Potential Danger With ADD/ADHD Medications

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07/30/2013
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Interviewer: Doctor, let's start by taking about behavior disorders. ADHD., things like that. Very prevalent it seems the days. Do we know exactly what causes those yet or, you know, a lot of people say they're just diagnosed better. Which way do we lean.

Dr. William Walsh Well there's been a constant debate over several decades whether nature versus nurture. And now it's becoming quite clearer that people with ADHD. or hyper activity or learning problems or even behavior problems. That they are born with a predisposition for these problems. And, yes there environmental influences that can make them more pronounced or less serious. But what it amounts to are inborn imbalances to brain chemistry. And it turns out that main stream medicine tries to correct these with medications and primarily amphetamines and stimulants. Such as Ritalin [SP], Adderall [SP]. But we now know they can be corrected quite nicely without drugs using individualized nutrient therapy. 

Interviewer: So if there's an imbalance can we test for that. Can we find a definite, yes, you have this issue. No, you don't. 

Dr. William Walsh Exactly right. We, it's a medical system and basically one has to do some blood and urine chemical testing along with a medical history to get knowledge of the patient. And that leads to diagnosis of chemical imbalance, if there is one. And that leads to the treatment. 

Interviewer: So what are some of the symptoms or warning signs that may be a little bit different than a kids that just, oh he just being a kid and he's active and things like that. What do you look for. 

Dr. William Walsh Well very often you don't find out that there's a really problem until they go to school. Cause when you have a kid in the twos, the threes and the fours they're all kind of, you  know. 

Interviewer: They're all problems. 

Dr. William Walsh Free spirits and but the time you really know is when the first time you go to a preschool or to kindergarten. And you start getting calls from the teacher all the time. And you hear about distract-ability, hyper activity, inability to focus and concentrate. And in some cases bad behavior. That really when a family usually finds out for the first time. 

Interviewer: And so what would make a parent look further into that.

Dr. William Walsh Well normally they would first go to their pediatrician. And the pediatrician would say, yeah, you have a problem. And they would refer them some place. And probably some place for an evaluation. Unless the school system provides evaluation. And they might get a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder. But then the question is what to do to try to re mediate it, help this child. 

Interviewer: So a lot of times it's prescription drugs are the answer to taking care of some of the children that have these problems. What are some of the more common prescription drugs that are prescribed for this.

Dr. William Walsh Well for about 40 or 50 years the mainstay has been Ritalin. And that's a drug that's aimed at enhancing dopamine activity in the brain which is considered to be the issue. And now there are other drugs, especially Adderall is becoming more popular. But basically there stimulant medications. 

Interviewer: OK.

Dr. William Walsh That have a sort of an opposite effect on hyper active kids which is interesting. If you give, you or I where to take a stimulant medication it would sort of hype us up. But if you take a hyper active child it may very well calm them down. 

Interviewer: So if they're, so why is that. What is it doing. What are those medications actually doing inside the body. 

Dr. William Walsh Well it has a lot to do with neurotransmitters, especially, serotonin, dopamine and norapenephron [SP]. And what they do is, they have a beneficial effect on many children but not all of them. Some children get worse. In the clinical work that I've done. I've worked with 5600 cases of ADHD. and these kids are very different. Some of them are lethargic, others are hyper active. Some have great behavior, others are oppositional defiant or possible even violent. So there's a great diversity and you have to find out specifically what kind of brain abnormalities they have, brain chemistry abnormalities. 

Interviewer: So there are a lot of time were you, were that's not determined and they're still just given the prescription drugs. 

Dr. William Walsh Yeah. Most of the patients we've seen who came to us for a more natural therapy. Had already been through the medication approach. And in some cases, many cases they said that it actually helped the academics but caused other problems. The number one complaint was loss of appetite and stunting of growth. There were a lot of children we saw who had growth charts were they stopped growing when they started the amphetamine. Other people said that it made them worse. And many cases there was a withdrawal effect if whenever they would go off the Ritalin or the Adderall or whatever the stimulant was. There would be some pretty nasty behavior for possible hours and some cases days. So there's a withdrawal effect from stopping these things.

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Find out what common ADD and ADHD prescription drugs do to the body and the potential dangers of those drugs. Dr. William Walsh is an expert in brain chemistry. He discusses the increasingly common problem of children on stimulant medication for behavior disorders.

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