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The Truth About ‘ADHD’ That Should Prevent Parents From Needlessly Drugging Their Child

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is a “disorder” that currently affects 5 to 10 percent of all children, and that’s just in America alone. Recent surveys conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control found that: (source)

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  • Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.
  • The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011.
  • Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 [Read article] and an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011.
  • Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.
  • The average age of ADHD diagnosis was 7 years of age, but children reported by their parents as having more severe ADHD were diagnosed earlier.
  • Prevalence of ADHD diagnosis varied substantially by state, from a low of 5.6% in Nevada to a high of 18.7% in Kentucky.

What Exactly Are We Dealing With Here?

One big problem we are dealing with is the label of ADHD itself. By simply treating characteristics of ADHD as a disability (something we so commonly see in education) we are destroying the potential and self esteem of so many children.  Diagnosing a child with a mental disorder based on their lack of ability and/or desire to pay attention in a classroom seems absurd, doesn’t it?

In fact, in my opinion it’s down right crazy. Not wanting to, or not having the ability to pay attention to information that does not nourish the soul, spark the heart or capture the mind is in no way characteristic of a mental disability, but something that seems completely normal. Perhaps we should stop looking at the student and focus more on the environment we surround our children with? If it’s not stimulating enough for some students, that does not mean they have a mental disorder and should be given harmful medications.

Some of these children will be in their own world and downright refuse to pay attention, trying to amuse themselves any way they possibly can, doing what they want to do and not what others tell them to do. These children have become targets for pharmaceutical companies and targets for what might very well be a false labeling campaign based on very little science.

Characteristics associated with ADHD are in no way a “disability.” In fact, there is evidence to suggest that these characteristics might be more associated with “abilities” that should be placing many of these children in gifted school programs instead of special education programs. Unfortunately, new data from the National Center for Learning Disabilities shows that only 1 percent of students who receive services for their apparent “learning disabilities” (some of which are completely and unquestionably valid) are enrolled in gifted or talented programs. The report concluded that “students with learning and attention issues are shut out of gifted and AP programs, held back in grade level and suspended from school at higher rates than other students.” (1)

This is a pretty disturbing characteristic, and what makes it even more disturbing is the fact that recent work in cognitive neuroscience shows that both creative thinkers, and those with an ADHD diagnosis show difficulty in suppressing brain activity that comes from the “Imagination Network.” (2)(3) There are no school assessments that provide evaluation on creativity and imagination, these are hard to draw up and measure and receive very little attention in our education systems.

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In fact, something that’s touched upon in the paragraph below, a tremendous amount of research shows that people who show characteristics of ADHD are more likely to reach higher levels of creative thought and achievement compared to those who don’t show these characteristics.(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9) Research also shows that these characteristics are associated with the broadening of attention, and those who have them tend to have a mental “filter.” In other words, it’s their choice what they chose to give their attention to, and they are very selective and stern when it comes to that.

Scott Barry Kaufman, the  Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania says that :

“Of course, whether this is a positive thing or a negative thing depends on the context. The ability to control your attention is most certainly a valuable asset; difficulty inhibiting your inner mind can get in the way of paying attention to a boring classroom lecture or concentrating on a challenging problem. But the ability to keep your inner stream of fantasies, imagination, and daydreams on call can be immensely conducive to creativity. By automatically treating ADHD characteristics as a disability– as we so often do in an educational context– we are unnecessarily letting too many competent and creative kids fall through the cracks.” (source)

Another interesting piece of information to note is that in 2004, an author by the name of Gary Davis reviewed a large portion of literature from 1961 to 2003 and identified 22 recurring personality traits of creative people, most of which were very positive and associated with the same personality traits as people who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Some of these traits included: independence, risk taking, high energy, curiosity, humor, emotional and artistic. Some of the negative ones included: impulsive, argumentative and hyper active. He published his findings in his book “Creativity is Forever.”

It’s not the children, they do not have a disability of any kind. They simply have a different way of learning, and with a lack of differentiated instruction in modern day education systems, having a child spend 8 hours a day in such a non-stimulating environment is wrong.

The solution isn’t feeding our children drugs that have been proven to be extremely harmful in multiple ways so that a child is almost forced to pay attention and listen, but rather changing the environment that surrounds the student to make it more simulating and exciting. This is a tough task in modern day education, and something educational institutions struggle with on a daily basis.

These children do not need to be singled out and labelled with something that might be completely fictitious.

Is ADHD Even Real? 

When I was in school I received this diagnosis, alongside a learning disability and more. As a child I always knew I was perfectly fine, that everything I did and what I decided to pay attention to was simply my choice. I always felt that none of the labels and the explanations that accompanied them were valid at all, and I personally refused to take any medication that was being recommended to me. I am very glad I didn’t.

