For years we have struggled with ADD/ADHD children and the issues that surround mediciation and the affects it has on the kids. As a parent of an ADHD son, after extensive testing, he was diagnosed ADHD in Kindergarten. Through the years, we tried a variety of medications however always came back to the one that worked best for him. I don’t believe he was over-medicated and neither does he. By freshman year in college, he was medication free.
I was made aware of The Feingold Diet when my son was younger, but as a single mother of two children, it didn’t fit our schedule or my busy routine. Some people may view this as an excuse, but for me, it wasn’t an option I could accomodate. But – that doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable alternative to medications.
Over the years, I have heard from many parents of the success of The Feingold Program as well as recently reviewed “Why My Child Can’t Behave” by Jane Hersey. Understanding how this program works can help parents understand the negative behavior of ADD/ADHD and what triggers it.
If you have a child that has behavioral issues or has been diagnosed ADD/ADHD please take the time to learn more about The Newly Updated Feingold Program that is designed to accomodate the busy lives of families today.
Read this wonderful testimonial from Joshua – I think this sheds light on what the right diet can do for you and your family.
My son, Joshua, was plagued with social and behavioral problems. He was asked to leave two private schools, rejected from several local day care facilities, and finally placed in a program for “severely emotionally handicapped” children and put on medication for ADHD – all before the age of five!
He was in a class of six children and three teachers to deal with the behavioral challenges these children presented. Throughout the years my son was diagnosed with severe ADHD and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), along with traits of obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and mood disorder syndrome. These years proved to be more difficult than I could have ever imagined.
Even before they’re born, parents have so many hopes and desires for their children. I felt as though my dreams had turned to nightmares and it seemed like I’d never wake up.
Even though testing indicated that Joshua was extremely gifted, his emotional and behavioral problems kept him labeled as emotionally handicapped.
During the next seven years he was on three medications, totaling nine pills a day. It seemed necessary to keep him medicated 24 hours a day, every day. Symptoms that were treated with one medicine caused him to have trouble sleeping, so he had to take an additional medication for that, and yet another for the endless anxiety resulting from the issues he faced daily with social and behavioral problems. He had huge problems with opposition, defiance, aggression, anger, and impulsivity. The doctors tried different dosages and combinations of the medicines but without success.
He was kept medicated 24 hours a day and the problems only got worse.
Toward the end of his fourth grade year, Joshua was placed in an outpatient facility for depression, leaning towards suicidal. Children typically attended this facility for a week at the most, just enough time to be evaluated, receive recommendations for therapy, medication, behavior modification and family counseling. However, Joshua’s behavior was such that he continued for five weeks.
None of the many professionals we saw were able to help him.
Time passed and problems remained despite medication and continual counseling. Two other medicines were recommended, in addition to the three he was on, but I couldn’t bring myself to give my ten-year-old 5 different drugs. Towards the end of his fifth grade year he was placed in a children’s psychiatric facility after he threatened to kill others and tried to hurt himself. Joshua had reached the end of his rope.
I was told that I could not see him or call him for the first 24 hours he was at the facility. As I said “good-bye” there was so much hurt behind his beautiful blue eyes, so much uncertainty of “Where do I fit in, why am I like this? When will my life be normal, and when will I feel at peace inside?”
The immense pain I felt for my child left me numb and hopeless. I wanted so badly to take him in my arms, hug him and tell him that everything would be okay, but I didn’t know that to be so. I would go to the ends of the earth for him but felt as though I was already there and didn’t know where to go from here. Despite all the avenues I took, all the endless hours of searching, every year continued to grow darker and darker.
The immense pain for my child left me numb and hopeless.
After several days Joshua was released from the hospital. Since the medicines were not helping, his doctor recommended we remove them all and start on a different regimen. For the remaining weeks of school he was in a homebound program where the teacher came to our home.
The doctor assured me that by weaning Joshua off the medicines slowly there would be no problems with withdrawal. The opposite was true! We went through three weeks of severely out-of-control behavior. Several times Joshua became extremely violent and I came close to calling 911 for help.
His reaction to withdrawal from the many drugs was a nightmare.
Next, I tried allergy treatments at a clinic and they helped somewhat. Still searching, I learned of the Feingold Program and that’s when my son’s recovery began in earnest.[www.feingold.org / (800) 321-3287]
Joshua has a severe behavioral reaction to certain synthetic food additives.
Joshua had traveled down a difficult road filled with hurt, disappointment and fear for as long as he can remember. He lost much of his childhood to this journey, but because of Feingold, Joshua has a new beginning.
Now, at age 17, we are starting our seventh consecutive year that Joshua does not carry the label “emotionally handicapped.” Looking back, our success began when Joshua was in the sixth grade. It was roughly 8 weeks prior to school starting that we began the Feingold diet. Six weeks into the diet we saw dramatic changes in Joshua. Seventh grade went so well that during the annual meeting required for all students that receive “special services,” the school suggested a battery of behavioral testing and classroom observations to determine if Joshua still needed the services and the label that he carried in his file. After thorough testing and review, Joshua’s eight-year special needs folder was permanently closed. He no longer exhibited any signs of needing help in any form. This was truly a victory!
This is the seventh consecutive year Joshua’s teachers have told me he shows respect and cooperation without any opposition. Joshua is finally able to manage his anger when things don’t go his way (this feat alone was like a mountain to conquer).
Joshua no longer has trouble controlling his behavior. He is thriving in school and in all areas of his life.
His teachers view him as pleasant to be around as well as a good student. Joshua is able to remain seated for an extended period, is capable of thinking before acting, and no longer needs behavioral therapy. I no longer receive calls to come pick him up at school because he’s out of control and disruptive. Joshua has been able to attend events through the school or sports where I was not required to stay “just in case there’s a problem.”
Joshua went a total of seven years being medicated 24 hours a day with three medications (totaling 9 pills a day, for 365 days a year) to a healthy diet and absolutely no medicine.
Joshua is finally forming strong friendships. This list could go on but the bottom line is …since Feingold, this is the first time I like my son, and best of all HE likes who he’s become.
Our life finally feels, and is, “normal.” This is what we have both hoped for.
I know my son’s “transformation” did not occur due to maturity, changing schools, peer pressure, a reward system, or anything of the sort. The changes in Joshua came as a result of the simple changes we made in the food we eat.
A few months after we began seeing success on Feingold, Joshua wanted to do what he called “an experiment.” I allowed him to eat the synthetic chemicals (foods containing artificial colors and flavors) for a week because I knew his cooperation was essential for this to work. On the fourth day he began having rage attacks, showing opposition and defiance, just like before. He shouted at his teacher, threw a book across the room at another student, and spent a day in the principal’s office.
When he went back to eating the synthetic chemicals, the old behaviors returned in four days. It was a humiliating experience for my son.
He embarrassed himself terribly in front of his peers and came home asking to ditch the experiment. This validated the fact that the diet was truly the key to his happiness and success.
For the entire story – visit www.findingjoshua.org