Tuesday, August 14, 2012

3 Questions every Concerned Parent MUST Ask about their Child's Attention Disorder

The statistics connecting psychiatric drugs to tragedies such as school and family violence, depression, and even suicide are both alarming and troubling.  Parents cannot afford to place the responsibility of their child's well-being solely in the hands of the doctor. The more questions you ask, the more you will know.

1. What Specific Tests are used to diagnose Attention Disorders?

Simply basing a diagnosis on behavioral symptoms alone can have disastrous consequences because behavior in itself cannot be used to diagnose disease or disorder. Many children are diagnosed as having an attention disorder solely on observation of their behaviors, such as: not paying attention in class, fidgeting, speaking off topic, not performing well in school, etc.  These behaviors are not necessarily signs of a disorder.

For example, if you were sitting in a classroom listening to an instructor speak in a language that you did not know, you would eventually get rather bored. You might display signs that you were not paying close attention. But the fact is that you are not able to understand the information being discussed. Many children who do not have adequate vocabulary skills may exhibit these behaviors, but it is not due to an attention disorder, per se, but rather a lack of vocabulary with which to follow what is being said.  It is like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoon saying "Waaah waahh waah..." The child is not paying attention because to them the words being spoken are meaningless and thus they seem uninterested.

2. Are there any Tests to show that attention disorders are in fact caused by a chemical imbalance?

Many psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies will tell parents that attention disorders are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, and that therefore the solution to your child's problem is medication.  However there are no studies that actually support this claim and there are actually many scientific studies that show quite the opposite.

In fact the assertion that attention disorders stem from chemical imbalance is an assumption derived from the very real fact that some chemicals (such as LSD) can cause mental imbalance. Therefore the unproven theory is that some chemicals may correct imbalances in brain chemistry. However this extrapolation has yet to be backed up by any actual evidence.

3. What Chemical Tests show that prescribed medication will not cause adverse Side-Effects?

Most people have friends and relatives who are being prescribed medication for attention disorders without any test being performed to show that there would be little risk of harmful side-effects.  When side-effects begin to show (which they inevitably will), the doctor will simply begin prescribing more medications (referred to as "cocktails", yes, like the drinks you buy in a bar) to "counter-balance" the side-effects, with some children and adults ending up having to take 20 or more other medications just to suppress side-effects.

The problem is that each new drug comes with its own risk of side-effects.  The theory being that if one combine enough drugs together then hopefully they will mix to just the right concoction for the individual.  However, although safety research is done on each single drug, no research has been done on the effects of mixing these drugs, and yet the majority of psychiatric evaluations result in the prescription of these 'drug cocktails'. Sadly, the cocktails one can get in their local bar are designed with more precision than the ones doctors are prescribing (at least we know what effect the drinks will have).

Well-known and recorded side-effects of popular attention drugs such as ritalin, adderall, risperdal (classified as stimulants) are:

    loss of appetite (may cause serious malnutrition)
    tremors and muscle twitching
    convulsions and headaches (may be severe)
    irregular heartbeat and respirations (may be profound and life threatening)
    hallucinations and delusions
    excessive repetition of movements and meaningless tasks
    and 'formicaton' (sensation of bugs or worms crawling under the skin)

All of these are the same side-effects experienced by people addicted to drugs such as crystal meth, cocaine, and alcohol.

The effects of mixing these drugs together can have even more severe consequences such as suicide and violent (often deadly) outbursts, as is being evidenced more and more in the news.

Please, realize that your child trusts you with their life and their health. Use common sense and ask yourself whether it makes sense to use medication to improve your child's ability to pay attention. Consider that your child may just need assistance with learning to process information in the context of school and reading.

Drug-Free Solutions are often as simple as supplementing your child's vocabulary, turning the "waaah waaah waaah" from the Charlie Brown example into meaningful instruction from the teacher.

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