Medicating children more than necessary

Children throughout the country, including in the Houston area, are being prescribed a lot of pills. Studies show the number of anti-psychotic drugs prescribed to pediatric patients has doubled the past decade. This is for everything from bipolar disorder to ADHD. We met up with a pediatrician from Magnolia who believes our society has gone too far.

Americans have been led to believe there's a prescription drug to cure just about everything.

Dr. Paula Kruppstadt with Hope for Healing Clinic in Magnolia believes many prescriptions are more like a band-aid to cover-up symptoms.  She prefers finding a natural treatment that cures the root of the problem.  "So many times, medications for ADD or behavior will help for a while, but then not anymore and make it worse.  Then we're just doing medication roulette," explains Dr. Kruppstadt.

She never imagined she'd need to medicate her own children.  When she did, it seemed the right thing to do, since that's been her standard practice for 25 years.  "That's how I was trained to treat, but we have found out - we give too many medications and the consequences of that," she states.  Dr. Kruppstadt is concerned about physical consequences that she says take place in the intestines from medications.  She says research proves that damage in the gut ends up affecting the brain, which can cause behavior issues in children.  

"About 90 percent of our body's neurotransmitters are manufactured in the gut. No one ever taught me that in medical school. Nor did they teach me about nutrition, and through my own health problems, it has led me down this path to learn more," says Dr. Kruppstadt. 

When one of her daughters showed signs of ADD and OCD and another suffered from severe juvenile arthritis, she agreed with their specialists to give them prescription drugs.  However, she listened closely to her daughter's feelings about it. 

"Out of her own mouth  she said - no mommy, I don't think this is helping me very much," says Dr. Kruppstadt. That's when she came to the realization and belief that we, as a society, are overmedicating children. She now teaches parents, in seminars, how to treat their children with a more natural approach. Many doctors believe the misuse of antibiotics is one of the reasons many infections can no longer be cleared-up by the drug. Dr. Kruppstadt encourages the parents of her patients to look at their own genes and lifestyle, in a push to "prevent" medical problems. That's the theory behind "functional medicine."  

"Functional medicine is where medicine is going, and it's moving at the speed of light! The human genome project finished mapping all human genes in 2003, we have learned material, exponential amount of material about our genes. Our genes don't define us! It's what we bathe them in that make us who we are:  the sleep we get, rest, nutrition, standard American diet - SAD - depleted of micro-nutrients, selenium, magnesium, omega fatty acids, fish oil," explains Dr. Kruppstadt. 

Now Dr. Kruppstadt is going back to school for a specialty in functional medicine, to learn a more natural approach through supplements and nutrition.  Her daughter, Anna, likes the natural approach better. A diet change and supplements, like probiotics and Vitamin B12 have made all the difference. 

"Basically it just makes me feel better- makes me feel more focused and not be so stressed and irritable.  It really helps from sort of limiting myself," says Anna.  That news makes her mom, the pediatrician, really smile. 

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