I am also a qualified, certified teacher for grades 7-12. Through volunteer as well as work experience my views on this subject matter did not change at all, but strengthened.  I have interacted with these children, as well as those within special education programs (with multiple “disabilities) and the way we label/view them is (in my opinion) completely 100 percent backwards and does nothing but harm. The labels and descriptions alone that education uses to define these kids is even worse.

The fact that children who “have trouble” paying attention to what they are not interested in are diagnosed and placed into the disability category simply based on observation alone is a frightening thought, and I am glad I’m not the only one who has asked this question.

There are many examples, and one of the most recent comes from Neurologist Dr Richard Saul.  Richard Saul is a neurologist who has had a long career in examining patients who have been having trouble with short attention spans and an inability to focus. From his first hand experience, he feels that ADHD is nothing more than a fake disorder that is really only an umbrella of symptoms and not actually a disease. He strongly feels that it should not be listed as a separate disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual. You can read more about that here.

“We have a habit of always seeing issues in people who don’t fit in with the system. Whether they don’t want to be in standard education, don’t want to work their whole lives or have trouble focusing on things they don’t like, we tend to label this as a problem, but is it? Maybe we just don’t look within enough to figure out what might really be going on or why we are living the way we do. Perhaps it is time we let go of the idea of having to “fit in” to something that doesn’t resonate rather than labelling it as a disorder.” – Joe Martino, Founder of Collective Evolution.

It’s also important to note that, according to an article written in the The German Weekly, the founding father of ADHD, American psychiatrist Leon Eisenberg in a death bed interview said that “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease.” The article was written by Der Spiegel and has made its way around the web for years. I cannot however completely verify that this statement was actually true. (10)

It’s also important to note the pharmaceutical drug aspect into this equation. For (one small out of many) example(s), American psychologist Lisa Cosgrove and others investigated Financial Ties between the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM) panel members and the pharmaceutical industry. They found that, of the 170 DSM panel members 95 (56%) had one or more financial associations with companies in the pharmaceutical industry. One hundred percent of the members of the panels on ‘mood disorders’ and ‘schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders’ had financial ties to drug companies. The connections are especially strong in those diagnostic areas where drugs are the first line of treatment for mental disorders. In the next edition of the manual, it’s the same thing. (11)(12)

“The DSM appears to be more a political document than a scientific one. Each diagnostic criteria in the DSM is not based on medical science. No blood tests exist for the disorders in the DSM. It relies on judgments from practitioners who rely on the manual.” (11) – Lisa Cosgrove, PhD, Professor of Counseling and School Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The very vocabulary of psychiatry is now defined at all levels by the pharmaceutical industry,” Dr. Irwin Savodnik, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles (source)

There is lots of evidence to suggest that Pharmaceutical companies have influenced certain psychiatrists to “pathologize” certain behavior as a mental illness so more drugs can be marketed to the masses. In my opinion the evidence is overwhelming, but we’ll save that for another article as it is a big topic.

There are lots of things to consider when it comes to ADHD, and the content of this article is just the beginning. What are your thoughts on ADHD? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below.

RELATED CE ARTICLE & More Important Facts To Consider About ADHD:

4 Big Facts About ADHD That Teachers & Doctors Never Tell Parents

Sources:

(1) http://www.ncld.org/ld-insights/blogs/kids-with-disabilities-shut-out-of-gifted-programs-held-back-more-often

(2) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006899309004612

(3) http://www.rexjung.com/creativity/2013/7/24/the-structure-of-creative-cognition-in-the-human-brain

(4) http://psydok.sulb.uni-saarland.de/volltexte/2007/904/pdf/ADHD.pdf

(5) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019188691000601X

(6) http://jordanbpeterson.com/Publications/Research_Articles/38%202003%20Carson%20SH%20Peterson%20JB%20Higgins%20DM%20Decreased%20LI%20creativity%20JPSP.pdf

(7) http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1019812829706#page-1

(8) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/S15327035EX1002_3#.VHJR24vF80Q

(9) http://www.amazon.com/Misdiagnosis-Diagnoses-Gifted-Children-Adults/dp/0910707677

(10) Blech, Jörg: Schwermut ohne Scham. In: Der Spiegel, Nr. 6/6.2.12, p. 122–131, p. 128.

(11) http://www.tufts.edu/~skrimsky/PDF/DSM%20COI.PDF

(12) http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001190

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Awareness

Frankincense Shows The Ability To Alleviate Symptoms Of Anxiety & Depression

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Studies have proven the psychoactive effects the scent of frankincense has on the brain, alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Reflect On:

    With all the man-made chemical pharmaceutical drugs out there, perhaps solutions to what ails us are more simple than we may realize.

