Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coffee and ADHD?

                        Did anyone catch Good Morning America today?  A mom, who suspects her son has ADHD (there’s been no formal diagnosis, but she stated that her son is very active and has trouble concentrating and finishing tasks. . . .) gives him two, four ounce cups of coffee, each day.  She says it calms him down and helps him to focus.
                        Well, according to GMA, this has the “Mommy Blogs buzzing” with many people questioning this mother’s actions.
                        Really??  You have got to be kidding me.  How can giving a child eight ounces of coffee a day (that’s just one cup) be controversial when giving a child a drug like Ritalin raises few, if any, concerns?
            Understand a couple of things.  First, Ritalin, and drugs like it such as Concerta and Adderall, are STIMULANTS designed to control impulsivity.  Thus, the caffeine in the coffee is most likely just acting in the same manner.  Indeed, the literature talks about many adults “self-medicating” with caffeine.
Second, and far more importantly, amphetamines like Ritalin, can have VERY serious side-effects.  Aside from the fact that Ritalin is in the same drug classification as cocaine (and, you can check this out), Ritalin, and drugs like it, have been associated with stroke, chromosome damage, and even death.  And, let’s not even mention the other psychotropic medications (including antidepressants) that often are prescribed for these kids.
New research points out the benefits of dietary changes and supplementation when it comes to treating disorders like ADHD.  Cut out the artificial sweeteners, the artificial colors, cut back on the sugar, and see what happens.  Look into supplementation, especially with essential fatty acids.  Talk to a nutritionist with experience in this field, and find out what a difference diet can make.  (Not the first time this was discussed:
Kudos to this mom for finding something far safer than heavily controlled, often abused, pharmaceutical concoctions to help her son.

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