Chances are you've been prescribed antidepressants or know someone who has. According to the Centers for Disease Control, eleven percent of Americans over the age of 12 take antidepressants. Between 1996 and 2005 alone, the number of people taking antidepressants doubled to 27 million.
Concurrent with this pharmaceutical boom, we have also seen the rise of the ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) diagnosis. According to the National Institute of Mental health, 3 to 5 percentof kids have ADHD, but some experts believe that figure could be as high as 10 percent. Yet there are no lab tests to confirm ADHD in children or adults. Instead, doctors rely on the patient's response to questions, the family's description of behavior problems and a school assessment. Once a diagnosis has been made and the patient is put on ADHD medication, the medications usually have troubling side effects. Those may include headaches, upset stomach, dizziness, toxic psychosis and even death, among others.
Many individuals are reporting that diagnoses for depression and ADHD - along with their attendant pharmaceutical treatments - are being handed out like candy. "I don't think you can make a diagnosis of depression in a 10-minute doctor visit, you just can't," said Dr. James Parker, a child psychiatrist at Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. Frank Barnhill, M.D. is a family physician and author of "Mistaken for ADHD". He writes, "Insurance companies often try to squeeze the last penny of profit out of medical care and push doctors even harder to provide that care in less time and for lower costs."
Kerri Kasem knows this experience personally. The radio host was battling depression
in her early 20s when she sought medical attention for it. "I'd get really high highs and really low lows," she says. "The doctors wanted to put me on drugs. I walked into an office and 20 minutes later, with him asking me just a couple questions, he told me I had ADD and he gave me Ritalin. He didn't ask me if I had any food allergies or 'What's your diet like?' There was not one question about my health."
Trusting his advice, she began taking Ritalin, but "at the end of one week, I was so sick that I gave him back his drugs... I felt ill." Kasem decided to have her blood tested and learned she had some pressing nutritional issues. "I was very low on iron, I didn't have enough vitamin D. I had all these deficiencies. So I started taking supplements. I got off the sugar completely and that included all the pastas and breads. All of a sudden, my brain started working a little better."
She started taking supplements for the brain and noticed a marked improvement in her ability to focus. "My head was like a calculator; I was quick on my feet. I never had that before." This prompted her to research possible food allergies, and she discovered that she was allergic to gluten. After eliminating gluten, her thinking became even clearer. These changes proved to be a professional game changer for her too. "I can do radio!" she realized. "I wanted to do talk radio more than anything. It was something I wanted to do but I never thought I could." With her new focus, Kasem began interning at radio stations and taking classes. She's now been doing radio since 1997, and you can hear her on the K-pod and Sixx Sense. She is a wellness advocate who promotes natural approaches to disease such as juicing, and eating a plant-based diet. Kasem reflects, "There's always another option, despite what the doctors say."Sources for this article include:http://thechart.blogs.cnn.comhttp://thekpod.com/?p=2900http://holisticvoice.org/kerri-kasem-vegan/About the author:
) Allison Biggar is a writer and filmmaker who believes in using the media to empower people to make a difference. Currently, she is directing a documentary on people who have cured themselves of disease naturally without drugs, surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
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