ADHD and Chemicals in Our Food

Understanding the Shifts in Human Nutrition – The Role of Chemicals (Part 1)

With last week’s article I began to touch on the subject of how our perceptions of food changed over the past few decades. I did this by pointing out how food was viewed in the past.
When asked to describe food as a category past generations would very likely have used the following words:
Scarce
Seasonal
Natural
Fresh
Hard work
It does not take a genius to work out that the words used above are a world away from how most of us would describe food today.
Our relationship with what we put in our mouths has been so radically altered that our forebears would probably have shaken their heads in amazement at our strange beliefs and habits.
The problem is that the changes in our perception had some pretty spectacular negative fallouts, the magnitude of which we are only now beginning to understand.
Yet understand them we must, because I firmly believe that many of our modern ailments, including many ADD/ADHD cases, can be traced back to poor food choices.
Over the next few weeks we will examine the impact of some of these choices by focussing on our modern ‘answers’ to perceptions about food listed above. This week we take a look at the wholesale abandoning of the belief that food should be natural.
It is very difficult to put something in your mouth these days without also taking in quite a few chemicals that were certainly not part of the original composition of your food source. There are several drivers behind this phenomenon. They include:
*‘Protection’ of food sources: Humankind has always tried to protect our food sources, this is evidenced in the fact that scarecrows date back millennia!
Modern man has taken this quest for protection much further by developing a vast array of powerful pesticides to protect food sources. Good crops resulted but at what price?
*The quest for ‘perfection’: Our forebears knew that the shape of a tomato makes no difference to its taste or nutritional value. Apparently we are not that smart! The quest towards ‘perfect’ products not only lead to massive wastage as tons of ‘less than perfect’ food are thrown away every year, it also lead to the application of many chemically based methods to produce uniform food products.

  • The hunt for profit: One of the easiest ways that a farmer can increaseprofits is through increased yield i.e. the more grain that you can harvest
    from a field, or the more meat you can cut from an animal, the more
    money you make. It is only a short step from this basic principle of
    economics to the use of tools like chemicals and/or growth hormones to
    make increased yield possible.

The result of all of this is that most of the food that we eat could hardly be described as ‘natural’ by any stretch of the imagination. Most people are not too fazed by this fact since they realize that they are only taking in a tiny amount of a given chemical or pesticide.
The problem is, however, that they are not taking into account the cumulative effect of such products. Most of the chemicals in our diet are completely unnatural and our bodies are therefore very ill equipped to deal with them. This could result in a build up of those chemicals in our system. Bottom line: A few bites of food with minute amounts of harmful chemicals will probably not do too much harm. Thousands of bites over an extended period is another matter however!
The damage that the chemicals in our food wreak does not stop at the plate. We might be getting infinitesimal amounts but the environment isn’t. Many scientists believe that the true extent of the pollution to soil and water sources caused by pesticides will affect human health for generations to come.
It is a sad irony that our society’s blind rush to an endless supply of perfect looking foods have yielded such, if you will pardon the pun, bitter fruits!
Our obsessions with wholesome looking food may have created visually appealing shop aisles but at what price?
Our grandparents used to say: “You are what you eat!” If this is the case then most modern people need to take a long hard look at the chemical composition of what is on their plates. This is especially relevant in the case of people dealing with the effects of ADD/ADHD.
When you consider that many cases of ADD/ADHD can be traced back to defective neurotransmitter activity and that neurotransmitters are extraordinarily sensitive to the influence of ‘foreign’ chemicals it just makes sense to carefully monitor the possible sources of such chemicals. With next week article I will try to help you to step up that monitoring as we take a look at some specific examples of harmful chemicals that enter our systems through mass produced food.
I will also make some suggestions on taking back control over the chemical content of your meals.

Developments That Have Led to the ADD/ADHD Diagnosis Crisis

The prevalence of the ADD/ADHD diagnosis does not definitely indicate that something is dreadfully wrong with the nation’s children, but rather that something has definitely changed. Although some cases of out-of-control children being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are most likely due to nutritional imbalances and deficiencies as well as allergies and sensitivities, a good number of cases are likely due to the fact that childrearing has changed.

