NY Times Reports ADHD Medications Overprescribed To Children


Are ADHD Drugs Necessary for Everyone? Are there lifestyle solutions to ADHD?

Nutrition and Physical Training May Be Better Antidote to Childhood Learning Difficulties

by Kimberly Hartke

NBC Nightly News aired a series of reports on ADHD medications this week, based on a New York Times story reporting concerns of careless over-medication of children in the U.S. and consequent drug abuse among teens.

I remember distinctly a conversation I had with a friend about 15 years ago. I expressed shock and concern when she told me her seemingly normal teenage boy was taking an ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) drug. Mind you, this child was respectful, and a totally charming boy. Very well adjusted and talented is how I would have described him after numerous encounters.

My friend was conflicted as to the merits of the medication but family pressure and the strong desire to help him succeed in school took hold and she agreed to alternate prescriptions of Ritalin and Aderol. She took note of my reaction but proceeded to follow what seemed to be standard protocol at the time.

A year later, she called me to share with me an Ah Ha! moment for her and her son. They had gone away on a week-long mission trip, where they were performing construction type chores for needy families. One day, her son said to her, “Mom, I don’t feel the attention deficit issues!” Her son then told his mom he realized that he was not out of focus but very riveted by  the mission trip, where he was physically active . She then told, me, “Obviously when he is totally engaged he doesn’t seem to be ADHD.”

Here is an excerpt from the NY Times story:

While some doctors and patient advocates have welcomed rising diagnosis rates as evidence that the disorder is being better recognized and accepted, others said the new rates suggest that millions of children may be taking medication merely to calm behavior or to do better in school. Pills that are shared with or sold to classmates — diversion long tolerated in college settings and gaining traction in high-achieving high schools — are particularly dangerous, doctors say, because of their health risks when abused.

See the rest of the NY Times story here: ADHD Seen in 11% of Kids as Diagnoses Rise

For children who don’t do well or experience side effects on ADHD medications and for parents who want a drug free solution, there has got to be another way.

Nutrition Holds Answers for Children with ADHD and other Issues

Last year, I hosted a lecture in my home with Holistic Nutrition Counselor, Julie Matthews. She is the author of Nourishing Hope for Autism. Her dietary counseling guides families embrace nutrition changes that help with autism, ADHD and other developmental problems. Nearly 60 motivated parents packed my living room to hear her speak. Many people now realize that drugs are not the best answer. These parents came, eagerly seeking to change their nutritional lifestyle and improve their child’s health outcomes. Clearly, these parents wanted something other than ADHD medications. Julie also offers an online support group.

The Wise Traditions Journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation explores this topic on a regular basis, as so many are looking for natural alternatives to ADHD medications.  Here is a review of the book, Truth About Children’s Health on the Weston A. Price Foundation website,. The book lays blame for childhood cancer, autism, diabetes, ADHD, and school violence on the nutritionally deficient diets of children in our modern age. Parents who follow the Weston A. Price dietary guidelines report a marked improvement in their children’s behavior.

Another non-profit group, the Feingold Association says ridding the diet of additives such as artificial colors, preservatives and chemical sweeteners will also improve a child’s health outcomes. See their website, ADHDDiet.org.

Balance Also Key to Optimum Brain Health

Recently, I have learned of another exciting approach to helping children who are struggling in school. This one involves tackling the child’s problem through physical movement and exercise, rather than nutrition. It’s called The Learning Breakthrough Program. The program involves a series of exercises involving balance, eye hand coordinating and even target practice.

When you think of  the  Ah, Ha! moment that my friend described, it happened during a week when her son was totally physically, mentally and spiritually engaged. I would imagine he was probably balancing on a  ladder, holding a nail and aiming to hit it with a hammer, steadying himself on a steep roof, walking over uneven ground carrying boards, and building a deck as he ministered to destitute people.

Interestingly, Dr. Belgau’s Learning Breakthrough program, is about training the body to improve brain function! It stresses core balance. Ultimately, diligent implementation of some simple exercises on a balance board brings together the physical, mental and emotional. This seems to be a really a huge piece of the puzzle.

Video: What Two Teenagers Have to Say about Learning Breakthrough Program

Can you imagine the outcome for the children of parents who implement BOTH better nutrition and a program like Learning Breakthrough? Are you looking for alternatives to ADHD medications? Visit the Learning Breakthrough website to see that not only ADHD, but many health issues can be resolved with this unique program.

You may like to know the rest of my friend’s son story. He is now active in a surfing ministry.  He is no longer on the ADHD medications. He spends many hours a day balancing on a surf board, riding the waves and teaching others about the sport and the Love of God.

Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education non-profit. She is speaking at the upcoming Take Back Your Health Conference on fermented foods for good health.

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  1. I was introduced to the Weston A. Price Foundation via my midwife several years ago, I was expecting child #2 and was beginning to think child 1 had ADHD, she also had me check out Julie Mathews info…My family has changed many things since then, how we ate was #1 and it wasn’t all at once…my midwifes advice was just do what you can, we started simple with whole milk instead of 2%, sea salt instead of processed iodized salt, and real butter instead of margarine…we began gardening to get more fresh organic veggies, and we started homeschooling so that we could custom tailor our sons education…since then we have moved to a farm, where he gets to do all the things mentioned in the above article. He walks over uneven ground and helps his dad build things, works with animals, takes his BB gun & bow & arrow out and does target shooting…I have seen great improvement on his health and overall well being. We have never used ADHD medications…and never plan to.

  2. Kristen says:

    My son is a very active 2 year old. Two things that have a tremendous impact on his behavior is diet and time outside. Processed & sugary foods are a recipe for disastrous tantrums. A day spent indoors leads to crankiness, irritability, mischievous behavior and poor sleep. I try for a minimum of 2 hours outside each day- more if i can. Fresh air and real food make for a happy kid!

  3. Kimberly, great information! Thanks for sharing.


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