Autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention-deficit disorder (ADD), and bipolar disorder are just some of the most common behavioral problems diagnosed in children and teenagers today. To treat these conditions, psychiatrists and primary-care doctors are quick to prescribe psychotropic drugs.
Over the years, American children have become the most medicated children in the world, with antidepressants and stimulants being their primary prescriptions. Many of these drugs (approved during the 1990s) were designed to help cure conditions that hardly occurred before adolescence.
Kids as young as one year old are taking antipsychotic drugs, including Prozac, Paxil, and Ritalin. There are known risks associated to these drugs, such as:
- Anxiety, anger, compulsiveness, and impulsivity
- Problems with social relationships
- Separation anxiety
- Short attention spans and mood instability
- More behavior problems
Do you think that prescription drugs should be your first line of defense? Regardless of the huge patient population relying on these drugs, the answer should be a resounding “no.”
Overlooked Causes of Behavioral Problems
It is believed that mental illnesses are either (1) a product of some type of chemical imbalance in the brain, or (2) a hereditary condition. What people fail to realize is that regardless of what the cause is, psychotropic drugs are not the solution to behavioral problems. These medications, which have mind-altering effects, do not really tackle the root cause of the illness.
Behavioral problems spring from causes that are often overlooked but are easy to manage. Some of these are:
- Inappropriate nutrition – The standard diet of many children include more processed foods than healthy choices like vegetables. These contain chemicals that, over time, accumulate in their bodies and affect their system gradually.
- Toxicity – Aside from toxic substances from processed and junk foods, kids can also experience toxicity due to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) exposure, vaccinations and medications, consumption of fluoridated water, and pollution.
Inappropriate lifestyle choices are perhaps one reason why children are exposed to such toxicities. As a parent, you can reverse this by fortifying their gut health. Known as the “second brain,” the gut has the ability to affect your mind, mood, and behavior.
During fetal development, the tissue that forms the central nervous system forms the enteric nervous system found in your gut. The enteric system is then connected to your brain by the vagus nerve, the cranial nerve that runs from your abdomen to your brain. This is how microorganisms in your gastrointestinal tract send information to your brain.
The most effective way to nourish the organisms in your gut and prevent any complication is through the consumption of fermented foods rich in probiotics. While there are high-quality supplements available, cultured foods prove to be better – they provide trillions of bacteria even in small quantities.
How to Address the Root Causes of Mental Health Problems
Besides optimizing your child’s digestive health through fermented foods, here are other guidelines you can use to address the underlying causes of psychiatric problems in your children.
- Eliminate the following from your child’s daily diet:
- Sugar-laden food – Sugar, especially fructose, is found to be associated with mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and depression. Items included in this list are soda and fruit juice.
- Processed food – As mentioned before, processed foods contain a number of artificial ingredients, including additives, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives. Canned food, lunch meats, and fast food are things you need to avoid.
- Grains and wheat – Grains are broken down into sugar inside your body, while whole wheat can be dangerous to your health because of its neurotoxic properties.
- Artificial sweeteners – Aspartame and Splenda are examples of artificial sweeteners. These can be found in diet soda and processed food.
- Replace all unhealthy food products with:
- Fermented foods
- High-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats
- Organic food – Organic food is often cultivated with the most sustainable and safest practices. Adding organic food to your diet can enhance the nutrient content of your child’s meals.
- Help you child get more exercise by encouraging him or her to take up sports and other outdoor activities.
- Optimize your child’s vitamin D levels through sunlight exposure.
- Replace any personal care products, cleaning agents, and other products possibly infused with chemicals. They may contain toxic ingredients, including heavy metals. Only buy natural varieties.
- Teach your child to address his emotions effectively. You may urge them to do journaling or other stress management methods to express themselves.
The bottom line is there are completely natural, safe methods to treat AND prevent any psychiatric illness in children. It’s time to steer away from the belief that drugs are the cure for disease.
Adrienne Razon works for Mercola.com as a writer. She recently worked on a report on the Emotional Freedom Technique. Apart from learning about the latest natural health news and updates, working for Dr. Mercola has enabled her to discover lifestyle choices and techniques that help optimize her stress management and emotional health.