Medications are perceived as safe solutions, especially for various mental health conditions. Usually, when parents discover that their kids are struggling with their mental health, their primary solution is to have their kids take medications.
Like two sides of a coin, medications both have its pros and cons. The cons, however, are not entirely acknowledged or made known to patients and parents.
Research studies show that 100% of the time, your child will have a side effect from medications. These side effects are usually shown through your child’s irritability, sleep problems, and restricted eating.
So, despite many stimulants and psychostimulants, the brain is not going to work in its optimal condition. Thus, there’s a need to open that up for discussion and help you understand the reasons and repercussions why you shouldn’t medicate your child with ADHD, anxiety, or other mental health conditions.
Psychostimulants and their side effects
Besides the trifecta, irritability, sleep problems, and restricted eating, there are many other side effects to medications, including psychosis, which nobody always wants to talk about and say is rare.
These psychostimulants are not going to enhance brain functioning. It's not going to improve the behavior. Using ADD stimulant medication is like tying your foot on the gas panel and just saying “Go!” You don’t have a lot of control.
Often, parents get very frustrated because they’re not coming in with new learning, and they don’t know what they are doing differently, which usually causes side effects.
100% of the time, some of these side effects are perceived as mild while some of them could be as severe as psychosis, cardiac problems, seizure, and other things.
Also, some of these medications are contraindicated for other conditions, which is the second reason why you shouldn't medicate your kid with ADHD.
What’s the most common misdiagnosis?
50% of the time when doing a QEEG brain map, the person's primary diagnosis is not ADD. In fact, they might not have an ADD brain at all. Rather, they have attention deficits that result from another primary condition.
But what else could it be? It could be learning disabilities. Kids with dyslexia are always diagnosed with ADHD, and they have executive functioning issues. But it doesn't mean that they have ADD.
They could have autism and other common ones, such as head injuries, birth traumas, or physical and emotional traumas. There are many possible things.
There’s really a high risk of being misdiagnosed especially during the pandemic, as people who have no history of focus problems think they have ADHD. Could it be stress? Could it be that you are working from home managing your kids? Maybe. There are many possible reasons.
We don’t want to jump to ADD medications as psychostimulants can hurt the brain.
It’s easy to get medication because people think it’s safe and there’s no possibility of harming the brain since it’s washed out of the system. However, that’s not entirely true. In fact, that’s going to be our third reason why you shouldn’t treat medication as a primary solution.
Don’t jump into ADD medications considering that ADD medications are psychostimulants that can hurt the brain. We know through research that it can create structural changes in the brain, and that these changes are associated with long term negative behaviors.
Imagine being given medication by your trusted physician or a pediatrician who has very little training in children's mental health, and you're taking it assuming it’s safe.
You’ll most likely have long-term damage in your brain. We know that many psychiatric medications with long-term usage shrinks the frontal lobes, and that's where it's supposed to be helping. So, they're not as safe as you think.
We should never take a developing brain and start with medication. We should always start with safe therapies.
The fourth reason as to why we shouldn’t medicate our child is that holistic therapies are effective. As much as we celebrate our kids’ strengths and weaknesses, they also have to live in the real world.
They have to do well enough in school to absorb the lessons so that they can be independent. They have to get along with the entire family and other people and they have to be in a family unit without much conflict. That's the real world.
We’ll be coming out with our own supplement line called neurotastic. Be on the lookout for that because I really want to produce my own formulas for families that are easier for kids to use. Other than that, there are all these wonderful holistic therapies.
When it’s the right fit for your kids, treatments like cranial sacral, occupational therapy, neurofeedback, PMF, and different types of psychotherapy work perfectly. These are effective to avoid starting with medication.
Always remember to start natural. Start with safe therapies. In fact, research shows us that 1/3 of kids with ADHD are low in essential fatty acids, such as fish oils, and do dramatically better with putting pharmaceutical-grade visuals in their brain.
Psychotherapy and coaching for your child.
Another reason is psychotherapy and parent coaching. You need to look into these. Understand that our kids come out the way they come out, and accept that we’ll need help.
You got a little kid who's a curmudgeon and always seems to not listen. He's always a glass half empty, and the rest of the family is a glass half full. That’s a tough situation to be in.
What’s important is to find the right words and the proper ways to reinforce the right behaviors. It is normal to feel frustrated and annoyed but remember that you gotta keep it together. Find a way that you can talk to them and hear you.
The first thing to do is to start with understanding the brain. If you are sick and tired of being on medication and if you are considering another way, find a provider who can help you better your situation. Never stop your medication without any help from a prescribing physician.
Your parenting tweaks can help get your child ready to help their strengths and to celebrate their brain.
There are so many of us in the world who are there to guide you in a different way but it all starts with parenting. Your parenting tweaks can help to get your child ready to boost their strengths. Help them to celebrate their brain and understand their neurodiversity.
Help and teach them how to embrace neurodiversity because these are nothing to be ashamed of. Yes, there's a real world out there and it's hard. But there's so much more we can do besides medication.
It’s important that you rely on evidence-based approaches and stick with it. If you're making a behavioral change, you have to stick with it. Keep in mind that change doesn’t happen overnight so you really have to be patient and consistent.
Don't just do it for a week and give up after that. It's a 30-day approach at the very least. Continue having an open mind and creating positive change for you and your family. It's all about the right treatment at the right time in the right order.
Stay tuned for more episodes to learn more about what you can do and how much power you have as a parent.
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