ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is described by NHS Choices as “a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness”. Common symptoms include a short attention span, being being easily distracted, restlessness, constant fidgeting, overactivity, and being impulsive.
History and facts about the illness
Yet the first thing that should be decided is whether such a disease actually exists! It is certainly an illness that has sold lots of pharmaceutical drugs, and raised huge profits for Big Pharma drug companies. And it is certainly a disease that was only ‘diagnosed’ in relatively recent times, and in many ways it is little more than a collection of descriptions of childhood behaviour that once would have been described as ‘children being naughty’.
Yet the epidemic rise of the ‘disease’, and the huge number of children who have grown up, and are growing up, diagnosed with this condition suggests that it is more than drug companies profiting from diagnosing behaviour as ‘illness’. This is probably just part of the problem.
As long ago as 2003 statistics were telling us that Britain was in the grip of an epidemic of ADHD. It was said that at least 1 in 20 schoolchildren, 360,000 in England and Wales alone, were thought to have ADHD to some degree, and that prescriptions for the drug Ritalin, had doubled in the previous four years.
More recently, in 2014, a major new study, “The impending globalization of ADHD: Notes on the expansion and growth of a medicalized disorder” has raised important issues about the disease. The study was undertaken at Brandeis University, in the USA. It was published in the journal ‘Social Science and Medicine’. The Mail Online discussed this study in its article “Rise in ADHD cases is 'due to marketing, not medicine': Study blames increase on drug companies, pushy support groups, and people self-diagnosing online”. And NHS Choices have also discussed the study in their article “Is growth in ADHD 'caused by marketing'? It describes the study as “a well-researched and interesting article which reflects current concerns about the medicalisation of symptoms that might be viewed as part of the human condition, rather than a disorder that needs drug treatment. what does this study show”?
The study concluded that the problem of ADHD is being medicalised, that children who might once have been described as simply ‘naughty’, or ‘high spirited’, are instead being diagnosed with ADHD. And that once diagnosed they are being prescribed and treated with powerful pharmaceutical drugs, like Ritalin. The study concluded that the "global expansion" and medicalisation of ADHD has been driven by five major causes, notably, the lobbying of the drug industry, the influence of US-based psychiatry which has become drug-focused, the influence of ADHD patient advocacy groups which have become dominated by the drug industry, and the adoption of loose criteria for diagnosing the disease.
The study also look at the astronomic increase in ADHD across the globe. In particular it looked at its growth, starting in the USA some 50 years ago, and moving to the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil. It documents both the growth of ADHD diagnosis, and the prodigious rise of drug-based treatment.
- In the UK it says that ADHD is now the most prevalent behavioural disorder, with an estimated 3-9% of children and adolescents having the condition.
- Drug treatment for ADHD has also risen, with one recent report suggesting that Ritalin prescriptions rose by 11% in GP practices, and by 24% in private practice from 2011-12.
- The authors partly ascribe this increase to changes in diagnostic criteria used in the UK. In the past, the UK adopted criteria from the World Health Organization (WHO) for a condition then called hyperkinetic disorder. But there is now a greater use of US criteria globally, which uses different terminology and provides a lower threshold for diagnosis.
The study also noted the influence of drug companies, and in US Psychiatry, which has promoted the use of drugs that than psychotherapy. It states that in the past ADHD drugs were heavily marketed in the US, but as this market become saturated, Big Pharma expanded into international markets, and promoted ADHD drug treatment around the world, first in Europe, but also in countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Japan.
It is the activities of the drug companies, and the consequences of their drugs on the health of young children, that is the focus of attention here.
Yet before doing so, the study outlined another factor in the rise of ADHD, concerning the role and influence of ADHD Patient Advocacy Groups. The study found that these groups often worked closely with drug companies in promoting drug treatments, and that in some countries, such as France and Italy, ADHD rates are lower, possible arising from a stronger cultural tradition of using psychoanalytic rather than drug-based approaches for behavioural problems, and greater restrictions on the use of ADHD drugs.
Drugs used to treat this disease (what new diseases might you get by taking them?)
The diagnosis of ADHD has caused a rapid increase in drug taking amongst children and young people in recent decades. There are many estimates about how many children are now taking ADHD drugs, like Ritalin. WDDTY estimated in 2012 that one in seven children in the USA were now taking this drug. Other estimates say that one in five children have been diagnosed. This is why ADHD has been described for may years now as an ‘epidemic’. Either the disease, or drug-taking arising from the diagnosis of the disease, is touching the lives of huge numbers of our young people.
