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Beware! Drugs for Kids Mental Health an Epidemic?

Do you remember Rebecca Riley? She was a four year old little girl. She was killed in 2006 of an overdose of legally prescribed, anti-psychotic drugs. Rebecca had been diagnosed at 28 months old with ADHD and bipolar disorder. Yeah, that’s right, at 28 months old. Poor little Rebecca was prescribed 10 pills a day by her psychiatrist – all because her mother said the girl “was driving her crazy.”  She apprently was running around too much, getting into things and wasn’t able to settle down. Its five years later and I still can’t forget Rebecca Riley, or the deplorable community that was supposedly helping her. 60 Minutes broke the news.

It’s Children’s Mental Health Week and if you haven’t picked up on this already, I’m outraged and a real cynic about this topic! Most special events around mental health issues are usually tools of Big Pharma to get more people on their psychotropic drugs. Did you know that since the mid-1990s, the number of kids diagnosed with bipolar disorder has increased more than 4,000%? Here are a few more disturbing facts you might not know – these articles from GaryNull.com and Philip Dawdy, a prize-winning investigative journalist, in Psychology Today were powerful:

  1. The US has become THE psychiatric drugging capital of the world…Medicaid records in some states show infants LESS THAN a year old on drugs for mental disorders. (Did you catch that?!) You can find more information on this in GaryNull.com and Mercola.com.
  2. The use of potent anti-psychotics with privately insured children, aged 2 – 5 in the US, DOUBLED between 1999 and 2007.
  3. One in 70 children received some type of psychiatric drug in 2007 be it an anti-psychotic, a mood stabilizer, a stimulant or an antidepressant.
  4. The drugs used to treat these so-called mental illnesses are causing severe disorders in millions of children in the US.  “Substances like antidepressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers, and anti-psychotic drugs cause severe, and potentially permanent, biochemical imbalances” said Dr. Peter Breggin, founder of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology and author of the book “Medication Madness.”
  5. Anti-psychotic drugs were the top selling class of drugs in both 2008 and 2009, with sales of $14.6 billion in 2009. (Follow the money! Eli Lilly makes $3 billion a year on it’s bipolar med Zyprexa, alone.)
  6. Children covered by Medicaid were prescribed anti-psychotics FOUR TIMES higher than children covered by private insurance. (Nice to know your tax dollars are hard at work! Nice to know the lack of regard for healthy treatment!)

If this isn’t enough to tick you off, Dr. Mercola, a trusted pioneer and medical doctor in the natural health field, shares an alarming report from the California’s Board of Pharmacy that “every year more than 200 million prescriptions are written for children and teenagers in the United States. That works out to more than three prescriptions per child, every year!” Since ADHD was getting a bit passé, now bipolar disorder in kids is all the rage.

Have you wondered if your child has a “disorder”? Has anyone (teacher, in-laws, coach, etc.) ever told you your child is too hyper, too shy, too depressed, too obsessive or too compulsive? Do you ever question those commercials that ask if you might be depressed or have social anxiety disorder?! I suppose some of you are thinking that I have my own mental health issue – anger management! I’m sure if King David (one of the writers of the Old Testament book of Psalms) were alive today, he’d be diagnosed as bipolar for sure!!

Children can certainly have behavioral issues. There are no doubt cases of genuine mental illness in some children BUT is anyone addressing what’s really happening in the home and, more importantly, the child’s diet and/or allergies?? There have been extensive peer-reviewed studies done on this subject. Dr. Feingold of the famous Feingold Diet knew way back in the 60’s there was a direct correlation between children’s diets (highly processed foods with synthetic dyes, food additives, etc.) and behavioral issues. And, Doris Rapp, MD, Mother of Environmental Medicine and Allergies and author of the book “Is this Your Child, provides a clear understanding of what’s causing this epidemic of mental illness in children – an exposure to environmental toxins and food sensitivities and allergies. If your child is having behavioral issues and the only answer from your family doctor is medication, please consider seeing a certified nutritionist, a pediatric chiropractor, naturopathic physician, or someone specially trained in pediatric allergies as Doris Rapp recommends.

You should also check out the outstanding research of Dr. Natasha Campbell- McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  She will help you understand the real connection between diet and mental illness and a whole host of other “disorders” being treated with drugs.

PLEASE hear me out just a bit longer! What ever happened to allowing kids to be kids? Boys have become the particular targets of ADHD drugs – the ratio of boys diagnosed with ADHD compared to girls is 3 to 1. I liked what Philip Dawdy said in the article referenced above, “…I think the educational system places too much emphasis on having quiet, compliant kids – far more so than in the past. When I was a kid in the 1970’s, boys were pretty much allowed to engage in all kinds of wildness at recess in elementary school and after school, but from what I hear that’s being discouraged today.” (Good thing they’re taking dangerous dodge ball and red rover out of the schools!) I encourage you to check out Furious Seasons where you’ll learn a lot more about the state of Mental Healthcare in America.

I come from a very large family and grew up in a neighborhood with many other large families. We all attended the same school with large classrooms of kids, and I think we all turned out pretty well…WITHOUT meds. In fact, back then (60’s & 70’s), when parents were asked if their kids were on drugs, they weren’t talking about Prozac! Do you remember any of your classmates taking mental health drugs?

At Natural Healthy Concepts, we stand strong that nutritional deficiencies may contribute to children’s (heck, the whole family’s) mental health. Instead of antidepressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers, anti-psychotic drugs, we offer a wide variety of natural health products, a natural line of defense, to help your child manage the ups and downs of life (Nordic Naturals Omega 3-6-9 essential fatty acids) and his or her level of concentration (Attentive Child).  We are your partner in your child’s physical and mental health – without the side effects!  With our help, maybe Rebecca Riley would be alive and turning nine this year!

Think I’m a cynic? What about you?

Additional resource: Citizens Commision on Human Rights – http://www.cchr.org/