Millions of children in our country are being diagnosed with ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and millions are being treated with stimulant drugs such as ritalin to control their behavior. What most people don't realize is that this is often the method by which youngsters enter the medication system.

According to the FDA, stimulant drugs have PRIMARY effects in at least 20% of children who have no identifiable risk factors. These effects include violent and aggressive behavior, suicidal tendency and zombie-like states. These drugs promote psychosis and mania...which can lead to a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder.

The use of anti-psychotic medications for children, which is extemely dangerous, is on the rise in a frightening degree. A case documented in Texas recently depicts a 4 and a half year old on Prozac! Another case shows the pattern of increased medication for a young boy, starting with Ritalin at age 7 and including nearly 20 different drugs over the next 5 years. His life ended at age 12, due to toxicity from medications (he was on 5 different ones at the time).

Children in lower income status are most vulnerable to this tragedy, as the Medicaid system readily approves drug therapy and parents are often uneducated about the dangers of giving young kids such powerful medications. Is it coincidence that children existing in this level of society are also experiencing a higher rate of obesity, malnutrition, and diabetes?

Cognitive behavioral approaches, including hypnotherapy, have been proven to provide drugfree and side-effect free solutions for children with problems of concentration and relaxation. Sometimes changing the learning environment, dealing with home issues, adding an activity such as the martial arts or music/art program is enough to get a young person balanced. I urge anyone who is told their child is ADHD to seek out additional opinions and use drug therapy as an absolute last resort!