I don’t know.
I guess you can dive into the data and try to find everything that’s ever been researched. But here’s an interesting comment a scientist made in a documentary “they don’t know why it works, but it works”. And if you dive a bit into the literature, you will see that the long-term effects of methylphenidate (or otherwise known as Ritalin or Adderall) has not been well studies. Which means, scientist don’t know.
If you have excruciating pain and you snort cocaine. Will it take the pain away? Probably. Does snorting cocaine makes cocaine safe just because something went away? Hell no.
But here’s what I did found out. And it didn’t cost me much to test this for myself.
When my son started primary school, it wasn’t long before teachers started to make the remarks “he’s busy”, “he cannot sit still”. At first it was very casually. I ignored their comments. Children should be busy. They were not designed to sit in a classroom for 6 hours a day to be moulded into this ‘model child’ who will conform to everybody else’s idea of what’s proper behaviour. He was a bright-eyed boy with a contagious sense of humour.
Then the teachers would start to ask, “Is your son on medication?”. I would watch the horror on their faces when I replied with a sturdy “no”. I started to hear more and more stories of teachers telling the parents “We can’t deal with this child; he needs to get medication”.
I was that stubborn mom who refused to put my son on meds. For the first 2 years at school, he was at every therapist imaginable. And during those two years, I had to fought off every single voice off in my head that told me I was a terrible mom. That I was a failure. My son was unhappy and depressed. He cried every morning to school, cried every afternoon from school He was bullied by the other kids and he was constantly the one called into the office. He was even bullied by parents. That made me so angry. I can teach my son how to manage his peers, but it’s near impossible to teach a 9-year-old how to defend themselves against bullying adults – especially when you as a mom cannot be around him 24/7.
We were called into the principles’ office nearly every single day. Over shit. Like – oh, he snatched a pencil out of somebody’s hand. He threw someone’s jersey in a tree.
I have been the best mother that I could be and now I’ve became the source of his behavioural issues. That’s how I felt. That’s what everybody lead us to believe. I was exhausted. I was successful in my career, but I was a complete failure at home.
And this is not a feeling that will disappear with positive talk and affirmations. I feared myself and the things I were thinking.
And so, I finally gave in. We took him to a paediatrician, and he was prescribed his daily dose of Ritalin. I remember so clearly the day I walked out of the doctor’s office, I promised myself that I will do anything in my power to get him off the medication.
And I did just exactly that. I researched. I tried and tested different things. And for us, the big breakthrough was his diet. Well, our diet. His behaviour started to change. I could see the noticeable differences. He started to skip his Ritalin dose. And I would later find out it was on purposes. He said it “makes him naughty”. I thought he was talking nonsense until I saw one day what he was talking about. He was like a child on a drug high. He couldn’t focus, he couldn’t sit still, he was euphoric – completely out of whack. And this once “wonder drug” as people would describe it, now had the complete opposite side effect on my son after we altered his diet.
And no, his not eating pale, raw or juiced veggies. He’s now eating a healthy, nutrient filled diet.
Not a single mother in this world has a child who gets through life without facing challenges. I don’t have all the answers.
But this is what I do know. Kids are “diagnosed”/labelled with ADHD far too quickly. Many teachers have way too much authority to even think they can put that type of pressure on parents just because they don’t want to manage a busy child in their class. There are very little support groups out there that explains the other reasons why kids present with attention deficit order symptoms.
And removing all refined carbs and sugar from our diet, saved my life (I lost over 10 kg’s) and saved my child’s live. Sometimes I still think it was too little too late. We’ve paid the price. He’s not that fun, outgoing little boy he used to be. He always said that he wants to become the next Trevor Noah. He was reciting Trevor’s jokes left, right and centre.
He’s much more reserved now. He hates family pictures and attention. But I sometimes still see a glimpse of his silliness – I do believe that all his dreams will come true. God has a unique place in the world for him and I see a unique blessing on his life.
You might think this story turned out great and we were lucky. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in God’s glory and grace. He has given us everything we need, to have a fulfilled life. We just need to do something with it.