Moreover, the drugs used by the conventional medical establishment for the treatment of ADHD are neither effective or safe. NHS Choices says that “there is no cure for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but treatment can help relieve the symptoms and make the condition much less of a problem in day-to-day life.
This NHS website outlines four main drugs for the treatment of ADHD, which they say are not permanent cures for ADHD, but “they can help someone with the condition concentrate better, be less impulsive, feel calmer, and learn and practise new skills”.
“Methylphenidate is the most commonly used medication for ADHD. It belongs to a group of medicines called stimulants that work by increasing activity in the brain, particularly in areas that play a part in controlling attention and behaviour”.
After describing how the drug is administered and monitored, and who it is suitable for, NHS Choices lists these common side effects:
• a small increase in blood pressure and heart rate
• loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss or poor weight gain
• trouble sleeping
• stomach aches
• mood swings
Methylphenidate drugs come in many different names, including Concerta, Daytrana, Equasym, Medikinet, Metadate, Methylin, Quillivant, and the most widely used of all, Ritalin.
“Dexamfetamine is also a stimulant medication that works in a similar way to methylphenidate, by stimulating areas of the brain that play a part in controlling attention and behaviour”.
NHS Choices list these common side effects of dexamfetamine:
• decreased appetite
• mood swings
• agitation and aggression
• nausea and vomiting
Dexamfetamine drugs are also marketed under many different brand-names, including Elvanse, Adderall, Dexedrine, Foxalin, .
“Lisdexamfetamine is a similar medication to dexamfetamine, and works in the same way”.
NHS Choices lists these common side effects of lisdexamfetamine:
• decreased appetite, which can lead to weight loss or poor weight gain
• nausea and vomiting
The drug is branded under names such as Vyvanse.
4. Atomoxetine (Strattera)
“Atomoxetine works differently to other ADHD medications. It is known as a selective noradrenaline uptake inhibitor (SNRI), which means it increases the amount of a chemical in the brain called noradrenaline. This chemical passes messages between brain cells, and increasing the amount can aid concentration and help control impulses”.
NHS Choices lists these common side effects of atomoxetine, which is often branded as Strattera, Intuniv or Kapvay).
• a small increase in blood pressure and heart rate
• nausea and vomiting
• stomach aches
• trouble sleeping
It goes on to admit that Atomoxetine has also been linked to some more serious side effects that it's important to look out for, including suicidal thoughts and liver damage.
NHS Choices have been somewhat ‘conservative’ about how dangerous these ADHD drugs can be, and the harm they can cause to children. The dangers are certainly far greater than the NHS, or the Conventional Medical Establishment are prepared to admit.
To demonstrate the point, in a WDDTY report dated February 2005, listed following ‘side-effects’ of Ritalin (the most widely used ADHD drug), indicating just how damaging these drugs can be to young children.
- Rapid heart beat (palpitations, tachycardia)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Unusual heart rhythm (arrythmia)
- Heart attack (cardiac arrest)
Central Nervous System
- Altered mental status (psychosis)
- Depression or excitement
- Convulsions / seizures (excessive brain stimulation)
- Drowsiness or "dopey" feeling
- Lack of sleep (insomnia)
- Agitation, irritation, anxiety, nervousness
- Unhappiness (Dysphoria)
- Impaired mental abilities (cognitive impairment on tests)
- Jerky movements (Dyskinesias, tics, Tourette's syndrome)
- Nervous habits (such as picking at skin or pulling hair)
- Compulsive behaviour
- Decreased social interest
- Zombie-like behaviour
- Eating disorders (anorexia)
- Stomach ache, cramps
- dry mouth
- Abnormal liver function tests
- Growth problems (pituitary dysfunction)
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Hair loss
- Inflammation of the skin (dermatitis)
- Blood disorders (anorexia, leukoplacia)
- Involuntary discharge of urine (enuresis)
- Joint pain
- Unusual sweating
- Withdrawal and Rebound
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Evening crash
- Over-activity and irritability
- Worsening of ADHD-like symptoms
So Ritalin, and no doubt other ADHD drugs, can cause innumerable problems that are not openly admitted. And remember, these drugs are not offered as a ‘cure’, or even a treatment for the condition - they offer just an amelioration of some of the symptoms. And they normally have to be taken for many years.
For more information on just how dangerous ADHD drugs can be link to this ‘Dangerous Medical Drugs’ webpage.
Drugs that may have caused this illness (what drugs might have caused this disease?)
