New ADHD guidelines from the NHMRC approve the use of Ritalin in children younger than seven

New ADHD guidelines from the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) approve the use of Ritalin in children younger than seven, even though the pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs warn against it.

The NHMRC clinical practice points on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, released last month, note that research showing the ADHD drugs cause side effects in children aged 3.5 to 6 years "at rates greater than that observed in older children". The commonly reported side effects of ADHD drugs include sleep disturbance, reduced appetite, abdominal pain and headaches, crying spells, slowed growth, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure and psychosis, the practice points say.

Nevertheless, the NHMRC recommends that if psychological, environmental and family interventions don't work "then stimulants might be considered for this age group in consultation with the parents or guardians".

What about diet? We wonder if any of these NHMRC boffins - who are so keen to inflict medication that has been shown to be ineffective in the longterm and to have potentially severe side effects on little kids - have ever seen with their own eyes how well diet can work for symptoms of ADHD?

We recommend to parents who would like to try safe alternatives that they should go to our Search All Stories file and key in "ADHD" - they will find 82 stories like this one:

[926] I am a primary teacher with 3 children of my own. I first heard about your book 'Fed Up' when a student in my class was diagnosed with ADHD and his mother decided to try changing his diet rather than medicating him. The change in this boy was amazing. I wrote down the details of your book to recommend it to other parents in the future.

Ironically I now use your book myself as my six year old has just been diagnosed with ADHD. We had been eating a diet low in artificial additives for years after discovering that my children were reacting to the preservative 282 in bread but have just recently begun failsafe eating after my son's diagnosis. In doing so we discovered that all 3 of our children were reacting to salicylates. Even my 7 year old daughter who had been irritable all the time and difficult to get along with has changed into a happy, co-operative child since changing her diet. We hadn't even realised that she was affected by the natural food chemicals.

Our son who was diagnosed with ADHD has changed so much that at a recent doctor's visit the GP looked at him sitting quietly and said, "He doesn't have ADHD!" The doctor prescribed antibiotics to clear his cough and after one dose of antibiotics (with preservative and flavour) all his symptoms returned. We are now more sure than ever that food is the cause of his behavioural problems.- Cara, NSW

Further reading

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ADHD factsheet