Gold and frankincense and myrrh… sound familiar? These were the gifts that were allegedly brought by the three kings when Jesus Christ was born. We all know that gold is valuable, but what about the others? Frankincense has long been touted as a magical, mystical medicine and has been regarded as such for millennia within many ancient cultures of the world. The same goes for myrrh, but for the purpose of this article we are going to stick to the medicinal properties of frankincense.

Frankincense starts out as a type of resinous sap that is found inside a special family of trees called Boswellia, which grow almost exclusively in the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. When it is harvested at specific times of the year, the trees are cut carefully with special knives and the sap seeps out. This special sap is then dried in the sun until it is ready for use. More commonly, frankincense is burned simply as sweet smelling incense, but it has many other uses as well including the following…

Historical Uses Of Frankincense

  • As a part of ritual or religious ceremonies
  • Was used extensively during burial rituals as an embalming material to help mask the odor of the deceased body
  • Smoke from burnt incense can effectively drive away mosquitoes and other pests

Frankincense has also been used medicinally, treating various ailments such as arthritis (it has strong anti-inflammatory properties), gut disorders (like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), asthma, and maintenance of oral health.

And perhaps the most intriguing quality for our westernized modern culture is the psychoactive effects of this special resin, as studies have shown that burning frankincense can trigger an effect that can aid and even alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The Research

One study in particular, conducted by a team of researchers form John Hopkins University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, explains how burning the resin from the Boswellia plant (frankincense) activates certain previously misunderstood ion channels in the brain in order to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. This might explain why Roman emperor Nero once burned an entire year’s harvest of frankincense at his favorite mistress’ funeral.

“In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Bosweilla had not been investigated for psychoactivity,” said Raphael Mechoulam, one of the research study’s co-authors. “We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior. Apparently, most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning.”

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The researchers administered incensole acetate to mice in order to determine its psychoactive effects. This compound they found drastically impacted the parts of the brain that generate emotions and the nerve circuits that have responded positively to current drugs used for depression and anxiety. The incensole that was administered activated a protein called TRPV3, which is connected to the ability to perceive warmth of the skin.

“Perhaps Marx wasn’t too wrong when he called religion the opium of the people: morphine comes from poppies, cannabinoids from marijuana, and LSD from mushrooms; each of these has been used in one or another religious ceremony,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Studies of how those psychoactive drugs work have helped us understand modern neurobiology. The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system. This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion–burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!”

Can This Work For You?

Sure, this study was conducted using mice, which certainly aren’t the same as humans. However, many religious texts claim that this special resin had uplifting effects on the brain. So, the good thing is that if used appropriately, it really can’t hurt to try. You can typically buy the resin at health food stores and more commonly at stores that sell incense, crystals, sage and those sorts of spiritual ceremonial tools. It can also be found as an essential oil. I like to diffuse it in a diffuser, and sometimes I’ll burn the resin on charcoal pucks as well.

At the very least, you’ll get a nice and pleasant smelling aroma, and at best it can help turn that frown upside down, increase your mood, reduce your anxiety and maybe even put a smile on your face. Perhaps those three wise men were as wise as they’ve been made out to be, and frankincense really is as special as it’s been believed to be for millennia.

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Binge Watching Is Associated With a 12 Percent Increased Risk of Inflammatory-Related Death

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    An Australian study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise looked at more than 8,900 adults and found that each additional hour of TV viewing was associated with a 12% increased risk of inflammatory-related death.

  • Reflect On:

    How much TV do you watch? How active is your lifestyle?

I’m sure that you hesitated before choosing to read this article, as most of us have been sucked into a binge watching marathon on more than one occasion (myself included). While it may seem like we’re buckling down to give ourselves a break, we may actually be hurting ourselves far more than we realize. Sitting for prolonged periods of time has proven to be harmful to our bodies, especially for adults over 50, and when you match lounging with television, you create a deadly combo.

In an Australian study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers examined more than 8,900 adults and found that each additional hour of TV viewing was associated with a 12% increased risk of inflammatory-related death, and those who spent more than four hours a day watching TV were at an even higher risk. This includes  diabetes, respiratory, cognitive, and kidney diseases. (source)

In general, watching television has proven to negatively impact mental health; it alters your brain, lowers your attention span, and has the potential to make you more aggressive. You don’t need to experience the “trance-like” state television can put us in, but I’m sure you’ve witnessed it before. This trance occurs roughly 30 seconds after you start watching TV. Your brain begins by producing alpha waves, leading to a light hypnotic state that makes the viewer less aware of their environment and more open to subtle messages — aka programming.

In the 1990s. Dr. Teresa Belton, a visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia, studied the effects that television has on the imagination of 10-12 year old children, ultimately concluding that television negatively impacts their development: “The ubiquity and ease of access to television and videos perhaps robs today’s children of the need to pursue their own thoughts and devise their own occupations, distracting them from inner processes and constantly demanding responses to external agendas, and suggests that this may have implications for the development of imaginative capacity.”