Most information sources on ADHD state that the causes of the disease are unknown! Whenever this statement is made, about this or any other disease, run for cover! There is a cover-up going on, and there is a need to look deeper! The causes may be known, but it is not in the financial interests of powerful social forces to admit them. Such is the case with ADHD.
First, there is the extent to which ADHD is prescribed when the child is genuinely ‘naughty’, and not ‘ill’ at all. Before drugging children, it is always best to use therapeutic technique, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Behaviour Therapy, Social Skills training, et al, which are designed to look into the social, emotional and behaviour of the child.
Once this has been discounted or corrected, there are many factors known, or suspected to cause ADHD, all relating to our modern environment.
- The use of Pesticides has been implicated, more present in the foods we eat now than ever before.
- Aspects of our modern diet, particularly highly processed, artificial foods and drinks. Sugar, artificial sweeteners, food colourings and additives have frequently been blame for hyperactivity. It has been suggested that GMO foods might also be implicated.
- Lead, and some toxic plastic materials, have also been implicated (WDDTY May 2010)
But the DIEs of conventional medical drugs also, almost inevitably, play a role.
- Anaesthesia is suspected of causing many forms of brain damage, including ADHD.
- Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) taken by mother’s when pregnant has been associated with ADHD. If this is so, then young children taking Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) may also be in danger. The drug is best avoided.
- Similarly, ADHD has been linked to mother’s who have taken Antidepressant drugs when pregnant.
- Amalgam teeth fillings (which contain the poison Mercury) have also been implicated (WDDTY December 2012)
Yet the drug most seriously implicated in causing the ADHD epidemic are vaccines, and in particular, the early childhood vaccines, DPT and MMR. And it is these links between Big Pharma drugs and disease that are the most ferociously resisted by the Conventional Medical Establishment, supporteded by our compliant mainstream media. Indeed, the link between vaccines and their toxic ingredients and other brain-based diseases, such as Autism, and Alzheimer’s Disease, appears to be impossible to discuss with the people who are in control of our so-called ‘Free Press’.
Yet the evidence supporting the link between vaccines and mental illnesses, including ADHD, is extremely strong, and below are a number of websites, most of them providing references to research, that outline this evidence.
A web search for “ADHD” “Vaccines” will come up with many similar websites, all pointing to the evidence that the Conventional Medical Establishment wants to deny.
Yet equally, the search will also come up with websites that deny any such link! There are strong and powerful vested interests that want to ensure that we continue to accept their drugs and vaccines, and their bland reassurances about their safety, so that they can continue to ply their very profitable business.
In particular, bogus and dishonest research was published in 2004 that (we were told) proved conclusively that there was no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. However, the lead researcher has now admitted, 10 years later, that he lied, and that important information was withheld in order to come to this conclusion!
The Conventional Medical Establishment knows drugs don’t work - but it continues to prescribe them anyway.
In days when the BBC were prepared to tackle serious health problems, the Panorama programme produced two programmes about ADHD, one in 2000, the other in 2007.
The programme, "What next for Craig", was shown on 12th November 2007. It stated that about ½ million young people then suffered from ADHD. Of these about 57,000 were taking drugs, costing the NHS about £28m each year. Many of these children had been on the drugs for many years. However these figures are estimates as, quite amazingly, the Department of Health did not know exactly how many children were taking Ritalin-type drugs!
The Panorama programme had a simple message. Craig had featured in the 2000 programme. At that time, drugs like Ritalin were said to be a more effective treatment than Psychotherapy. Apparently this belief arose from an MTA study undertaken in the USA that had studied 600 children over a year - a study described by one participant as "the best study done on planet earth". The study led to a three-fold increase in Ritalin prescriptions.
However, the MTA study continued to study the same children, and found that they suffered a decrease in the rate of growth, both in height and weight, whilst having no beneficial long-term effects on behaviour whatsoever!
So the 'best study done on planet earth' still managed to get it wrong, as with so many Big Pharma ‘wonder drugs’. So by 2007, the study was saying that psychotherapy was more efficient than drugs! As far as Craig was concerned, although drugs ‘calmed him down temporarily’, 7 years later there was no discernable difference in his behaviour.
After the lapse of a further 7 years, still nothing seems to have changed, and the Conventional Medical Establishment continues pursuing the same, failed treatments, quite regaredless of any evidence.
Craig’s family were still looking for doctors for help though. By then, Craig had been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs to control his ‘impulsive behaviour’. They were not working either, but apparently about 8,000 children were on Antipsychotic drugs in 2005.
So, if change is to secure it seems that parents and patients will need to make their own decisions, and take their own action. Our conventional doctors are not able, or willing to change their practice in the light of evidence.