See if you think these controversial tips are as unhelpful as I do. This piece will be delivered as a mock debate. This article is being adapted from a specific article that is on Webmd.com.
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Dr. Etka’s disclaimer – reading this article it became painfully obvious that the majority of ‘tips’ were nothing more than changing the medication delivery. Yes, there are a few natural attempts at helping, but I was struck by the complete focus on drugs being the only real solution. My mission has always been to stand up against that in my life and my client’s lives; standing up for finding a better more natural way. ( it is your job to make the decision to talk to your MD about your medications )
So, here are the WebMd tips vs. Dr. Etka tips:
WebMd – Decreased appetite: If your child’s appetite wanes after taking ADHD medicine, give the dose after breakfast so that he or she will eat better in the morning. Serve a large dinner in the evening, when the drug is beginning to wear off. Keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand; a balanced diet with nutritious, higher-calorie foods and drinks will help to offset any weight loss from the ADHD drug. If your child’s poor appetite lasts for a long period, ask the doctor about reducing the dose or stopping the drug on weekends or summer breaks to allow appetite to return to normal.
Dr. Etka – people are well aware of the loss of appetite and possible weight loss that comes with many ADHD meds. Throughout the day set up reminders for the patient to eat the healthy snacks, talk with teachers about allowing a special ‘snack’ time, immediately after school have food ready to eat or drink a smoothie that has protein. Without eating the blood sugar fluctuations cause brain trouble. Not to mention when the drugs wear off, which we’ll talk about below.
WebMd – Stomach pain or upset: Don’t give your child medicine on an empty stomach. “For any GI discomfort, taking the medication with or immediately after food will make a very big difference,” Pakyurek says.
Dr. Etka – This tip makes me chuckle. Since it is so obvious let’s take it a step further. There’s a growing amount of research evidence about the digestive system being different in people with ADHD. One in particular states “The study of more than 700,000 children found that constipation nearly tripled and fecal incontinence increased six-fold among kids with ADHD”. By adding digestive enzymes, we have found that patients begin to improve, along with keeping a food journal and charting their progress.
WebMd – Sleep problems: Set up a regular bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities, such as bathing or reading. If a stimulant type of ADHD medication prevents your child from sleeping well, ask the doctor about taking the drug earlier in the day or switching from a long-acting to a shorter-acting form . Ask, too, about reducing the dose or stopping the drug in the afternoon to help your child sleep at bedtime.
Dr. Etka – I love the first sentence. The human body loves rhythm. Breathing, walking, heart beating, blinking, sleep cycles. Keeping a solid bedtime routine helps the body to fall asleep. Some people have used melatonin as a sleep aid. Melatonin is a chemical secreted by your brain during REM sleep. It’s important that we get it. It’s not so much a sleep aid, as it is a brain aid. If you have an essential oil diffuser, you can use lavender or a Serenity creating blend to help relax the person to fall asleep easier.
WebMd – Daytime drowsiness: If the ADHD drug atomoxetine (Strattera) is making your child sleepy during the day, ask about giving the drug at bedtime instead of in the morning. You can also check with the doctor about lowering the dose or dividing the dose and giving it twice a day.
Dr. Etka – Not a single MD knows which drug will work for which patient. Does this mean that the child can only be regulated with drugs, day and night? Seriously?! I was put on Strattera for a short time when I was in my late 20’s. I did not use it for long. I would definitely recommend talking to the Dr about this one. The ADHD Brain works very fast, it should not be falling asleep during the day. I do suggest taking breaks after hyper-focused work, maybe a nap, but this would be on purpose to rejuvenate, not because of drug weariness.
WebMd – Rebounding effects: When ADHD drugs wear off in the afternoon or evening, some children have more ADHD symptoms or irritability. To prevent this “rebounding,” ask your child’s doctor about using a longer-lasting medication or taking a small dose of fast-acting stimulant later in the day.
Dr. Etka – Again, the tips is to take more medication? Drugs can do 2 things, make something go up or make it go down. When it wears off, we are all aware of the wave of symptoms and uncontrolledness that happens. Plan ahead for this. Eat something 30 minutes before the time the drug typically wears off, and/or let the person be outside, or being active, not engaged in doing things that require a lot of mental effort or self-control. We don’t want to raise kids thinking they can only ‘Be’- by having chemicals inside them. That’s just asking for trouble.
WebMd – Mood changes: Keep an eye out for changes in your child’s mood. If you see changes, such as lessened emotional expression or suicidal thinking, alert your child’s doctor right away.
Dr. Etka – ‘When’ not ‘if’. I’ve lost count of how many stories I’ve heard and dealt with concerning this issue. Talk to the person with ADHD, have them tell you what they feel, how they feel, and be very vigilant of their language and tone. As far as emotions go, it’s important to begin a program of improving their ability to handle emotions correctly and function in society.
WebMd – Heart problems: Since there have been rare reports of serious heart problems in patients taking ADHD drugs, tell your child’s doctor about any heart problems in the family. “If there’s any history of significant heart problems, the physician may closely monitor, particularly if they’re using stimulants. Or they may even decide to get an EKG to make sure that the child does not have any cardiac problem,” Pakyurek says.
Dr. Etka – The words ‘serious’ and ‘significant’ aren’t defined in this tip. That makes me nervous. I would have a conversation with the MD about what those terms mean. These drugs do change the hearts electrical activity – be sure of that.
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