Why Can’t Johnny Sit Still in Class
by Dr. Neifert
You probably know a child that is currently in school that is not behaving well. The teacher is frustrated that their time teaching is lessened by the misbehavior of the student. The message comes home “Please seek medical attention for Johnny’s behavior. We are having difficulty with him sitting and focusing on his work.” Now what will you do? The common solution is to use a drug to alter Johnny’s brain function. This may be Ritalin or Adderall or some other newest and greatest manmade concoction. Should you believe there really is no other alternative to the problem then this sounds like a good idea. Of course there are other solutions and many of them are definitely more healthful. Let’s review a few of the facts.
Ritalin the most commonly used neurostimulator for ADD and ADHD is a class II narcotic. It is in the same group as cocaine, opium, and morphine. Note that there are no studies on children to show the safety of the prescription. It is illegal to do testing on minors. This is a “speed-type” of drug. It has the function of overwhelming the brain with too much information and therefore slows down the ability to function. It “fixes” nothing. It is ineffective 30% of the time and has adverse effects such as: heart palpitations, blood pressure changes, growth suppression, seizures, spasms, delusions, tendency to harm self or others, toxic psychosis, depression, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, and headaches. There are real risks to giving your kid speed to function “better” in class. What happened to “just say no to drugs”? I guess that is used only when it is convenient. Note that the shooters in some of the high schools have been on Ritalin including Columbine. The drug is not fool proof. The side effects are real.
There are alternatives that should be exhausted first prior to any drug intervention. Some of the most common are:
1. Remove sugar and food additives from the child’s diet
We eat on average 150 lbs. of sugar a year per person. Combined with artificial colors and flavors and the behavior problems are magnified. When 803 New York public schools with 1million kids reduced sugar and artificial colors and favors from children’s diet their academic prowess increased 15.7%.
2. Remove aspartame from the child’s diet
It is in everything lately and can cause numerous brain affects and is best not eaten. I have witnessed in my practice patients with memory loss due to the aspartame consumed. Read the labels
3. Add omega 3 fatty acids into the child’s diet.
ADD and ADHD kids on average have an imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids in their diet. It is best in a one to one ratio, and they are at a 25 to 1 ratio on average. Good sources are deep sea fish or flax oil. Care must be taken to get non-rancid sources as it spoils fast.
4. Test a Clarus Q-Link on the child to determine its effectiveness in reducing misbehavior.
The New Way school in Scottsdale AZ for ADD and ADHD kids saw 37% reduction in misbehavior with the use of Clarus technology.
5. Add more exercise to the child’s daily activity and reduce TV and computer playtime.
6. Reduce artificial lighting and increase full spectrum lighting where feasible.
Rather than look at lifestyle options that require effort on both home and school personnel, it’s is so much easier to just give Johnny a pill. What we are currently finding out is that when kids are routinely giving pills to solve their problems growing up, and they see their parents do the same thing for their own ailments, its expected that they will look to outside sources of help rather than within. When Johnny later in life has difficulty with a job, girl friend, or health issues he will do as he has been taught. Look towards drugs, alcohol, others to blame rather than inside himself and fix his own problems. It is so much easier to play a victim and not accept any responsibility for our own actions or even acknowledge our actions have anything to do with our own health. It isn’t easy to change long term diet habits, yet in many cases the outcome is well worth the effort.