And these physical affects are becoming increasingly apparent. Not only does it eventually lead to immobility as you age, but with the risk of creating inflammation in the body, you are susceptible to a host of diseases including kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, and even depression.

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Dr. Megan Grace is the lead investigator at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne. Between 1999 and 2000, her team quizzed adult participants about their viewing habits via a questionnaire. Again, this was before we had access to popular streaming websites like Netflix. The participants were separated into three groups based on their TV viewing habits: less than two hours per day, greater than two hours but less than four hours, and more than four hours.

“TV time was associated with increased risk of inflammatory-related mortality. This is consistent with the hypothesis that high TV viewing may be associated with a chronic inflammatory state,” the authors wrote.

They followed up with their participants 12 years later and found, of 909 deaths, 130 were inflammatory-related. Of the inflammatory-related deaths, 21 were from diseases of the respiratory system and 18 of the nervous system, and those who watched between two to four hours of TV a day showed a 54% higher risk of inflammatory-related death. Additionally, people who watched more than four hours of TV a day doubled their risk of dying from an inflammatory disease compared to those who watched two hours.

In addition to cutting down the amount of time you spend sitting in front of the TV and sitting or lying down, you can help combat inflammation with a number of foods like avocados, berries, sweet potato, onions, and watermelon, and herbs like, cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric.

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The Science Of Healing Trauma With Plant Medicine – Dr. Jeff McNairy Explains

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Ayahuasca has assisted thousands of people with an array of mental health disorders. There is real science that can explain how this "medicine" is able to actually change the brain.

  • Reflect On:

    Ayahuasca is not for everyone, and it will not fix you. It might, however, show you what you need to see in order to release what is no longer serving you in life and holding you back.

Over the past decade or so, the use of ayahuasca by western cultures has absolutely blown up. Chances are you’ve either taken it yourself or know someone who has. You may have heard some incredible and transformative stories about how this indigenous plant medicine has assisted many of those struggling with depression, addiction, anxiety and many other ailments.

It has been difficult to explain how this plant actually works to help alleviate symptoms of trauma, and many stick to simply regarding it as a mystical experience that shows you whatever it is that you need to see in order to heal your wounds. However, there is a scientific way to explain what is actually happening within the brain and body when ayahuasca is ingested. Some people with a more logical method of receiving information might prefer to know the actual physical “why” as to what is happening. In the video below, Dr. Jeff McNairy explains this.

Dr. Jeff McNairy is part of the Rythmia family, the world’s first fully licensed medical facility that offers ayahuasca. The entire CE team had the opportunity to go back in 2016 and it was a wonderful experience for us all.

Personally, I have processed a lot of my own trauma with the assistance of this potent plant medicine. It was able to show me things that I hadn’t realized had such a profound impact on my life, things that I had simply written off as unimportant. There were many things that I had stuffed down, locked away and refused to look at over the years that ultimately were the cause for my struggle with depression, addictive behaviours and anxiety. With the assistance of ayahuasca, a light shined on these areas that I had locked away in my subconscious, which helped me to see where healing was still required.

Is Ayahuasca For You?

Whether you are drawn to ayahuasca or not is okay, it’s not for everyone. But if you have a serious desire to uncover more layers of who you are and why you are the way you are, and you’re drawn to this medicine, then it may be for you. Ayahuasca can be a great tool for those who have suffered trauma, but it is important to know that ayahuasca won’t fix you, however it can lead you to understand what it is you need to know in order to fix yourself. It has the capacity to show you whatever it is that you are not seeing from a different perspective, opening your eyes to what you may not have been able to see before.

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It is no coincidence that ayahuasca has emerged within westernized cultures around the globe during this important time of transition. Not only is it assisting people to reconnect back to their soul’s essence, but it is also increasing our regard for our environment and our Mother Earth as a whole.

On another note, here’s an interesting quote from Joe Martino:

Psychedelics were used back in a time when the level of consciousness of the planet was not as high, which helped give insight to shamans so they could share it with their communities. It was meant for use in extreme cases where heavy trauma or addictions existed and people could not use other ways to work through their emotional challenges. Here in present time, we use them in a western fashion as THE GO TO for moving through all of our challenges. I’m here to remind you that you have so much power and ability as a being that in most cases, you don’t need any of these things to evolve. I’m not suggesting don’t do it, I’m simply saying truly ask your heart what you want, and don’t get caught up in the grand allure and peer pressure. (source)

Use Responsibly

It is important to seek out and use ayahuasca that is harvested using sustainable practices and served by shamans who have the utmost respect for the sacred medicinal brew. As its popularity has increased, so has the opportunity to exploit it, so do your due diligence when it comes to determining if ayahuasca is right for you and who will be serving you this medicine.

Related CE Article: Why Psychedelic Drugs Are Not A Shortcut To Enlightenment

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