Ritalin --- Pharmaceutical Blackmail

Philip Ranheim, MD
Article Type: 
Summer 2001
Volume Number: 
Issue Number: 

Dear Editor,

I enjoyed the article by Vin Suprynowicz entitled, "Ritalin -- Pharmaceutical Blackmail." The economic, political and moral dimensions are most interesting and rather disturbing. What is happening when state agencies overrule family care of children except in the most extreme situations?

Equally significant from a point of view of disease causation and diagnosis is the fact that what we call "ADHD" may reflect one of two things which are not usually addressed when prescribing Ritalin. First, is the fact that poor learning and disruptive behavior may reflect the absence of moral authority and structure in the home as well as in the school. Some children need to know who is boss, know what is right and wrong, and know that they are loved for a lifetime by parents and teachers.

Second, children may be experiencing attention deficit and hyperactivity symptoms due to allergic, sensitizing and toxic environmental exposures. The central nervous system is vulnerable to mold proteins, mycotoxins, and synthetic chemicals as well as to proteins in common foods and chemicals in food additives. Acting primarily through non-IgE pathways a whole variety of "allergic" and sensitivity symptoms may occur which can mimic ADHD. We see the proof of this in our laboratory when patients are directly challenged with a variety of substances including molds, chemicals, food additives, and food substances and subsequently become hyperactive, inattentive, or somnolent. How sad it is to see symptoms suppressed with a drug when avoidance of triggers would suffice.

Those interested in this subject may want to look at the book entitled The Healthy School Handbook by Norma Miller. Reintroducing healthy, loving moral authority in our classrooms as well as cleaning up classroom environments contaminated with molds and chemicals represent a better long-term solution than "speed."

Philip Ranheim, MD
Everett, WA

Correspondence originally published in the Medical Sentinel 2001;6(2);37-39. Copyright©2001 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

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