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Is It Really ADHD?

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"Doctor, my child doesn't sleep well. He stays busy all the time. One minute he's happy, the next he's crying. He still has some bed-wetting problems and complains about headaches and stomach pains. He's a finicky eater. His teacher says he's restless and doesn't concentrate well, particularly after lunch. When the other students are ready to take their nap, he's just buzzing all over the place and rather unruly."

According to some of the "experts" in the fields of child behavior and "mental illness", this child obviously has a brain chemical imbalance, which causes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As the parent of this child, you may be told that your child's only hope is to take mind-altering drugs to control this behavior. The diagnosis of ADHD can be made in a psychiatrist's or physician's office, without any laboratory tests or any objective testing at all. Even a school psychologist can diagnose ADHD. The list of symptoms is all that's required.

But is it really ADHD?

ADHD is a list of symptoms. By definition, if you have the list of symptoms, you have ADHD. Yet, does that mean that you have a permanent, incurable brain disease, as ADHD is further defined? If you believe that your child has this brain disorder, you should look back and remember where you got that idea. It's likely that you were convinced of it by advertising, funded by pharmaceutical companies. Their billion-dollar advertising campaign has repeated this message millions of times through television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and the Internet. Groups such as CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Disorder) forward this message as well. Curiously, CHADD, NAMI and other groups that forward the "brain disease" theory are largely funded by drug companies. Or you may believe it because a medical "professional" told you, in his office or other clinical setting. If that's the case, the question to ask is whether he performed any laboratory test to locate this "ADHD".

If you have ever been told that your child has ADHD, or that you have ADHD, the diagnosis could be wrong, in some cases, dead wrong. A pediatric advisory committee for the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended in February 2006 that black box warnings be attached to the psycho-stimulants drugs used to treat millions of children for ADHD symptoms. They warn that these drugs can cause heart failure and sudden death! Recent FDA hearings looked into the fact that these drugs cause serious hallucinations, psychosis, mania, violence, and suicide. The committee recommended that parents be given full informed consent by any doctor recommending psycho-stimulants and the pharmacist filling the prescription. Sales of drugs to treat ADHD soared to $3.1 billion dollars in 2004, equating to tens of millions of people, mostly children, on these drugs.

The matter of the drugs then, and the condition they are supposed to treat, is a very serious issue. The use of potentially deadly drugs to treat non-life-threatening illness is a serious question of medical ethics. This is especially serious in light of the fact that there is no certain proof that even one child actually has the brain disorder termed ADHD. The neurotransmitter theory, though broadly promoted as fact by the industry, has never been proven.

According the Dr. Anthony Kane, M.D., author of "How to Help the Child You Love", the active child described in the first paragraph may be suffering with food allergies or sensitivities. He states, "A large number of ADHD children may be having a negative response to food, and this response may be the primary cause of their ADHD". Dr. Kane also states, "Iron deficiency has also been implicated in a number of psychiatric and neurological conditions, including learning disabilities and ADHD".

ADHD's symptoms can be caused by a multitude of different medical conditions. Unlike ADHD, which is defined only by the symptoms, the medical conditions can be tested for objectively and treated medically, without the need to take behavior drugs to control symptoms.

Viral infections and common bacterial infections of a child's inner ear can cause dizziness and disorientation which can be confused with "failure to concentrate or focus" in class and seem "distracted easily", common symptoms touted as ADHD.

Particularly in the school ages, children are prone to cavities and fillings. Mercury poisoning from the amalgams used for fillings has been identified for years as a source for symptoms of mercury poisoning such as irritability, fits of anger, anxiety, lack of attention and low self-control.

A study in 1994 in the European Journal of Pediatrics showed that mercury from dental amalgams present in mothers during pregnancy do produce detectable mercury levels in their infants up to 15 months after birth. Another study by Kenny S. Crump and others (1998) in New Zealand demonstrated that scholastic and psychological tests were adversely affected by the presence of mercury in children in the 6-7 year old range. Why isn't this at least considered when a fidgety child who is having trouble concentrating in school before we drug the symptoms away with Ritalin, Adderall or Strattera? Why do we only observe the outward behavior and label ADHD before thorough testing for such poisonings or infections?

One state, Arizona, sponsors a broad initiative to screen young people for lead poisoning, which is also known to result in some of these "ADHD" symptoms. The screening for lead poisoning is done medically, by blood test, yielding certain and verifiable evidence of a diseased or non-diseased condition.

In contrast, mental health screening programs, like the controversial TeenScreen, are always subjective in nature, always based on symptoms and thus always uncertain. Schools have been duped into relying on mental health screening to locate children with difficulties. This fraud delivers millions in profit to the drug companies and dubious benefit to children and the schools.

TeenScreen's claim that a "mental health checkup" is just like an eye exam is completely bogus. Nothing could be further from the truth. No objective testing is done for any "mental disorder" ever. Thankfully, the truth about TeenScreen and similar fraudulent attempts to gain new customers for the drug companies is being broadly exposed. Just search the Internet for TeenScreen + fraud to find out.

Numerous physicians like Dr. Kane cite hard facts about treatable conditions that mimic ADHD and what to do about it. In reference to one study, Dr. Kane points out that iron-deficient teenage girls, treated for their deficiency, performed better on verbal learning and memory test then those who did not get their iron deficiency corrected. A key difference in these medical studies is that the "iron-deficient" girls can be verified as such by objective, verifiable medical testing, such as blood tests. ADHD studies are dubious at the outset because the "ADHD" children in the study are identified only by the symptoms. Any conclusion drawn from such a study is questionable.

The fact that most studies of ADHD are funded by drug companies and that these studies produce results favorable to the use of drugs is also questionable.

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Kenneth W. Thomas is a Registered Nurse with 29 years of experience working in critical care units, emergency rooms, medical-to-surgical units, and psychiatric units. He has written several popular articles which have been published worldwide, (more...)
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