By Dr. Mercola
Harry Hucknall, a ten-year-old boy, died after hanging himself with a belt from his bunk bed. His father blames the death on Ritalin and Prozac, two drugs that the boy had been prescribed by a psychiatrist to cure his boisterous behavior and low spirits.
At the time of his death, the child had more drugs in his body than the normal level for adults suffering from the same problems.
According to the Daily Mail:
“… 661,000 prescriptions are dished out annually in Britain to treat childhood ADHD — double the figure of five years ago. These medicines are being given to very young children — one aged just 15 months … despite official guidelines from the manufacturer and the fact that the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) prohibits their use for those under six.”
In the New York Times article linked below, internist Danielle Ofri also talks about the effects of depression. Her childhood friend Michael killed himself during his sophomore year of college. And just two weeks before writing the article, she called one of her patients to reschedule an appointment, and was told that the patient had been found dead in his apartment, most likely a suicide.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds. Each year, about a million people worldwide take their own lives.
“It’s not just one million lives, but millions of families, friends and neighbors left with thorns in their hearts, black holes that may scab over but will never disappear.”
New research suggests that people who take antidepressant drugs are actually more likely to suffer relapses of depression. In fact, used over the long term, antidepressants may “do more harm than good.”
The data indicates that the longer the period of drug administration, the more likely the patient will relapse. And experts say that 15 years’ worth of data from clinical trials of antidepressants, much of it unpublished, shows that antidepressants are hardly better than placebos.
According to The Daily Beast:
“Questions about how well antidepressants work in the treatment of depression have been in the mix for several years; large-scale studies, like the influential STAR*D trials, have turned up lackluster results, showing antidepressants to be little more effective than placebos in combating mild to moderate cases of depression.”
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
While first described as a suicide due to being bullied at school, it was later determined that the hanging death of 10-year-old Harry Hucknall was not a suicide at all. As YoungMinds reported, Coroner Ian Smith stated that:
“This was not suicide for one minute. I record that Harry died as a consequence of his own actions without understanding their true consequences … Nobody expected this to happen or foresee it or even fear it may happen.”
It can now only be speculated what may have triggered this young boy to take his own life, but the boy’s father is blaming two mind-altering drugs the boy had been prescribed — Prozac for depression and Ritalin for ADHD. The coroner also reportedly stated that the drugs’ “influence could not be excluded” in the boy’s death. And, according to Mail Online, an inquest was told the boy had more drugs in his body than would be considered a normal level for adults.
Non-Drug Treatment of ADHD
I would encourage you to review an article that I previously wrote that lists a wide variety of drug alternatives with virtually no side effects and a high likelihood of resolving the underlying issue.
What are the Consequences of Prescribing Psychiatric Drugs to Kids?
It is well known that these powerful medications may certainly interfere with the delicate and complex workings of your brain and personality. They have a great potential to cause a number of serious side effects ranging from somnolence and fatigue to violent behavior, hormone disruption and even suicide.
Yet, their use is growing at an alarming rate.
Take the ADHD drug Ritalin. U.S. pharmacists distribute five times more Ritalin than the rest of the world combined, according to Dr. Samuel Epstein’s Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC). In all, 60 percent to 90 percent of U.S. kids with attention deficit disorders are prescribed this powerful drug, which amounts to 3 percent to 5 percent of U.S. children and teens on Ritalin.
By definition, Ritalin stimulates your central nervous system, leading to side effects such as:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- Increased alertness
- Suppressed appetite
Research has also linked Ritalin with more severe health problems such as cancer as well as an increased probability of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Ritalin also has the same pharmacological profile as cocaine, yet its effects are even more potent. Using brain imaging, scientists have found that, in pill form, Ritalin occupies more of the neural transporters responsible for the “high” experienced by addicts than smoked or injected cocaine.
Unfortunately, diagnosing ADHD really comes down to a matter of opinion, as there is no physical test, like a brain scan, that can pinpoint the condition. There’s only subjective evaluation, so it’s easy for kids to be misdiagnosed.
As for antidepressants, which young Hucknall was also prescribed, they have been shown to CAUSE both suicidal and homicidal thoughts and behaviors. For example, seven of the last 12 school shootings were done by children who were either on antidepressants or going through withdrawal.
Why are Untested Psychiatric Drugs Being Prescribed to Kids?
Adding insult to injury, many commonly prescribed drugs, such as Prozac, Paxil, Ritalin, Zyprexa, Depakote and others are not approved for use in children, but they are widely prescribed nonetheless. Mental health issues, including unresolved emotional traumas, are one of the most significant factors contributing to disease. And psychiatry is the branch of medicine that should be best suited to address this wounding.
Unfortunately, psychiatry has long ago elected to follow a drug-based paradigm in their resolution of this wounding. This is not a new occurrence, but rather one that has been going on for years and seems to only be getting worse. It reminds me of one particularly poignant letter written by Dr. Loren Mosher, a board-certified psychiatrist who received his BA from Stanford University and M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1961, where he also subsequently took his psychiatric training.
In his letter, which is a resignation letter sent to the president of the American Psychiatric Association in 1998, Dr. Mosher stated:
“After nearly three decades as a member it is with a mixture of pleasure and disappointment that I submit this letter of resignation from the American Psychiatric Association. The major reason for this action is my belief that I am actually resigning from the American Psychopharmacological Association.
