The #1 Reason Medications Often Fail to Help Neurological Conditions in Children

By Dr. Tony Ebel, DC, CPPFC, CCWP
<strong>The #1 Reason Medications Often Fail to Help Neurological Conditions in Children</strong> | PX Docs

Today we will delve into a controversial topic regarding the use of medications for neurological conditions such as ADHD and anxiety. The United States has millions of kids, parents, and adults who rely on stimulants for ADHD, anti-anxiety, and depression medications. 

I understand this can be a stressful topic for so many, but I will try to make this different. We will stick to the science and explain the neurology, physiology, how medications work, how they often fail, and why they don’t improve neurological conditions in children or patients.

We won’t leave you hanging, either. We will discuss natural options to tackle neurological conditions such as ADHD, autism, anxiety, and depression. We will address the neurology and imbalances that cause these conditions directly. This information can be life-changing for your child, family, and others. Whether you are deciding to use medications for your child or currently use them for a neurological condition without seeing any benefit, this is for you.

The #1 Reason Medications often fail

The number one reason why medications often fail for neurological conditions is that they don’t directly address the root cause. As a pediatric chiropractor, I’ve been specializing in this area, or what we call, The Perfect Storm, for 15 years. The nervous system is accessed through the spine and biomechanics. I’ve taken thousands of case histories on kids with ADHD, autism, anxiety, and depression. 

The first thing we do when we meet these parents is to listen. Right from the start, this sets us apart from traditional medical doctors. We listen and review a child’s case history to identify the root cause of their condition. We’re looking and listening through a different lens. Medications, which are chemicals, often fail because they address a neurology problem through physiology and chemistry. 

The way we are designed is that the nervous system is the boss of our body, and it controls and modulates every other system. 

Neurotransmitters allow the nervous system to communicate with all parts of the body, particularly when it comes to mental and emotional health. Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters that make us feel good and are often referred to as “feel-good chemicals.” When we try to use chemistry to alter neurology, we are not taking a direct route. 

Is the Chemical Imbalance Theory Accurate?

The chemical imbalance theory is controversial because there is no way to test a child’s chemicals. Over the years, we have given billions of prescriptions and medications to children and adults, even though we do not fully understand the science behind it. As parents, you deserve to know the science behind your child’s medication, and every doctor should teach you what I am sharing here.

Most of the time, medicine uses chemicals to treat symptoms rather than addressing the root cause. The chemical imbalance theory is accurate, but incomplete. If a child has too much epinephrine or adrenaline and not enough serotonin or dopamine – leaving them out of balance – it is likely that the nervous system is out of balance. Our work with neurologically-focused pediatric chiropractic care is based on the neurophysiological and neurological foundations.

What exactly Is the perfect storm?

During the “perfect storm,” which first refers to stress and anxiety on the mother during pregnancy, a child’s nervous system can be affected during the entire prenatal period. The umbilical cord is not just a cord that carries chemicals and nutrients from the mom’s nervous system to the baby’s nervous system, but also the neuro cord or the electrical power cord. If we continue to disempower and scare mothers, we can negatively affect a child’s nervous system. We focus on avoiding certain foods and chemicals to make pregnancy “healthy,” but we don’t address the anxiety and stress that can harm the mother and the developing baby.

This is the first part of a perfect storm that can have serious consequences for both mother and child. When a mother’s nervous system is imbalanced, there is too much stress and too little relaxation. The parasympathetic system, which controls the dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, is critical for relaxation and calmness. However, many pregnant women experience a lack of parasympathetic activity due to high stress and anxiety levels.

This imbalance can lead to birth trauma, which occurs when a stressful pregnancy interferes with natural delivery. Medical interventions such as induction, Pitocin, forceps, vacuum, and C-section may be necessary in these cases. Unfortunately, these procedures can be traumatic for both mother and baby, mainly because they involve the brainstem, which controls neurological balance.

The brainstem regulates the nervous system’s on/off switch, controlling the gas pedal (sympathetic fight or flight) and the brake pedal (relaxation and parasympathetic activity). The vagus nerve and brainstem play a critical role in regulating neurological balance, and any disruptions during childbirth can have long-lasting effects. That leads to a colicky, refluxy, constipated, or sick baby. With these challenges come various medical treatments such as antibiotics, steroids, corticosteroids, inhalers, nebulizers, and allergy medications. These medications may be necessary in some cases but can also significantly impact your child’s neurological development.

