But given the outstanding results that have so very often been obtamed when life-affirming and drug-free approaches are used, what can be said about the medical and psychiatric establishments who have so far simply ignored them? Unlike drugs, the alternative approaches typically enhance learning, build self-esteem, promote overall health, encourage self-reliance and have no side effects. They do not so much seek to make children more "manageable," as to make it easier for children to manage the challenges and opportunities life brings them.
When I called the American Dietetic Association's National Center for Nutrition and Disease in late 1995 to ask about the Feingold program' I was greeted by a recorded voice cheerfully telling me: "This month, the nutrition hotline is supported in part by grants from Kellogg Company, Glaxo-Wellcome [pharmaceuticals], Meade-Johnson, and Quaker.~, Not overly impressed with the organization's impartiality, Iplodded forward and soon found myself being told by a spokesperson for the organization that there is no reason to worry about chemical food additives in children's diets.
The American Dietetic Association does promote a consumer fact sheet on diet and health that focuses on ADHD, and an accompanying booklet titled "Questions Most Frequently Asked About Hyperactivity."52 After asking-"Is there a dietary relationship to hyperactivity? Should I restrict certain foods from my child's diet?"-the material responds: "The answer to both questions is 'No."' As if this were not enough, the fact sheet adds: "Sugar has a mildly quieting effect on some children," and then goes out of its way to find fault with the Feingold program. I find it troubling that these materials, promoted by the American Dietetic Association, were written and produced by the Sugar Association.53
Similarly, in 1995 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) accepted $50,000 from the Sugar Association and $70,000 from the Meat Board to fund a nutrition video for children.54 The AAP's position paper on ADHD thoroughly endorses medication and drug treatment, and contains not a single word about diet or nutrition.55
What would happen if instead of cozying up to the junk food industry, our medical authorities stood up and demanded that our children be fed a healthy, natural, and uncontaminated diet? Our children might have a better chance to grow up calm and clear. We might see fewer of them becoming trapped in substance abuse, and more of them becoming balanced and capable human beings.
What would happen if organized medicine became an advocate for the creation of healthy learning environments for our children? Our schools might begin to become places of learning that nurture the wholeness and well-being of young people.
What would happen if instead of resisting and ignoring the use of proven alternatives, the medical establishment offered its support? Perhaps fewer of our children who are having difficulties would be pathologized and drugged, and more would grow into competent people with joy to share and a contribution to make.
What would happen if the American Psychiatric Association, the National Institutes of Health, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other representatives of organized medicine threw their considerable weight behind safer, more effective ways of responding to children's problems?
- Our youngsters would be healthier and happier. Their lives would be blessed with greater opportunity for fulfillment and meaning. They would become increasingly centered and self-reliant, and better able
The future would look a lot brighter for all of us.