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Natural Awakenings Healthy Living Magazine

Pediatric Behavioral Drug Use

by Kaycie Noble

Many parents warn their children of the risks of using drugs before their developmental cycle is complete. Even with this understanding, many do not realize a child’s body does not differentiate between illicit street drugs or prescribed pharmaceutical medications. Both carry the same risks to the brain, biochemistry and motor functions of a child.

            For example, commonly prescribed ADHD medications are stimulants. Many are with mixed amphetamine salts that can engage or exaggerate tics, twitches and stuttering—even after the cessation of medication. Some kids develop dramatic behavior changes ranging from anger, aggression, anxiety, or mania; to emotionally flat, creatively drained or unresponsive, and can develop a poor sense of self.

            Dr. Glen Elliot, medical director at California’s Children’s Health, speaks about behavioral medicine in children, “Fortunately, truly urgent side effects are extremely rare.” Elliot’s view is congruent with the average response from pediatric physicians in this country. Contrary to this statement however, is the fact that urgent side effects do occur.  Statistics show adverse drug events remain a leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States. Clinical trials on drugs like Ritalin and Adderall consistently show that only about 50 percent of all studied participants even produce positive responses to their treated conditions taking these drugs.

            We are now beginning to see the results of the behavioral drug boom. Children that have long been medicated are becoming examples of how decades of mood-altering medication can impair their life and wellness. Adults and teens struggling to manage mental health conditions are met with compounding health concerns and deteriorating wellness as direct effects of layered and mixed pharmaceuticals. As many physicians are unable to address these debilitations and concerns, the search for successful,

non-harming treatments has now fallen upon the grown children themselves. These individuals are beginning to seek alternative ways to reduce their dependency and increase their daily comfort.

            The number of safe and natural alternative therapy options is expanding. Wellness seekers are finding drug-free alternatives and techno-therapies that can bring restoration and equanimity. As we move into the future, sound, light, biofeedback and other cutting-edge technologies are showing promising results that improve the quality of life for those suffering from any number of conditions. Growing access and more clinical studies are proving that integrative techniques can be used to help our children through hyperactivity, attention and sensitivity disorders, anxiety and more without the use of chemical medicines.

            It can be a daunting task to incorporate these new regimes into care plans. In the beginning, natural approaches may be more time-consuming, hard to find information about and often not covered by insurance. It is this challenge that can become the fuel to our journey. Meeting new lifestyle habits or wellness plans with honesty and courage can bring the most satisfying results. When we eliminate the body’s response from chemical medicine and instead focus on the individual’s comfort, positive results and better long-term health outlooks are revealed.

            Lasting success can be formed by holistic treatment plans instead of chemical medicines. Facilities that offer access to advanced or unique technologies are beginning to emerge as the human need becomes great. Partner in wellness with practitioners that are trained, informed and experienced in alternative modalities. With proper support, education and access, treatment challenges can transform into treatment successes. That success can have a rippling effect. Families and individuals can become empowered and bloom with new confidence with the understanding that they really do have control over their own health, wellness and attitude.


Kaycie Noble, DMph, ORDM, is the owner of Earth Labs, located at 317A E. Front St., Traverse City. For appointments or more information, call 231-421-1490, email Earth

[email protected] or visit