There is no longer any convincing evidence left that kids should be considered for Rx methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, etc…)
In fact, a new study now urges physicians to use caution when prescribing these medications and reveals that there is no data to support the use of these prescriptions, especially in light of the serious side effects they can cause.
Published on Nov 25, 2015 in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, researchers looked at over 185 randomized control trials that evaluated the use of ADHD meds in over 12,000 children in the USA, Canada and Europe.
- The average age was 9.7 years old (3 years old to 18 years old)
- Treatment ranged from 1 day to over a year, with 75 days being the average length.
- The change reported by teachers in the behaviors of the medicated students was rated at a change of only 6 points on the ADHD-RS scale, which represents a bare minimum of difference on that rating scale.
- What WAS found to be a significant difference was an increased risk of adverse events including sleep disturbance and decreased appetite.
- Children on the ADHD medications had a 60% higher risk of trouble sleeping and a 266% greater risk for decreased appetite.
WHAT? Restorative sleep and a good nutritional intake (as reviewed below!) are the two things a growing child absolutely needs to develop appropriately!
Bottom line: the minimal benefits were so incredibly inadequate to risk the very high rate of side effects that physicians are now being urged to curb use of these medications — a very surprising admission from the world of conventional medicine that maybe drugs are not the answer here!
What are other answers?
What can you do holistically for your child instead of medication?
Focus on these three steps to support your child’s well being:
1. Good sleep helps with ADHD
Sleep problems have long been considered a hallmark of ADHD… leading to reduced quality of life, reduced level of functioning and reduced school attendance.
A study published on January 20, 2015 in the British Medical Journal, has found that even a simple, brief sleep intervention with ADHD children provides lasting benefits that lead to improved sleep and decreased ADHD symptoms.
- 244 families of children (aged 5 – 12 years old) with ADHD were given sleep hygiene counseling (setting a routine bedtime, removing electronics from the bedroom, avoiding caffeine, etc…) during two different consultations.
- The control group had the same aged children and the same diagnosis but control families received only routine clinical care and no sleep counseling.
- The results showed that after only two sessions focused on supporting sleep, not only did the sleep problems improve, but the actual ADHD symptoms, quality of life, and even memory improved as well!
- There was a significant decrease in sleep problems, an increased average sleep duration time, a marked and significant decrease in ADHD symptoms, improved assessed working memory and recall, and parents and teachers both reporting improved behavior and improved daily functioning.
These improvements were sustained at both the 3 month assessment AND the 6 month assessment, showing that addressing sleep problems can lead to substantial and sustained benefits for children with ADHD, over and above the effects of any medical interventions or medications.
Want help getting your child to sleep more soundly?
That’s why I wrote and illustrated this bedtime book for parents to use to help create a soothing nighttime routine for their child, ADHD or not.
Because helping your child develop good sleep habits, the kind that allow for deep, restorative sleep, is one of the best things you can do to support your child for a lifetime of good health.
2. Allow spontaneous activity for your children!
Wondering if sitting still at a school desk all day long is actually healthy for your child? It’s not.
Wondering why this is still the mold we are trying to fit children into? Me too.
Hop over here to read more about why prolonged sitting is so deadly and how to prolong your life (and your child’s life!) by getting up, moving about more and allowing them to get up and fidget more too!
3. Use Omega 3 supplements instead of the Rx meds.
We’ve known for quite a while that Omega 3 fatty acids are absolutely fabulous for the body… especially the brain.
Fish oil (specifically Omega 3 fatty acids) literally calms the body from head to toe.
Everything, and I mean everything, works more smoothly in our bodies with fish oil… skin is calmer, hair is shiner and softer, our cardiovascular system is more resilient, our joints are more protected, our muscles get less sore and recover from stress and injury faster, our chances of senile dementia lessen… incidences of stroke and heart attack decrease… it’s just fabulous, whole-body-anti-inflammatory stuff.
The Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recently published the results that Omega 3’s were effective in treating ADHD.
- Researchers studied over 700 children on Omega 3 supplementation and found a significant improvement in both measured inattentiveness and hyperactivity… as measured by clinicians and as reported by the parents of the children in the studies.
- Previous research has shown that there is a difference in Omega 3’s in both plasma membranes and erythrocyte membranes of ADHD patients as compared with their healthy peers. So supplementation would make sense, based on the fact that it would help rebalance and stabilize those membrane imbalances… as well as act as a general anti-inflammatory to the central nervous system at large.
- Not only is this large meta-analysis study great news for families who have failed “conventional” medical approaches (meaning medicating them with Rx hasn’t worked) but also to families who are hesitant to risk the crazy toxic side effects offered from prescription meds.
And the side effect profile is a nice bonus: Side effects like decreasing your child’s lifetime risk of heart attack and stroke… side effects like softer skin and hair and less inflammation throughout the entire body, including the brain. Possibly softer stools and burping, depending on dose. If your child experiences softer stools from fish oil, you can just cut back on the dose. For some of us more constipated souls, more regular, normal stools from fish oil are just another welcome side effect.
The prescription meds used to treat ADHD, both the stimulant drugs and non-stimulant drugs, have side effect profiles like hypotention, bradycardia, heart block, syncope, sedation, and somnolence.
These results are so exciting, because the effects seen from Omega 3 supplementation (and in particular, eicosapentaenoic acid) were seen to be effective in studies that were as short as 7 weeks long, which means Omega 3 supplements work quite quickly in helping treat ADHD.
You may notice a supportive difference as early as two months on fish oil supplements!
Good children’s Omega 3 supplements I recommend include:
To naturally supporting your child’s amazingly VIBRANT energy flow!!!
P.S. Another great all natural treatment idea includes homeschooling!!!
I’m personally a big fan of homeschooling in general… and in particular, for children with “ADHD”… I don’t see ADHD as a bad thing at all.
The bad thing is boxing these bright and multi-focused children into a square.
Removing the child from the square would remove the need to “medicate” in the first place.
Learning to live with and even thrive with each child’s own learning style and see it as a strength in the long run will help these unique children thrive in life.
Not all kids can learn sitting down.
Not all kids can learn straight from a textbook.
For years, my son ate every single meal standing up. Would I medicate him so he would sit to eat? That would be insane. Would I likewise medicate him so he would sit to learn? Equal insanity.
My recommendation for ADHD children is to homeschool them and to give them lots and lots of fish oil, focus on high quality sleep, and lots of healthy physical activity daily. Keep going up in the fish oil (or other Omega 3 supplementation) until they have stool softening. Then back down just slightly from that level dose, and stay there.
And my recommendation for non-ADHD children?
Homeschool them and give them lots and lots of fish oil, focus on high quality sleep, and lots of healthy physical activity daily. Or at least do the fish oil They’ll be thanking you when they have fabulous skin, hair, brain power and digestion well into their senior years, and less chance of stroke and heart attack.