Many thousands of children in Britain are being routinely prescribed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder drugs such as Ritalin. A staggering 389,000 prescriptions for ADHD medications were handed out by doctors in 2005; since then, these figures have nearly doubled. Furthermore, children under the age of six are being prescribed these stimulants against the guidelines issued both by the manufacturers and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), as reported in a recent article on Channel-4 news.
Kate Fallon, General Secretary of the Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP), said: “We are calling for an urgent national review of the use of psychotropic drugs, like Ritalin, and how they are being used, because we are concerned about the long-term effects on children’s brains.”
The majority of prescriptions for ADHD work to ease symptoms, which include inability to concentrate, hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, whilst these drugs can be effective in many cases, it must also be emphasised they are not positive in all, and the side effects experienced by the user can have serious, even devastating consequences. Darren Hucknall’s son Harry hanged himself last year when he was just 10 years old, having been prescribed Prozac for depression and Ritalin for ADHD. Speaking to Channel 4 News, Mr Hucknall explained how his son had “managed OK” before being put on the drugs, and when questioning his doctor about the need for such powerful drugs at such a young age was told that Harry had “a chemical imbalance in his brain.” While the coroner said that it was difficult to know whether the drugs had contributed to Harry’s death, he strongly queried the ethics of such practice.
A similar approach to a diagnosis of ADHD came across overwhelmingly in the film, with information on alternative treatment options and dietary advice given to the parents of these children almost nonexistent. N.H., from the West Midlands, stated that his son was first prescribed a psychotropic drug when he was five, without any offer of counselling or therapy before he was given the drugs, which again is against all national guidelines.
Focus on ADHD is a one-day event, taking place on June 23rd to highlight the role of nutrition and use of alternative treatments in the management of ADHD. Over a series of 6 talks the seminar aims to ‘arm’ practitioners, sufferers and parents and anyone who comes into contact with ADHD on the non-pharmaceutical methods known help manage the symptoms and improve the well-being and long-term health of those inflicted with this condition.
Speakers include Professor B.K. Puri, a consultant at Hammersmith Hospital who has carried out research into ADHD and treats adult ADHD using non-pharmaceutical approaches. Dr Darren Barnes-Heath is a chiropractor with a special interest in developmental neurology. Working in private practice he combines manual therapy, home-based exercise and nutritional advice. He has treated over 200 children with learning and behavioural difficulties and has taken his treatments into three schools. Finally Dr Nina Bailey is a nutrition scientist, who gives regular seminars on the role of dietary health and nutritional intervention using polyunsaturated fatty acids in managing neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD.
Low levels of omega-6 fatty acids in the plasma of ADHD sufferers can be related to physical health measures, while low omega-3 fatty acid status is generally associated with both behavioural problems and learning difficulties. Based on the known role of long chain polyunsaturated fat in ADHD symptomology, the conference focuses attention on the role of EPA and GLA, long chain fatty acids that are known to be of benefit in relief of symptoms including concentration difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Spaces are limited and therefore it is advisable to book your space in what promises to be an important enlightening event.
To reserve your booking, call +44(0)1223 358 600 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org