minds.  Prolonged use of stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin can cause various forms of psychosis such as paranoia, hostility, DEPRESSION, and feelings of worthlessness or uselessness.  Like many other drugs, the amount that it took to cause a certain effect, does not cause that effect any more.  People need more of the drug to get the same effect.  Most of these side effects are synonymous with SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE.


  • STAY AWAY FROM FOOD ADDITIVES:  Food Additives are associated with about a jillion and one problems — including Hyperactivity.  This is not new information.  Dr. Benjamin Feingold wrote two books on the relationship of ‘Hyperactivity’ to Food Additives back in the 1970’s.  It is not difficult to find people who still swear by his work.  Just be aware that like most healthcare pioneers, mainstream medicine views his life’s work as quackery.

  • DO YOU HAVE FOOD SENSITIVITIES?  This was another of Dr. Feingold’s major points.  You see; he was an M.D. (an allergist) who concentrated on, among other things, food allergies and their relationship to Hyperactivity.  The problem is that Food Sensitivities are much more common than Food Allergies and can be far more severe.  Of course GLUTEN is the most common.  And unless you understand GLUTEN CROSS REACTORS, you probably need to be tested (Cyrex Array 4).  If you understand this concept, you can determine which foods you are sensitive by going on an ELIMINATION DIET / PALEO DIET.

  • EAT ONLY WHOLE FOODS:  This is a no-brainer, and goes along with the previous bullet point.  In January of this year the medical journal Pediatrics got in on the act.  I certainly cannot agree with all of their conclusions, but it is a start — they are finally admitting that ADHD is definitely related to diet.  I have been pumping this idea for over two decades (HERE)!

  • NO ANTIBIOTICS:  When I say no antibiotics, I don’t really mean ‘no‘ antibiotics.  Take them if you are on your deathbed.  Other than that, stay far away from them!  Antibiotics are one of the top destroyers of health in the United States.  They not only kill the good bacteria that live in your Gut and make up 80% of your Immune System (HERE), they destroy your body’s ability to make neurotransmitters.  For instance, 90% of your Serotonin (your ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter) is made in the Gut.  Antibiotics are the single biggest destroyer of GUT HEALTH in America today.

  • STRICTLY LIMIT SCREENS:  If your kid has been diagnosed with ADHD, he is probably spending way too much time in front of a TV or computer screen.  Again, this is not new information.  Doctors have been writing books about this for at least 50 years.  When I was a little kid, my parents pulled the plug.  It was one of the singularly best things they ever did for us.

  • MAKE SURE THAT YOUR KIDS ARE GETTING LOTS OF ACTIVITY & EXERCISE:  Yet another no-brainer.  Seems like most of this stuff is just plain old common sense.  Thanks to things like screens (previous bullet point), kids are getting way less exercise than they used to.  Just take a deep breath and repeat after me, “I am the parent.  I am the parent“.  Now, go make the changes that need to be made!  The day will come that your children thank you for it.  If they are little, they will never really know the difference.

  • BE LEARY OF VACCINATIONS:  All you have to do is Google “Childhood Vaccinations & ADHD“.  Prepare to be shocked.  Like Antibiotics, certain vaccines have a propensity for killing off the Gut’s normal bacteria.  These bacteria not only compose a full 80% of your immune system (HERE), they perform all sorts of other vital functions as well — such as helping to manufacture 90% of your body’s serotonin.  There is much too much evidence on this topic (both empirical and anecdotal) to ignore — but Americans continue to do so.  You can go HERE to do more research on the topic.  All I am asking you to to do your own research into the matter.

  • TAKE PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE FISH OIL:  The brain is made up of large amounts of Omega-3’s.  Study after study tells us that Americans get about 1/30th of the amount of Omega Threes we need to be healthy.  I have found numerous peer-reviewed studies citing a virtually causal link between lack of Omega Threes and ADHD.   Just make sure the fish oil you take is Pharmaceutical Grade Fish Oil!  For lots more information on this topic, just go HERE.

  • STAY AWAY FROM SUGAR AND OTHER HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX JUNK:  Even little kids know that SUGAR makes them hyper.  Avoid it!  This does not even take into account that scientific research is tying almost every health problem you can think of back to UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR.  If you really love your children, you will limit the amount of sugar and High Glycemic Index foods they consume.  Better yet, teach them why it is bad.  You’ll be surprised how much they ‘get it’.

  • DISCIPLINE YOUR KIDS — TEACH THEM TO LIVE DISCIPLINED LIVES:  I will never forget the first time I went to Eugene & Edna’s house for Sunday service.  All their little bitty kids sat through service as quiet and well behaved as church mice.  What was the difference between their kids and children in the average church?  He and Edna have high expectations of what their children’s behavior will be.  I have since seen this phenomenon many times with many different families.  Kind of reminds me of the book I read with my son recently, Do Hard Things. The gist of this book is that adults do not expect nearly enough of children, but especially teens.

  • CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS:  Once you understand that the Nervous System controls each and every function of the body (HERE), you can begin to grasp how chiropractic adjustments can often help kids (or adults for that matter) with ADHD.  Over the years, I have seen this work time and time again.

  • JUST REMEMBER THAT SOME KIDS ARE NATURALLY MORE HYPED THAN OTHERS:  Back in the days I worked at CAMP WOOD, I would run into a fair number of these kids.  They were always my favorites — maybe because I was fairly hyped and half-cocked myself.  If you love on these kids and wear them out physically, they are rarely a problem.
The advice in this post is just the beginning — a template for you create your own plan.  There is no one-size-fits-all answer for ADHD — particularly when it comes to treating with meds.  Like I tell all my patients.  Never believe anything that any doctor (self included) tells you.  Do your own research.  What you will begin to learn, however, as you learn more about natural health is that almost all sickness and disease have both a common origin and a common remedy (HERE).  Knowledge is power, and if you ever hope to defeat ADHD or any other major health problem without medical intervention of some sort, you had better be educating yourself. 

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