Harvard University psychologist, Jerome Kagan, is considered to be one of the most prominent psychologists of the 20th century. Kagan is ranked 22nd on the list of Eminent Psychologists published by U.S. Academics in 2002, two places above Ivan Pavlov and one place above Carl Jung.
Earlier this year, Kagan had the courage to speak out about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For those who have struggled with this condition Kagan’s statements may seem like a splash of water to the face, but his assessment is worth considering, especially if solutions are still being sought.
In Kagan’s analysis, the pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists shifted the definitions of mental health, which caused a dramatic increase in the number people, especially children, diagnosed with ADHD and other mental health conditions. In short, they invented disorders and simplified the diagnosis process for profit.
It is, unfortunately, quite common in the U.S. today to receive a diagnosis based only on symptoms. This kind of simple assessment opens the door to new diagnoses and more medication. That is why we have more than one million Americans under the age of nineteen defined as bipolar and subsequently medicated. Most of these kids are not mentally ill; they simply have certain differences in temperament that could be addressed without labels or medication.
Kagan’s statements mirror what we have seen in our clinical experience working with individuals and families for the last twenty years. In our practice, people come to us who have been labeled due to a set of symptoms and then given a prescription. This is commonly seen with physical conditions such as neck pain, back pain, obesity, and more. However, it is also seen with conditions such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.
The easy availability of medications causes them to be overused and there are situations for which these drugs don’t work at all. Like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Kagan states that other conditions are exaggerated, including depression and anxiety. People get diagnosed quickly, are prescribed one of a number of medications to help their condition, and then end up taking that medication for years without moving in the direction of constructive change. This trend is not healthy and cannot continue.
The solution is simple but may not be easy: Kagan advises that instead of quickly classifying a person with a condition and prescribing a medication, a better solution would be to find a way to help each person deal with the issues they face. People need to take the time, effort, and energy to work on finding out what is causing the changes in emotional state, attention, or anxiousness.
At Network Family Wellness Center we understand that Kagan’s words and solution stand in opposition to some of the most powerful pharmaceutical companies who earn billions of dollars selling drugs that claim to reduce symptoms. And yet, from our own experience, we know them to be true.
At our clinic, we monitor the triad of physiological change: structure, behavior, and perception. A person’s body structure, their behavior patterns, and their perception patterns make up their experience of how their physiology functions, how they feel in their body, and how they experience life. If a person’s NeuroSpinal system is compromised it can impact every area of their life. Mental and emotional wellness, daily performance, and the ability to handle stress can all suffer greatly and ultimately affect quality of life.
Because the NeuroSpinal system is connected with the perception of the body and experience of life, we have found that, quite frequently, people report feeling and functioning better once their spinal structure and neural behavior changes. Even those who experience symptoms related to the types of conditions Kagan discusses share in this result, as it is quite common for NeuroSpinal shifts to change the efficiency of how the nerve system processes life events.
So, instead of putting a child, or an adult for that matter, on medication, spend time with them learning about the external stimulation they have and also about the internal integrity of the spine and nervous system. It has the best potential to produce the long-term positive changes and happy life we all deserve.
Contact us at Network Family Wellness Center for a Complementary Consultation, which is simply a conversation to get to know your health concerns, as well as your health and wellness goals, to determine if optimizing your spinal system could help you.