Many supposed disorders are due to factors that influence the social, emotional, and environmental development of children. It is because of these factors that ADD/ADHD landed in the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a psychiatric disorder. In truth, it is likely that ADD/ADHD is not best described as a psychiatric disorder at all, but rather as more of a personality type. Continue reading “Developments That Have Led to the ADD/ADHD Diagnosis Crisis”

The Marketing of Madness: Intro- No Basis for ADD ADHD Drugs – Part 1

 
This video is an except from the video created by CCHR.org entitled, “The Marketing of Madness”
Although “3 Steps To Conquering ADD” takes a natural approach, we do not condemn those who decide that medication is the best choice for their family.
It is our goal to simply give you the facts and equip you to make the best choice for your family.
My parents were led to believe that my brother had a medical disease called Attention Deficit Disorder that requires a medication called Ritalin.
We have come to learn that this can be a false assumption that led to great heartache.
Over the past 10 years we have been showing people how to eliminate their ADD naturally.
“The Marketing of Madness” is created by the CCHR.org and takes a very harsh stance against psychology and medications.
“3 Steps To Conquering ADD” does not necessarily agree with all of the content of these videos.
There are some eye-opening facts that anyone considering taking medication for ADD ADHD should STRONGLY consider.
Transcript: [spoiler]
Man 1: Psychiatrists, drug companies, and even government agencies are entrusted with the safety of the drugs they put on the marketplace. And while they will reluctantly admit to most side effects of psychotropics, there is one more that they almost never mention.
Woman 1: Every single one of these drugs are addictive–psychologically and/or physically addictive.
Woman 2: They change your body’s makeup. They change your body, how it reacts to things. And so, even though people, their psychological state, they may be over their depression, they physically will need that drug still, and so that becomes the complication of getting them off.
Man 2: I have people come to me on a weekend, they run out of refills, and they say to me, “If I don’t take this drug, I’m going to get sick.” “If I don’t take this drug, I’m going to get sick.” We don’t talk about psychologically. We don’t talk about depression. We don’t talk about anxiety. “I am going to get sick if I don’t take this drug this weekend.” It has nothing to do with psychology.
Man 1: But listen to what some psychiatrists, questions at a recent APA conference, had to say about addiction.
Woman 3: How addictive are psychiatric drugs?
Woman 4: They aren’t. Only benzodiazepines.
Man 3: They’re not addictive at all.
Man 4: Antidepressants are not generally considered addictive.
Man 5: SSRIs are not addictive.
Man 6: Anti-psychotics, they don’t cause addiction.
Man 7: Major tranquilizers are all safe as far as addiction.
Man 8: The drugs that most of us are using in neuropsychiatry are not addictive at all.
Man 1: So who’s right? To find out, we need look no further than former patients with firsthand experience.
Man 9: The psychologists and psychiatrists, I went to both. They never told me that they would be addictive, they would cause me to have these thoughts.
Man 10: For sure, the psychiatric drugs I was on was addicting.
Man 11: Within six months to nine months, I was hooked.
Woman 5: Boy, Xanax, it had a hold of me. I was going through a bottle of pills every three or four days.
Man 12: I lost my job over it, over a prescription drug that’s not supposed to be addictive? Lost my job.
Man 13: The reality is that it is addicting. It will wreck a person’s life.
Man 1: This conflict on addiction all comes down to a definition of words. Most people think of addiction as an uncontrollable psychological or physical need for a certain substance. But not psychiatrists. They define addiction as the craving of a higher and higher dose of the same drug, while the uncontrollable need to keep taking the drug is categorized only as dependence. This is why psychiatrists will not admit that their drugs are addictive.
Man 14: In their definition, a very small percentage of people become addicted. The reality is a large percentage of people can’t get off these drugs. And they call that dependence. It’s all a matter of how they term it.
Man 15: When you look at addiction, it could be that their tolerance increases and their needs and wants to use the medications increase, or it could be simply, once they start on the medication, they’re not able to come off of it without help. They try to, and as soon as they try to come off the medications, they start to have symptoms that are unwanted and, obviously, keep them wanting to take the medications again.
Woman 6: When you explain to them how addictive it is, they are surprised, because they’re like, “Well, it’s a prescription.” So I do believe that a lot of people don’t really know harmful these meds are. They don’t view them as as dangerous as some of the street drugs.
