ADHD meds

  1. Docs told to drug unruly toddlers

    Parents, watch your tots: There's a new creep in the neighborhood, and it's not the local perv.

    It's the family doctor.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics is out with new marching orders, urging its 60,000 members to "screen" kids for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder starting at the age of four.

    Kids who have the condition are supposed to be treated: First with therapy -- which is a crazy enough thought for a 4-year-old -- then with drugs like Ritalin if they still have even "moderate" signs of those attention deficits or hyperactivity... which goes way beyond crazy.

    The word "outrageous" comes to mind. "Criminal," too -- especially since the powerful stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD aren't even approved for 4-year-olds.

    Makes you wonder if these pediatric experts have ever seen a four-year-old -- because they ALL have attention deficits. They're ALL hyper. It comes with the territory with kids that young, and part of a parent's job is teaching them how to behave.

    The new recommendations don't just extend to the younger kids -- they're also pushing docs to screen older kids, right up to the age of 18.

    In other words, they're growing the market for ADHD meds at both ends of the age spectrum -- and that's what this is really all about: getting more customers for some of the world's most dangerous drugs.

    Kids on these meds have been known to engage in bizarre behavior and even commit acts of extreme violence. One recent study found that patients on stimulant drugs including common ADHD meds were nearly 10 times more likely to commit acts of violence.

    Imagine giving these meds to a four-year-old!

    These drugs have also been linked to hallucinations and addiction. Put all those side effects together, and it's not hard to see why the kids who take them are also more likely to kill themselves.

    There are far better ways to treat the signs and symptoms that make up ADHD in kids of all ages -- and they start with better discipline and better diet.

    In many cases, kids have seen miraculous returns to normalcy by simply avoiding processed foods -- especially the food colorings that an FDA panel now admits may cause or worsen ADHD in some kids.

    Bottom line: Kids who eat better, behave better.

    Just remember that even the best kids act up at least some of the time... it's normal. Handle them the same way your parents handled you -- and I'll bet it wasn't with meds.

    I'm not done with children's health yet -- keep reading for more.

  2. Safe ADHD meds? Don't bet your kid's life

    It's the kind of study only a drug manufacturer could love -- because it lets some of the most controversial drugs of all time completely off the hook.

    The drugs are ADHD meds, including Adderall, Ritalin and Strattera. They've been known to raise blood pressure and heart rates, and every now and then you see reports of a once-healthy kid who suddenly dropped dead while taking them.

    But researchers compared 241,417 kids between the ages of 3 and 17 years old who took an ADHD drug to 965,668 children who didn't, and found... well... in some ways they found just what you'd expect: Kids, overall, don't suffer heart attacks very often.

    As a result, they found no statistical difference between the two groups -- and that's a win for the drugs, right?

    Not so fast -- because there are some big problems here.

    First, the researchers did actually find a difference, calculating 4 cases of sudden death or cardiac arrest in every million kids who don't take meds versus 6 in a million among those who do.

    That's a 50 percent increase in risk -- but because of the small overall numbers, the researchers were able to chalk it up to chance.

    Still, the difference is there -- and it's hard to ignore.

    Secondly, the researchers never bothered to isolate the children we're most concerned about: kids with a preexisting heart condition (often undiagnosed) who might be more prone to the ill effects of a drug known to raise heart rates and blood pressure.

    Third, despite the big numbers being thrown around, the study in Pediatrics was just some hindsight mathematics -- not a true clinical trial.

    And fourth, the study was funded by an ADHD drug maker... so it's not exactly the unbiased research you want to stake your kid's life on.

    But let's play along here for a moment and pretend these drugs really are safe for the heart (and with what they do to blood pressure and heart rates, I have a hard time believing that).

    It still doesn't mean these meds are safe -- in fact, they're anything but.

    These drugs have been linked to everything from bizarre behavior to extreme violence and suicide -- and that's not even getting into the more typical side effects, which range from headache and nausea to hallucinations and addiction.

    All of these are side effects that can be avoided -- because most cases of ADHD are bogus anyway. Some kids are a little harder to handle than others -- but instead of discipline, they get drugs.

    Other kids are just less mature: Studies have found that the youngest children in a class are far more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest.

    And still others are the victims of poor diet -- because processed foods can starve a developing brain and lead to serious mental health issues, from depression to ADHD-like symptoms.

    None of that -- from maturity to nutrition -- can be fixed with a stimulant drug.

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