This morning Sunrise aired, Does Ritalin do more harm than good?
I am happy to finally see commercial television discuss this topic. It is one myself and many educators have thought about, researched and discussed and I look forward to seeing the impact of similar shows airing this research.
Parenting is a hard job, a really hard job. However, if your child suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms it may be best to try other approaches before giving them the drug Ritalin. It really should be your last choice.
Below are 3 main areas:
Many nutritionist have been stating the effects of food choices of children with ADHD, with symptoms either worsening or mimicking ADHD behaviours.
Foods to avoid – sugar, caffeine, soft drinks, icing/frosting on cakes, artificial food additives (colours, preservatives and flavour enhancers)
Healthy Food Guide have a great article on Food and Children’s Behaviour.
We all know children need sleep.
Children and adults behave differently as a result of sleepiness. Adults usually become sluggish when tired while children tend to overcompensate and speed up. For this reason, sleep deprivation is sometimes confused with ADHD in children. Children may also be moody, emotionally explosive, and/or aggressive as a result of sleepiness. (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/adhd-and-sleep)
Helping your child get a consistent good night’s sleep is worthwhile not only for ADHD behaviours but also for their social, emotional, physical well being and their schooling.
I am waiting for commercial television to release research on iPad use with children who display ADHD behaviours. Please, please, please, don’t give your child an iPad for them to use freely on Minecraft or similar addictive games.
I know they are quiet and relaxed when they are playing on the iPad but the effects on the brain has shown to be detrimental.
One study has shown
When kids play games and rack up points, move to higher levels and unlock characters and goodies, their brain is rewarded by one thing: dopamine, a neurotransmitter that’s released each time they “win.” The chemical is often at the center of ADHD and their love affair with electronics. And some experts even believe children seek out those screens because they have problems with their dopamine systems. In fact, medication, like Ritalin, controls ADHD by increasing dopamine activity, so when Josh plays Minecraft, it’s as if he’s self-medicating, giving his brain that extra boost that his internal circuitry doesn’t offer. http://techland.time.com/2013/07/08/a-nation-of-kids-with-gadgets-and-adhd/
More links for people interested on the negative effects of iPad use on children
Please ensure you speak to your doctor and research before giving your child any medication or stopping their medication.
A great article written by Dr. Frank Barnhill who is a family physician with 29 years experience. He is the author of Mistaken for ADHD which lists the 52 conditions that can mimic ADHD.
Sorry for all the links to other websites. I am not a qualified doctor, pediatrician, psychologist, nutritionist or psychiatrist. I have taught for over 20 years and have seen the rise of children labelled with ADHD and the increase in technology. I am passionate about giving kids the best chance to learn and look forward to hearing more about Ritalin and how we can positively help children who display ADHD behaviours.