Man 1: But many psychotropics have become street drugs, especially the class of drugs given to children diagnosed as having inattention or hyperactivity. Stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta are so habit-forming that they are listed by the US Drug Enforcement Administration as Schedule II drugs, highly addictive substances, on the same list as morphine and cocaine.
Man 16: Biochemistry and pharmacology of Ritalin is exactly the same as that of cocaine, except for the speed of onset.
Man 1: The similarity between Ritalin and Cocaine becomes obvious when considering the major problem of stimulant abuse in our schools, where tablets and Ritalin and its chemical cousin, Adderall, are taken recreationally by kids in schoolyards.
Child: Some of my friends took Ritalin and Adderall just to get high, that I’ve known throughout the years. Kids will chop that stuff up with a razor blade. It’s pure, man, pure drug. That’s why kids like it. They’d chop it up with a razor blade and snort it.
Man 17: My cousin Sammy had this Ritalin and we’d eat it, and we’d be able to stay up all night [laughs] and play video games. Pupils would dilate. It was just outrageous.
Man 18: Matter of fact, in eighth grade I got kicked out of school three days before we let out, for selling Ritalin and actually snorting lines in the back of the classroom. So yes, sir, it definitely caused me some problems there, and I definitely had people buying them from me, yes.
Man 1: This is no small problem. In 2006, researchers discovered that more than seven million Americans had misused stimulants, with 75, 000 American teenagers and young adults becoming addicted every year. Beyond just addicting its users, stimulants are also well-known as gateway drugs that lead to further addiction, to such street drugs as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
Woman 7: When you provide drugs in a manner which most of our children are being provided drugs, at an early age in life, only prepares that child to be on more drugs as they get older.
Man 1: And yet, in several recent publications, psychiatrists actually encourage children, labeled ADHD, to take stimulants to reduce future dependencies on cocaine and other street drugs. But evidence shows that not only is this theory unfounded, but the reverse is true.
Man 19: When I’ve spoken to people who are methamphetamine addicts, they said that the drug that they started taking, almost consistently, was Ritalin.
Man 20: The longer a child is on Ritalin, the more the likelihood that they may become addicted, whether it’s Ritalin or Concerta or Adderall, OK, or a number of other drugs.
Man 1: Stimulants aren’t the only psychotropic drugs carrying a high potential for addiction. Benzodiazepines, for example, are tranquilizers that can become addictive within 14 days. Take, for example, the benzodiazepine Xanax, which, after only five years on the market, was producing 1.5 million addicts every year. And getting off can be very difficult. Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include shakiness, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, memory and concentration problems, insomnia, agitation, panic, and anxiety.
Man 21: Some of the psych medicines, particularly the benzodiazepines, are some of the most addictive drugs there are in terms of the persistent withdrawal anxiety that these drugs cause.
Woman 8: I have been in the position of having to withdraw a number of people from benzodiazepines, that I didn’t put on them, obviously. And it’s difficult. It’s really difficult.
Woman 9: Prescription benzodiazepines, I think, are much more dangerous and much harder to come off of for the patients than the street drugs are.
Man 1: But survivors will tell you that benzodiazepines are not the only class of psychotropic drug that is extremely hard to with draw from.
Woman 10: I had about a 10 year time-frame in my life where I abused both street drugs and prescription drugs. The drugs that were the hardest to come off of, in my opinion, were the psychiatric medications. I mean worst to come off than a drug like heroin.
Man 22: Withdrawal symptoms from the psychiatric drugs just made my mind go crazy. I couldn’t think I couldn’t form coherent thoughts whatsoever.
Woman 10: Was racing, I had highs and lows, ups and downs, and hot and cold sweats.
Man 23: I went through seizures. I was sweating with night sweats so bad I was wetting my bed just from sweat.
Woman 11: I had tremors really bad. I joked but I looked like I had the end-stages of Parkinson’s Disease. But, you couldn’t even hold me still when I was going through withdrawals. My legs would shake, I couldn’t sleep.
Woman 12: No one in the world should have to go through what I went through in my opinion and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Man 1: Even newborns born to women taking psychotropic’s while pregnant can undergo withdrawal. These infants could experience irritability, hyperactivity, abnormal sleep patterns, vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to gain weight.
