As a Holistic Nutritionist and parent of 2 children with ADHD, I’m a keen advocate of natural therapies for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Nothing gets me more upset than reading stories such as this one. This story affects me on several levels. First of all I have seen how devastating it is when a sibling commits suicide. My brother took his life in June 1983 because of a serious mental illness. Secondly, I am somewhat acquainted with Adderall, the medication that brought this boy to suicide. It is a mixed salts amphetamine.
My daughter tried this medication sometime in 2004. It was quite popular at the time, however, my daughter’s experience with it was not positive and we abandoned it. Sometime later, the extended release version was linked with several sudden deaths and was pulled from the Canadian market in early 2005. It was later reinstated and has been used for ADHD ever since. But now I have to ask; why are psychiatrists prescribing this medication for students with no formal ADHD diagnosis? This medication was never meant for students who need a temporary fix to help them study while they’re at college.
My own experience with medical doctors who have dealt with one or both of my children in the context of their ADHD, have not been very positive. One doctor encouraged medication for my son, even though a conclusive diagnosis for ADHD had not been done at the time. I had made it clear to him that I wanted him to support me nutritionally. I told him that I had taught myself about nutritional therapies for ADHD, and that I was leading ongoing support groups in my community… but he didn’t care about that. I refused his suggestion for a trial of Strattera and we never returned to him. My son has never been on any medication for ADHD and he has survived his inattention difficulties. He is now getting great marks at school, but still struggles with hyperactivity.
But what is the real problem here? It’s very clear to me that the medical community is steering parents into drug based solutions without any discussion of more natural approaches. Please understand that I am not completely “anti-drug”, but parents need better support, including a full explanation of all the options for their children which would include nutritional support, food sensitivity testing, vitamin and mineral deficiency testing, heavy metal testing, digestive inquiry, etc. There are several laboratories in the U.S. and Canada that specialize in analyzing metabolites in urine, blood and stool. This is a very reliable method to determine imbalances and deficiencies, most of which can be remedied with a good diet and supplementation. I have had this done for both my children. It has shown some serious gut malfunction in my son, and even worse malfunctioning in the energy cycles (Kreb’s cycle) in my daughter. For more information about laboratory testing please click here and here.
Each child needs to be assessed individually as each person is unique. This is why lab testing is so important. Dr. James Greenblatt, a Massachusetts-based Orthomolecular Psychiatrist, understands this concept well. He has stated “the most significant lesson I relearn with every patient is how complex our uniqueness really is. This individuality defines our core metabolism and biochemistry. Our unique metabolic puzzle supports our ability to pay attention, inhibit unwanted behaviors and regulate our moods.”
In March, John Gannage, a Markham based holistic medical doctor will be speaking about natural therapies for ADHD on Wed. March 20 at 7pm at The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Click here to view the flyer. It is challenging to find where to register for this event on the Orthomed website. Here is the link to the appropriate page on their website.
If you are a parent of an ADHD child and living in the GTA please come to this session! I’ll be there and I’d love the opportunity to meet you! Please pass this information on by tweeting it, posting it on your Facebook profile or even emailing it to someone you think might be interested. You will find the appropriate icons at the bottom of this post.
Are you a parent of an ADHD child? Have you got experience with Adderall? I’d love your feedback. And don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site.
Until next time,