Over Medicated and Under Nourished?

This is a great article I found from last week’s Wall Street Journal. It questioned the over use of medications in an ever-increasing “give me a pill” society. The author, Katherine Sharpe, had taken antidepressants in the past and discussed the idea that pills are being doled out as a first resort, instead of extreme cases of need, starting when kids are younger and younger.

It’s quite concerning – considering how I feel about how important one’s diet is, and realizing the effects of 8 personalities/bodies in our family alone. I’ve actually been considering this for quite some time, and it came up again the other night when I discussed with a public school teacher – the trending, continued increase in autism, and ADHD “diagnoses”, among other learning disabilities.

Is it just that we’re hyper-sensitive? More aware? Are we too set on having such a standard, that we’re unable to look at an individual for their specific strength and weaknesses?

Maybe we also need to look at their genetic make-up. I wonder just how many of those kids have a gluten sensitivity gene?

Much of what I’ve read suggests children who are taken off of gluten, and casein – respond remarkably.

However – It just can’t be done half way. As I mentioned the inflammatory response for a celiac is 1/145th of a piece of bread. For someone who is lactose intolerant or gluten sensitive – the inflammatory response is similar, a small amount can cause a reaction – just elsewhere in the body or brain. It becomes unknown what “normal” even feels like… it just gets worse over time. When medications are in the mix – they are then increased as the child ages, sometimes unmonitored, and it can go on for years. Then there are the effects from those medicines, heaped in as well.

Sharpe questioned whether many of these medicated kids will know what it’s like to even deal with anxiety, frustration, or sadness… Will they even know who they are off of medication?

One late night, a few months ago, I stumbled upon a PBS Frontline documentary called, “The Medicated Child”.

Given everything I had been studying about gluten sensitivity, and the reactions even a small amount of gluten can do to one’s frontal lobe – {and having experienced plenty myself, to know FIRST HAND} I was a bit taken back by this reporting.

It basically showed families with children who struggled with behavior/learning issues and how they tried to combat those issues with medicine as “their only hope”. They also showed how much of the science behind the effects of medicating the children long-term is unknown.


Not because medicine is never the answer…

Let me first say – medicine IS important, as are doctors and genetic testing for direction. My concern is the OVER-use of medications, as the first resort of treatment – over nutritional options and again looking for the root of the cause, vs. treating one symptom.

The entire time I watched the show, I paid attention to what the children were eating, and drinking… and how the parents interacted with the child – as well as the doctor.

Corn dogs, snack cakes, lots of pop and juice. I saw no fruits and veggies of any kind. I’m sure that’s extreme – but it’s common in our country. The bottom line is it’s expensive, and it takes time to eat right. You must plan ahead, think to the future … and most people don’t have time to think – period. They also refuse to MAKE the time.

Fresh bread or poison for the gluten intolerant?

Sugar drinks and a junk food galore. Loads, and LOADS of gluten. Of course, being on point – I wondered what IF those children had been put on a restricted diet before attempting heavy doses of meds {that continued to increase as the parents got worn down from their “out of control” child} might we be able to steer people in a life changing direction?

Some of the behavior was a bit strange… but most of the kids seemed like they need some direction, discipline, consistency … a good over-haul in the dietary department too.

I wondered… what if that child does have a gluten sensitivity gene and he will battle the effects from that his entire life if he never gets to the root of his/her cause???

Will the ADHD from gluten sensitivity become evident in depression later on… or will it be chronic infections? thyroid issues, or infertility? How about cancer?

WHY isn’t good nutrition a first resort in our country? Is it because people don’t think the diet affects us as much as it truly does? Is it because we can’t afford it?

Have we become so lazy in this world that we just want a pill to make the symptoms go away for a time – but it truly only hides the current symptoms – and they other pop up in other places later in life? Do we not care until it effects us personally… or until we’re so sick we just can’t function anymore??

If gluten sensitivity effects an estimated 1 in 4 people, why is it so difficult to assume the best medicine might be the right food? Is it because that “medicine” can’t be marketed by drug companies, and sold in a way that make a doctor money?

I know. Tough questions. But it’s concerning.

Do we resent true change, and prevention that much that we’re willing to continue poisoning those people who are affected by gluten sensitivity, and ignoring the problems at hand?

As I walked through the bread aisle the other day, and I scanned the food we would never be having again at our local grocery store… I couldn’t help but be extra thankful of what we know now. Who with cancer, infertility, thyroid problems, asthma or any auto immune disease wouldn’t say… “if I would have done something to prevent future damage, I would have.”

Now is our chance.

Thanks be to God – for today.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,

by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,

will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Phillipians 4:6-7

Posted on July 3, 2012, in Celiac/Gluten Sensitivity, Change, Diet, Our Struggles and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sara,
    My hubby and I watched that same video “The Medicated Child” awhile back, among others, and have had very similar thoughts. It’s always pills being given, never lets look at the food you eat! We have been changing our diets more and more lately to exclude gluten and msg, and include more “raw foods-fruits and vegetables” and are already seeing a difference in how we feel! Thank you for sharing your story and research as it has helped us look more seriously at why we are getting migraines, esp. my girl, who is only 11. Blessings, Carol

  2. Amen. Thank you for sharing that Carol. I pray that you continue to see and feel the difference!!

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