But, it is the amplification of certain side effects caused by withdrawal from psychotropic’s that can have a disastrous affect on the individual.
Woman 13: Now, the person stops taking the drug and the affects of the withdrawal or the affects of stop taking the drug are increased and amplified symptoms like the depression or suicide ideas or et cetera.
Man 24: They have tremendous mood swings. They invariably get violent and they cannot control their emotions.
Man 25: You’re very depressed, you’re suicidal, you’re hallucinating, you’re psychotic, and you’re crazy, any/or. You’re manic when you stop taking your medication.
Man 1: This is why improper withdrawal from SSRI antidepressants, in particular, has been shown to trigger mood swings and uncontrollable anger which have been implicated in many recent killing sprees.
In May 1998, for example, 15 year-old Kip Kinkel had just stopped taking Prozac when he shot and killed both his parents. Then, went on a shooting rampage at his Oregon High School where he murdered two more and wounded 25.
In November 2007, Peka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed eight at his school north of Helsinki, Finland. Earlier that fall, he had either reduced or stopped using the antidepressant he was prescribed for social anxiety.
Valentines Day 2008, Northern Illinois University, Steven Kazmierczak walked into a crowded lecture hall and opened fire; killing five and wounding 18. A few weeks earlier, he too had abruptly stopped taking his antidepressant.
But, rather than acknowledging that tragedies such as these are the result of withdrawal of highly psychotropic drugs, the customary response of psychiatrists is to blame the lack of the drug for what they claim is the return of the mental illness.
Woman 14: When a psychiatrist says that well, the reason way they’re feeling that way when they get off the drugs is because, “See, that shows you how bad they really need the drug.” Here’s the deal, there’s no way that that’s true.
Man 26: The reality is when they stop the drug they get depressed or they have withdrawal effects of various types. The reason they’re having those affects is because it’s a withdrawal effect from the drug.
Man 27: All you need to do is you need to sit down and listen to anyone who’s been on these medications and wants to come off them. You listen to their story, and you listen to what they’re going through, why they want to come off them and that’s it. The conversation stops, the debate ends.
Robin: My name is Robin and currently I am withdrawing from lorazepam and I am at the 0.4 mg dose. Today I was totally exhausted. I’ve had four nights, two and that two nights of insomnia and then a good nights sleep and then two nights of insomnia.
I was just hoping I can sleep better tonight, didn’t sleep good last night. As you can see, today I don’t care. I did not get ready and my wave went down. I’m down in the valley today.
One of the side affects are withdrawal symptoms for lorazepam can be night sweats or hot flashes, a little light-headed, kind of dizzy, anxiety, sore throat, weepy, very, very tired, grouchy, just overwhelmed, distraught, and distressed.
I began to experience suicidal thoughts. I think I’ve said a little bit to my husband but he was already worried enough. This is really the first time I’m saying something about it. I feel like I could have a nervous break-down.
There’s just times I hit a brick wall and I just can’t do it any more. It’s going to take another, what, maybe 18, 19, or 20 weeks to get off of it. That is very overwhelming to me. I’m weary today and this is how I used to be for many weeks with lorazepam.
That’s the hardest thing; you are trapped into living it out the way you have to live it out in order to be safe. So, that’s frustrating, I just want my life back. That’s where I am today.
Man 1: It took months for Robin to wean herself off just one of her psychiatric drugs and addiction specialists agree that slowly withdrawing is the only safe way.
Woman 15: You just can’t just cut people off from these drugs. Sometimes it can take up to a year or more depending on the person and how long they’ve been on the drug and how we wean them off.
Woman 16: You can’t stop these drugs cold turkey. No, I would never advise anybody to just stop them. They need to be under the care of a medical practitioner.
Man 28: When some of my patients come in and they talk to me about getting off psychiatric medications, I really caution them not to just stop their drugs cold turkey because that can really send them into a tail-spin.
Woman 17: The data is right there. It’s going to cause the symptoms that it causes, it’s going to have withdrawal effects and they know it. There’s not a psychiatrist that doesn’t know it.
Man 1: Yet, psychiatrists tell us that psychotropic drugs are the only way to keep people from insanity and alleviate mental distress. But, is this really the case or are there other choices effective, inexpensive, and drug-free that could accomplish all the empty promises left broken and unfulfilled by psychiatry?
[/spoiler]

