By Mia Von Scha, Transformational Coach, motivational speaker, children’s author, student to two Zen Masters (aka kids), avid cloud watcher and lover of life.
I’m absolutely horrified by the number of children now on severely mind-altering drugs. Did you know that the fastest growing market for both Ritalin and Prozac is pre-school aged children? Why are our children depressed? Why is nobody looking into the underlying causes before medicating? How can we possibly be diagnosing preschoolers with ADHD? Here are, in my opinion, the extremely broad criteria for diagnosing a child with ADHD:
- Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
- Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- Often does not follow through on instructions
- Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
- Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
- Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools).
- Is often easily distracted
- Is often forgetful in daily activities.
- Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
- Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
- Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate.
- Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
- Is often “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”.
- Often talks excessively.
- Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
- Often has trouble waiting his/her turn.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
Sound like any 3-5 year-olds you know? And is it any wonder that 4 times as many boys are prescribed Ritalin as girls?
In a quick-fix world we need to be careful about the messages we are giving to our children about what is normal and what is not.
It is not normal for a preschooler, or even one in early Primary school to be able to sit still for long periods of time and concentrate on things that they have absolutely no interest in. It is normal for kids to be enthusiastic and energetic and driven to fulfilling their own highest priorities (namely play).
I’m not saying that there are no kids with genuine disorders in their brain chemistry who may benefit from some assistance, but we have to exhaust all alternatives before reaching for pills. And that goes for us as adults too. We’re far too accustomed to grabbing an Aspirin instead of figuring out WHY we had a headache in the first place. Or heading for the tranquilizers before we’ll enter into the very real world of human emotion. Or glugging down the antacids instead of addressing our diets.
It is time to STOP.
Before you drug your children, investigate the side effects, dangers, and alternatives.
Some of the side effects for Ritalin include nervousness, insomnia, joint pains, fever, anorexia, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, headache, dyskinesia, drowsiness, increased blood pressure and pulse, rapid heart rate, angina, cardiac arrhythmias, abdominal pain, and psychosis.
Children have died.
Before deciding that your child is definitely one of the few who genuinely needs medication
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Is your child going through something upsetting emotionally (keep in mind that this could be something positive – a holiday, a new sibling)?
- Is your child getting all his/her needs met?
- Is your child getting enough Omega 3’s in his/her diet?
- Have you tried cutting out sugar and refined carbohydrates?
- Is your child getting enough water every day?
- Has your child been exposed to high levels of lead in his/her environment?
- Does your child have undiagnosed allergies (dairy, soya, wheat, etc.)?
- Is your child exposed to large amounts of food additives and excito-toxins such as MSG?
- Is your child watching too much TV and/or spending too much time on video games (more than an hour a day)?
- Is your child getting enough exercise in a day?
- Is your child getting enough sleep?
- Does your child have a boring teacher, or a teacher who cannot be bothered to find out the child’s real interests and speak in ways that the child can relate to?
- Is your child, perhaps, just acting like a normal child of their age?
We’re talking about serious, scheduled drugs here – on the same level as Cocaine. You would not just give your child cocaine because someone with a white coat told you to. Please, ask questions, do some private research, question authority. There is absolutely no way that the number of kids now on Schedule 7 drugs really have a disorder. Think about it.