Are we over medicating our children?

Parents may start noticing that their children are having trouble paying attention, making careless mistakes, hard time listening/focusing, avoiding certain tasks that require sustained mental effort, becoming easily distracted, and forgetting homework assignments.  These are all signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which is a condition that affects a person’s attention span, activeness, and impulsiveness.

Over medicating children has been an ongoing issue with parents today. With the hustle and bustle of work, school, soccer practice, and so on sometimes it is just easier to label our children has having ADHD and putting them on Ritalin, Adderall or some other type of stimulant without trying a more holistic approach. According to The Center for Disease Control (CDC) “As of 2007, parents of 2.7 million youth ages 4-17 years (66.3% of those with a current diagnosis) report that their child was receiving medication treatment for the disorder.”

Different types of approaches to treating ADHD are yoga and meditation, special diets, vitamin or mineral supplements, herbal supplements, essential fatty acids, neurological training and therapy. While doing yoga with your child may seem silly it is a great way to exercise and to learn how to quiet the mind. There are special diets that parents can try to implement with their child. Avoiding foods with sugar, wheat, milk, eggs, gluten colorings and additives may improve some of their symptoms. Try doing a raw food diet with your child. Although there is no scientific evidence that these approaches have been proven to work it cannot hurt to try. Always make sure that your child is taking a multivitamin if he/she is not getting the proper daily nutrients. St. Johns Wort and essential fatty acids which you can get from fish oil is said to help with ADHD but again there is no scientific evidence. With neurofeedback training, the child is focused on certain tasks while hooked up to a machine that shows brain wave patterns. The machine is supposed to help the child to keep brain wave patterns active in the front area of the brain. Getting your child involved in sports helps to build healthy relationships and self-esteem. Last, spend some one-on-one time with your child giving them some TLC. Like I said before there is no scientific evidence that these treatments work they are an alternative to heavily medicating your child. And if these treatments do not work medications will always be there.

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