ADD and Becoming Productive – Part 1

One of the hardest things for a person with ADD to do is to “get” and “stay” productive.
Remember the ADD brain is on overload. It doesn’t always know how to filter important stimuli from all of the rest distractions. The result? You can’t pay appropriate attention to anything!
Understanding that concept gives you further insight into why productivity is often very difficult for a person with ADD to achieve and maintain.
But is it entirely possible for you to be overwhelmed with your “TO DO” list and still get things done in an efficient manner.
How do you do that? In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, author David Allen, says that we stress ourselves out to the extent that everything seems like an urgent matter, and in the wake of fretting about all o fit, we end up getting very little done!
Add to that our ADD organizational weaknesses, and you have a fine mess on your hands!
David Allen maintains that even those of us with the worst organizational abilities can find new ways of getting things done. In fact, he believes that it is possible for us to be productive and relaxed at the same time.
Sounds to good to be true, doesn’t it?
Allen first suggests that you take an inventory of your life.
What do you value most? Time with your family? A job well done? Free time?
Whatever it is, he says that this will give you an edge to deciding how to go about getting your life organized.
In other words, when you realize what is the most important to you, you begin to see tasks differently.
You are better able to determine what is keeping you from doing what you value most and you can find a way to change.
He has devised the “five stages of mastering workflow” to help you get started:
*Collect
*Process
*Organize
*Review
*Do
For this article, let’s talk about the first stage.
What are all of the things that demand our attention?
For most of us, the list seems to never end. But it is important to know how to collect those things in order to process them and begin to get some sort of hold on them.
First, try to define what items on your “To Do” list require some sort of action – i.e., emails, letters, etc.
These are “incomplete” items that take up a lot of worry space in your brain and can actually keep you from moving ahead because you are too overwhelmed to do anything!
In order to manage what he calls “incompletes,” you will need a collection process.
A collection process is merely a way to organize these items into a system that resides outside of your brain. This includes both low- and high-tech tools such as:
Paper Calendars: to put items that require attention by a certain time
Paper and Pads: notebooks, pads, spiral notebooks, etc. to help you keep “To Do” lists, random ideas, shopping lists
In-Baskets: easy and basic way to “sort” your items into a system that makes sense to you (i.e., a basket or tray for bills, letters that need a response, phone calls, etc.)
Electronic Note-Taking: the computer, PDA, your phone
Auditory Capture: perhaps by using a voice recorder on your phone or a handheld microcassette recorder
E-mail: to send yourself a reminder, organize your emails for responding, etc.
Whatever you use, the most important thing to remember is that you MUST get all of this information out of your head and somewhere externally.
And don’t let your system become so elaborate that it is nonfunctional. Too many in-baskets, for example, will tend to cause you to become even slower in your productivity.
The other factor in collecting is to make sure you empty your “buckets” of items on a regular basis.
You need not finish everything to “empty” it, but you do need to look at an item, decide what needs to be done, and then either do it or decide what action needs to be taken.

