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Monday, November 5, 2007

Can you Heal from ADD Without Prescription meds?

I have a met a great fellow blogger; Greg Butler, who has also gone the natural healing route. He has used it to heal himself of the pains associated with ADD. Greg maintains a blog on Holistic Personal Development. Meeting Greg has been wonderful since we agree on a lot about traditional medicine, its limitations and a more integrative approach to medical practices. Meeting him also has me thinking about ADD and ADHD again which I used to give quite a lot of thought to.

After I stopped graduate school in NYC I had many jobs. It took 2 years of lots of part time jobs before I started my own desktop publishing business. MOST of the part time jobs involved working with children. I taught computers to children at 2 very different computer learning centers, tutored children privately in computers and also was an assistant art teacher for an elementary school after-school program. The exposure to kids made me very aware of the different learning styles of children and I always tried to cater my teaching towards the individual child. I was told of the kids who had ADD and ADHD and whether or not they were on medications which made me aware of how widely it was being treated. It also made me aware of some children that were on the medications seeming "distant" or "not there" with me as they went through the motions of whatever I was teaching.

I remember being concerned because SO MANY children were being medicated and that was 15 years ago. Now the US and Canada medicate kids for ADD at RECORD highs. I understand that schools are over-crowded and that teachers have their hands full. I also understand that parents are working harder than ever and have less time for their kids. But I also am aware that these drugs were not available years ago and somehow everyone got by OK. I am hoping these drugs are not being made available for the greatest purpose being controlling behavior that is challenging for parents and teachers to deal with.

I subscribe to a bunch of parenting magazines and blogs online to keep up on things involving my own 2 children. It was very interesting to me when I received one last week on how to tell if your child is "gifted". With gifted meaning ahead in one or more areas of other children their age. The tell tale signs included:

• Is relentlessly curious and never seems to stop asking questions , is unusually active, has a vivid imagination. Gifted children often create a vast and intricate network of imaginary friends with whom they become very involved.

• Is able to memorize facts easily and can recall arcane information that he learns from television shows, movies, or books.

Other signs of giftedness may be a little harder to discern. By age 3 or 4, for example, some gifted children begin to realize that they are "different" from their peers. This can make them feel isolated and withdrawn; it may also make them likely targets for bullying.

They may begin to experience intense frustration because they can think more rapidly than they can express themselves, verbally or physically. If your child appears unusually angry or frustrated, you may want to consult a mental health professional.

I immediately noticed the similarities between signs of giftedness and signs of ADD. A help guide online for kids lists the positive symptoms of having ADD and it seemed VERY similar as the "being gifted signs". The next day I read Greg's article on ADD and it seemed even more shocking to me. A lot of the GREATS in our history might have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. If they were on these medications so they "controlled some of these behaviors that weren't the norm" would that have hindered their imaginative and creative sides?

There are natural ways to control MANY diseases and there are many doctors who immediately jump to prescribed medications as the only means.... I think it's important kids and adults are going to doctors that look at the whole picture and the whole person and aren't whipping out the prescription notepad before other options are explored.

Please check out Greg's article on ADD. It is inspirational and eye-opening. Yes, there are many people who benefit from modern medicines but don't you want to make sure you or your child ABSOLUTELY needs it and can't be helped it some other way before starting one? Many medications taken long term have serious side effects and can be more harmful than the original diagnoses itself. Even if you decide to medicate wouldn't it be good to also know what would naturally help the diagnosis as well?

I think it's time for our schools and our doctors to take another look at ADD and offer some concrete ways that don't involve medications to deal with this illness. There are a lot of positive qualities that could be nurtured and celebrated in these children who see life a bit differently. This site offers lots of good information and treating the child with ADD and tells about some of side effects of the medications typically prescribed for it.

Thanks Greg for your story, your friendship and for reawakening my interest in the diagnosis and treatment of ADD.


Neil said...

It's tough, because parents want answers, and these days we're all tantalized by the thought of the magic pill that can solve all of our problems. Still it surprises me how quickly so many people reach for the pills with young children, having no sense of the consequences for long-term health.

Interestingly, I have a friend who's an inventor who needs to be on anti-ADD meds to get anything done, according to him (and his wife) anyway. Which is not to say that something natural might work just as well, of course.

Thanks for the article, Jenny. Consider yourself Dugg, too. :)

Getting to the Heart of Personal Development at NeilSattin.com

Jenny Mannion said...

Neil, Thanks for the comment and the DIGG. When you know something "works" for you (like your friend) sometimes it is hard to be motivated to try something else. In that way I had it easy -- my pain meds weren't working, made me feel pain even worse when they wore off, and I had always had a phobia of dependence -- which made me seek out LoA and alternative methods.... Anyone going off long term medications would need the help and support of a good doctor who also studies complimentary medicine... I hope in time more doctors will and will encourage patients to explore other options....
Thanks again, Jenny

Todd said...

Hi Jennifer-- great article, ADD is a huge ptoblem and, in my opinion, can be totally prevented. Good stuff!

Jenny Mannion said...

Thanks Todd, I really appreciate you leaving a comment. I agree - a HUGE problem and I hope things start to change with treatment options SOONER rather than later. I don't even want to think about what happens when all these kids that have been on these drugs start suffering from the side-effects of long term use. Just gotta hope with the natural wellness awareness growing -- there will be a shift in the treatment of this "condition". Thanks again! Jenny

Mike said...


Thank you for recognizing ADD as a gift. I'm an ADD person, and could I tell a tale or two.

You see, ADD, now more than ever, doesn't fit into the program that schools and society has for our children. Freedom of thought and expression has little place; instead our kids are crammed full of information and taught to regurgitate it on some standardized test thanks to the "no child left behind" act.

No wonder we need to medicate so many kids to get them to fit into the square hole!

It was ADD medication that gave me seizures which cost my my career in law enforcement. I will never ever put a child on this stuff. It's equivalent to making a child sit in a corner all day, what it does to a creative mind! It should be criminal.

I'll give you, and any parents out there a key to overcoming ADD, its the power of habits.

Jenny Mannion said...

Hey Mike,
Thanks for your comment. Yes, I could go on QUITE a while about how I feel about how ADD is treated and about "no child left behind". Prescription drugs are SCARY now at the numbers they are being handed out. I hope it becomes more common place for people do tons of research BEFORE starting any or starting their kids on ANY long term prescriptions and find out what ALL their options are... Thanks again for your personal story and comment! Gratefully, Jenny

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