Luckily, the organization’s true identity requires no change in the acronym. Unfortunately, APA reflects, and reinforces, in word and deed, our drug dependent society … APA likes only those drugs from which it can derive a profit-directly or indirectly. This is not a group for me. At this point in history, in my view, psychiatry has been almost completely bought out by the drug companies.
The APA could not continue without the pharmaceutical company support of meetings, symposia, workshops, journal advertising, grand rounds luncheons, unrestricted educational grants etc. etc. Psychiatrists have become the minions of drug company promotions.”
Sadly, it is often kids who suffer from this type of blatant conflict of interest, which continues to plague the psychiatric profession today. It’s not just the drugs prescribed, but the diagnoses that are in question, particularly in children. Millions of children have been diagnosed with serious psychiatric disorders warranting drug treatment when the fact remains that most of the kids being given antidepressants and mind-altering drugs like Ritalin should simply not be taking them.
One Million People Die Every Year from this Treatable Disease
Mental health conditions like depression can indeed be serious. As the New York Times reported, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds, and each year about 1 million people take their own lives worldwide. But prescribing psychiatric drugs is NOT the long term solution, and in many cases can be worse than the disease.
When looking at the research literature, short-term trials show that antidepressants do NOT provide any clinically significant benefits for mild to moderate depression, compared to a placebo. As you know, all drugs have benefit-to-risk ratios, so if a drug is as effective as a placebo in relieving symptoms, it really doesn’t make sense to use them as a first line of defense.
However, it gets worse.
Research into the long-term effects of antidepressants shows that patients are no longer really recuperating from their depressive episodes as was the general norm prior to the advent of modern antidepressants. The depression appears to be lifting faster, but patients tend to relapse more frequently, turning what ought to have been a passing phase into an increasingly chronic state of depression.
Do Antidepressants Make You Sad?
An analysis of research by Dr. Giovanni Fava, scheduled to be published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, revealed that the longer a person takes antidepressants the more likely they will relapse. This is particularly concerning considering that patients are being given the drugs as children, and could potentially be taking them for decades.
Long-term studies now indicate that of people with major depression, only about 15 percent that are treated with an antidepressant go into remission and stay well for a long period of time. The remaining 85 percent start having continuing relapses and become chronically depressed.
In addition, antidepressants known as SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) have been shown to increase your risk of developing bipolar depression, according to medical journalist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Robert Whitaker. Anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of children who take an antidepressant for five years convert to bipolar illness!
This is a serious concern because once you’re categorized as mentally ill, you’re often treated with a potent cocktail of medications including antipsychotic medication. So it’s a truly vicious cycle.
How to Get Your Child Off Drugs: Addressing the Underlying Causes of Mental Illness
If your child is suffering from an emotional or mental challenge, please seek help, but do so from someone who does not regard psychotropic drugs as a first line of defense. Unfortunately, this now means you may need to find someone outside of the conventional psychiatric medical community.
It will be very helpful if you first adjust your child’s lifestyle to include these 10 steps to optimal health. These are the 10 basic steps that nearly everyone requires to stay healthy on both a physical and mental level, and often neglecting these factors can manifest as mental illness.
I strongly encourage you to also become familiar with the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who has a full-time medical practice in the United Kingdom where she treats children and adults with autism, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems.
In this recent interview, she shared her insights about Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), which can make a child particularly prone to vaccine damage, and the GAPS Nutritional program — a natural treatment for autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression and schizophrenia. Children use all of their sensory organs to collect information from their environment, which is then passed to the brain for processing. This is a fundamental part of learning.
However, in children with Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), the toxicity flowing from their gut throughout their bodies and into their brains, clogs the brain with toxicity, preventing it from performing its normal function and process sensory information.
GAPS may manifest as a conglomerate of symptoms that can fit the diagnosis of either autism, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD) without hyperactivity, dyslexia, dyspraxia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, just to name a few possibilities.
In summary, the protocol consists of three elements:
- Diet—the GAPS diet consists of easily digestible foods that are dense in nutrition, including fermented foods. According to Dr. Campbell:“On average, people adhere to the diet a couple of years. It takes two years to drive out the pathogenic flora, to reestablish normal flora in the gut, to heal and seal the damaged gut lining in these people and turn the gut back to being a major source of nourishment for the person instead of being a source of toxicity.”
- Food supplements, including probiotics and vitamins D and A in the form of cod liver oil, although sun exposure is also an important part for GAPS patients, for proper vitamin D production.
- Detoxification—The GAPS nutritional protocol will naturally clear out most toxins. Dr. Campbell does not use any kind of drugs or chemicals to remove toxins as it can be too drastic for some, and can produce damaging side effects. Instead she recommends juicing as a gentle but effective way of removing toxic build-up, as well as baths with Epsom salt, sea salt, seaweed powder, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda.
Dr. Campbell discusses many additional and priceless details relating to this protocol, so please, set aside some time to listen to the interview in its entirety. Again, you can also find more natural tips for treating ADHD and ADHD-like symptoms in this past article, as well as natural tips for resolving depression here.
Copyright Dr. Joseph Mercola, 2011. All Rights Reserved.