How to Start Each Day Right [Video]

In this video I share “How to start each day right”
Although many of these tips are very basic and common sense, they can make a huge difference.
Please try them and let me know how this helps eliminate your ADD ADHD symptoms naturally!

Let Them Choose their own Labels!

It’s time for us to start rejecting the labels that
our medical industry has invented for the sole
purpose of profit.

When someone labels you, they are trying to
put you in a box that they can understand and
“treat”

I am quite certain our creator has made each of us
wonderful and unique…

Each with a profound capacity for greatness.

please share this video 🙂

Have a great day!

Jon Bennett

The Dangers of Using Ritalin and Other Stimulant Medications for the Treatment of ADD/ADHD

“America now uses 90% of the world’s Ritalin – more than five times the rest of the world combined.” – Peter Breggin, M.D, Talking Back to Ritalin • Current statistics indicate that as many as 10% of the nation’s children have been diagnosed as having ADD/ADHD. • More than five million children are taking Ritalin or another stimulant medication for the treatment of ADD/ADHD. • Hundreds of children every year receive, or take, doses of stimulant medications that are too high, resulting in overdose. • Children aged six through nine are at the greatest risk for overdose. As school officials, medical professionals, and other caretakers pressure parents to put their children on medication for the management of ADD/ADHD, few take the time to inform parents what the use of stimulant medications as a daily maintenance medication entails. Stimulant medications such as Ritalin, when given to children, are far more dangerous than parents are being led to believe. Stimulant medications produce far more than mere side effects, they endanger the lives of children by producing a host of dangerous health problems and risks by damaging the functioning of the cardiovascular system, central nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and more. These dangers include: Cardiovascular System Rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, and heart attack. Central Nervous System Altered mental status, hallucinations, convulsions, seizures, convulsions, depression, excitement, agitation, irritation, anxiety, nervousness, hostility, nervousness, compulsive behavior, tics, jerky movements, tourette’s, drowsiness, confusion, lack of sleep, unhappiness, depression, over-sensitivity, decreased social interest, zombie-like mannerisms, impaired mental abilities. Gastrointestinal Eating disorders, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, and cramps, dry mouth, constipation, growth problems, and endocrine and metabolic disorders. Other Blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, excessive sweating, incontinence, fever, joint pain, blood disorders, rash, conjunctivitis, hives, skin inflammation, and hair loss. Withdrawal and Rebound Worsening of symptoms, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, irritability, over-activity, and stimulant “crash”. Ritalin may be more potent than cocaine! Although in pill form, Ritalin does not produce the immediate stimulant effects as cocaine, addicts that crush and inject Ritalin have found the “rush” to be just as pleasant. One European study found that, even though encapsulated Ritalin (pill form) didn’t produce an immediate rush, once metabolized, the drug occupies more dopamine receptors than cocaine does. In essence, Ritalin has more of an effect on brain receptors than cocaine. An article published in the New York Times asks the questions “Is it appropriate, ethicists and pediatricians ask, to medicate children without a clear diagnosis in the hope that they will do better in school? Should the drug be given to adults who may complain that they are failing in their careers or are procrastinators? Are the ends worthy of the means?” And an article published in the January 2005 issue of Pediatrics stated, “There remain large discrepancies between pediatricians’ practice patterns and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for the assessment and treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” If the medical community can’t come to a consensus regarding how to diagnose ADD/ADHD, then why are they making across-the-board decisions as to how to treat individuals who have been diagnosed with the disorder?   In light of the growing controversy surrounding the diagnosis, and increasing misdiagnosis, of ADD/ADHD and the questionable administration of stimulant medications as a form of treatment, it is wise to proceed with caution whenever symptoms might lead to such a diagnosis. Some good rules to follow whenever ADD/ADHD might be suspected are: • Never assume that ADD/ADHD is the correct diagnosis. Never insist that a medical professional issue a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD on observations alone. • Never accept a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD on face value alone. A diagnosis that has been delivered without eliminating the possibility of another disorder, nutritional imbalance, or food allergies and sensitivities is not a real diagnosis. A real diagnosis never involves a lets-try-this-medication-and-see-if-it-helps approach. • If ADD/ADHD does indeed appear to be the appropriate diagnosis, never automatically administer maintenance medications such as stimulants without exploring other possibilities first. The side effects and dangers involved in administering ADD/ADHD medications, especially to a child, are just far too great to take the risk. • Never fall for the quick fix. Any fad diagnosis that causes society to turn immediately and without question to the latest popular solution that offers a quick fix – in this case, stimulant medications – should be suspect. An educated individual is one who is best able to make intelligent decisions regarding his or her own medical treatment, or regarding the treatment of children.

