ADHD Medication Causing Psychosis in Children

An adverse reactions report released by the Therapeutic Goods Administration has shown that at least 30 children have had severe psychotic episodes and wanted to kill themselves.

Some children, as young as 5 have attempted suicide, or are severely depressed while using the controversial drug Ritalin.

The number of serious reactions to ADHD drugs have doubled in three years, now up to 827. One 7 year old boy attempted suicide while using Ritalin last year.

Like many drugs, the true extent of the side effects is unknown with many doctors and parents under-reporting the impact, experts said.

“It is difficult to say whether a drug is good or bad based on the adverse reactions,” Dr. Jon Juriedini, head of the Department of Psychological Medicine at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital said.

“It is also difficult to know whether the drugs are causing a child to become suicidal or if the tendencies already existed.

“However when a drug such as Ritalin or Strattera is not proving to be beneficial… you need to weigh up the side effects and ensure you don’t get adverse reactions. There’s very poor evidence that they are effective in anybody.”

Each year, around 400,000 scripts for ADHD drugs including Ritalin, Strattera, Dexamphetamine and Concerta are issued. A warning was recently placed on Strattera packaging advising consumers it causes suicidal tendencies

“There’s clear evidence that stimulant drugs tend to cause or precipitate psychotic episodes in children,” Dr Juriedini said.

According to the report, the majority of cases involving children are boys aged between nine and 12 years old. In 2009, one 8 year old hallucinated every day for three months that spiders were crawling on his skin.

“Whether it’s one or 31, I think parents and the community will be very concerned that children that young are thinking of suicide,” Childhood Foundation CEO Dr. Joe Tucci said.

“I think the medication has some side effects that increase suicide. If the underlying cause of a child’s behaviour is something else like trauma or depression then (ADHD) masks the fact that kids need some other form of support.”

Emed’s Comment:

Something is seriously wrong with 5 year olds are contemplating suicide because of the drugs they are taking. Our children are over-medicated and over-drugged!

ADHD is often described as a ‘biochemical imbalance’ as is treated as such. In a half-hour appointment, your doctor could ‘diagnose’ this imbalance with not even a blood test, MRI or saliva swap. In fact, there is no test for this imbalance, yet the script will still get handed over.

There have been many tests published over the last 20-30 years illustrating the dramatic impact good nutrition and diet have on this ‘disorder’. Here are a select few:

  • “Favourable effect of a standard elimination diet on children with ADHD” 1
    “40 children (mean age 4.8) followed their usual diet for 2 weeks and thereafter 2 weeks will an elimination diet (eliminating processed and ‘junk’ food). 62% of kids showed a 50% improvement in behaviour, 23% of the kids withdrew because the parents could not stick with the diet. 66% responded both at home and school.
    In young children with ADHD an elimination diet can lead to statistically significant decrease in symptoms.”
  • “Foods and Additives are Common Causes of ADHD in Children” 2
    “73% of 26 children with ADHD responded favourably to a diet eliminating reactive foods and artificial colours.
    Dietary factors may play a significant role in the eiology of the majority of children with ADHD”
  • “Synthetic Food Colourings and “Hyperactivity”: a Double-Blind Crossover Study” 3
    “40 of 55 (72.7%) put on a 6-week trial of the Feingold Diet “… demonstrated improved behaviour. 26 of them (47.3%) remained improved following “liberalization” of the diet over a 3-6 month period.”

In short, good nutrition can have a massive impact on your childs’ hyperactivity symptoms. Treating their sugar highs with calming drugs is causing potentially health children into depressed zombies.

Cut the junk out of their diet. Don’t feed them processed, plastic or frozen foods (unless they are frozen vegies). Go back to basics. Feed them lean meats, plenty of fish, fresh vegies and fruit. Eliminate bread, grains and pasta from their diets – they don’t need them. Educate yourself and your kids on why you should only eat healthy, fresh foods. Not only will this reduce their symptoms, you’ll feel a whole lot better for it too.

What Else Can I Do?

As well as improving their diet, ensure that your kids get plenty of exercise everyday. Nowadays, kids are largely sedentary at school, and if they come home and sit in front of the computer or TV all night, they haven’t had a chance to burn some energy or improve their fitness.

Turn off the TV. Instead of playing sports on the Wii, get them outside to actually play tennis or football or just run around. Even going for a half hour walk after school can be hugely beneficial for them.

Get them onto fish oil. Fish oil has been shown to improve the symptoms of ADHD without any of the side-effects associated with drugs. In fact, an Australian study involving 130 children showed a dramatic improvement in behaviour, concentration and attention within just 3 months. Extended supplementation could lead to an overall reduction in symptoms and need for any drugs.

Handy Hints:

  • Throw out all fizzy drinks (which contain mass amounts of artificial colouring and flavours) – give them water or fresh juice instead.
  • Read and play with your kids instead of sitting in front of the TV. Help them with their school work, read a book or play a board game.
  • Keep fast food and take away for special occasions
  • FEED THEM WELL! If it doesn’t resemble it’s original form, don’t eat it!
  • Let kids be kids – let them play, laugh, learn and have fun!

Further Reading:

1 Favourable effect of a standard elimination diet on the behavior of young children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a pilot study Pelsser LM, Buitelaar JK, Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2002 Dec 28;146(52):2543-7
2 Foods and Additives are Common Causes of the Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in Children, Boris M; Mandel F, Annals of Allergy, May 1994, Vol. 72, pp. 462-8
3 Synthetic Food Colourings and “Hyperactivity”: a Double-Blind Crossover Study, K.S.Rowe, Australia Paediatric Journal, April 1988, Vol. 24 (2), pp. 143-7