Problems with American Education System for ADD ADHD Children

Problems with American Education System for ADD ADHD Children

The education system is not designed to allow for ADD ADHD children to flourish. They are often mislabeled and pressured into taking ADD ADHD drugs.

Dr. Mate explains why standardized testing penalizes the best teachers.


Transcript


AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Gabor Maté, there’s a whole debate about education in the United States right now. How does this fit in?

DR. GABOR MATÈ: Well, you have to ask, “How do children learn?” And learning is an attachment dynamic as well. You learn when you want to be like somebody. So you copy them, you learn from them. You learn when you’re curious, and you learn when you’re willing to try something. And if it doesn’t work, you try something else.

Now, here’s what happens: caring about something, and being curious about something, and recognizing that something doesn’t work, you have to have a certain degree of emotional security. You have to be able to be open and vulnerable. Children who become peer-oriented —because the peer world is so dangerous and so fraught with bullying and ostracization, and “dissing,” and exclusion and negative talk- how does a child protect himself or herself from all of that negativity in the peer world? Because children are not committed to each others’ unconditional, loving acceptance. Even adults have a hard time giving that. Children can’t do it. Those children become very insecure, and emotionally, to protect themselves, they shut down. They become hardened, so they become “cool.” Nothing matters, “cool” is the ethic.

You see that in the rock videos: it’s all about cool. It’s all about aggression and cool and no real emotion. Now, when that happens, curiosity goes because curiosity is vulnerable. Because you care about something and you’re admitting that you don’t know. You won’t try anything because if you fail, again, your vulnerability is exposed. So, you’re not willing to have trial and error. And, in terms of who you’re learning from, as long as kids are attaching to adults, they are looking to the adults to be modeling themselves on, to learn from, and to get their cues from.

Now, kids are still learning from the people they’re attached to, but now it’s other kids. So you have whole generations of kids who are looking to other kids now to be their main cue-givers. So teachers have an almost impossible problem on their hands. And unfortunately, in North America again, education is seen as a question of academic pedagogy. Hence these terrible standardized tests. And the very teachers who work with the most difficult kids are the most penalized.

AMY GOODMAN: Because if they don’t have good standardized test scores in their class, they could be fired. They are seen as bad teachers, which means that they’re going to want to kick out any the difficult kids.

GABOR MATÉ: Yes. That’s exactly it. The difficult kids are kicked out and teachers will be afraid to go into neighborhoods because of troubled family relationships- that kids are having difficulties, that kids are peer oriented, that kids are not looking to the teachers. And this is seen as a reflection. So actually, teachers are being slammed right now because of the failure of the American society to produce the right environment for child development.

AMY GOODMAN: Because of the destruction of American childhood.

Original Article – http://www.democracynow.org/seo/2010/11/24/dr_gabor_mat_on_adhd_bullying

The Misuse of ADHD Meds by College Students

The misuse and abuse of medications prescribed for ADHD has become a widespread problem. In December, 2007, the findings of the largest study of its kind were released. In 2001, almost 11,000 students from 119 nationally representative 4-year colleges in the US were questioned about their non-medical use of stimulant medications. Every participant was assured that personal identities would not be revealed so that responses would be open and honest. Continue reading “The Misuse of ADHD Meds by College Students”