As a result of these medications, it’s not surprising that many two and three-year-olds experience delays in their neurological development, including meltdowns, tantrums, and sensory challenges. These symptoms can evolve into more serious conditions such as autism, ADHD, and anxiety. Over time, anxiety can exhaust the child’s sympathetic nervous system and adrenals, making it challenging for the body to produce the necessary chemicals and neurotransmitters to cope with the stress.

While medications such as Adderall can address the chemical and physiological imbalances associated with anxiety, they do not address the root cause of the issue: the imbalanced nervous system. 

To achieve proper balance and address the root cause of anxiety and related mental health issues, it’s essential to focus on the nervous system itself.

When taking in case histories during intake consultations with parents who have tried medications, they tell us that the medications are either not working at all for their child’s ADHD or they worked a little bit at first, but over time, the body has become accustomed to the medication, requiring higher and higher doses to achieve the same level of relief. Eventually, the medication stops working altogether, leaving parents frustrated and out of options.

It’s important to understand that the same neurophysiology applies to any chemical that enters our body, including medications, smoking, alcohol, and sugar. If the root cause, stress on the nervous system, is not addressed, adding chemistry to the mix will only lead to an increased need for medication. This is why medications often fail to help neurological conditions in the long term. 

Are genetics to Blame?

When doctors are approached with neurological challenges such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression, they tend to blame genetics. However, this is far from the truth. The explosion of ADHD, anxiety, and depression is not due to genetics but our current lifestyle. Our nervous system is designed to adapt to our environment, but we live in a highly toxic and stressful environment that does not allow for proper rest and repair. Therefore, medical doctors who blame genetics are off track.

Drug-Free Steps Every Parent Can Take to Help Their Child

The first step parents can take is to look back at their child’s case history to determine if there was any intervention during birth or early development. Some red flags include forceps, vacuum, C-sections, colic, constipation, ear infections, and sensory issues. If any of these occurred, stress is likely locked into the nervous system, and investigating and finding that stress is critical to addressing neurological challenges.

The next step parents should take down the non-medication, drug-free path to help their child’s neurological challenges is to consult with a neurologically focused pediatric chiropractor. The first step on this path is to scan and measure the health or lack of balance within the child’s nervous system. Incredible technology we use, called INSiGHT scans, is an excellent way to measure the neurophysiological function of a child’s central and autonomic nervous system. By measuring the fight or flight response, we can identify areas of stress and determine the best course of action.

I’ve written articles on the ADHD test, sensory test, and anxiety test, and no matter which condition we’re talking about, they all refer to the same tests/scans we run in our offices. The technology behind INSiGHT scans is groundbreaking, allowing us to determine the best course of action for addressing neurological challenges.

Unlike medications, which often miss the mark and come with side effects, chiropractic care goes right to the root cause of neurological imbalances. With each adjustment, we release tension from the sympathetic fight or flight system and activate the calming and regulating vagus nerve. This restores balance to the nervous system and activates the side that controls the chemistry and neurotransmitters.

This doesn’t mean that some kids aren’t going to need help from the medical world. Personally, my son Oliver’s life was saved by medicine, but chiropractic restored his nervous system and brain function. Without this restoration, Oliver may have experienced a life with seizures, autism, and ADHD and been on numerous medications like many other kids. It’s impossible to reverse the stress that caused his nervous system imbalance, but we were able to move forward and make adjustments to calm and balance his nervous system.

So I want to clarify that I hold the medical system in the highest regard. As a chiropractor, I have a unique understanding of what we do and what the medical system does. I recognize that when children are severely struggling, they may require medical intervention as a life preserver.

Chiropractic care is not a cure or treatment but a means of helping the body’s nervous system return to balance. 

This can help children heal naturally without the need for drugs. Our approach works over time to retrain and rewire the nervous system through neuroplasticity. This means children experience short-term benefits but also long-term success.

We hope this message resonates with parents struggling with decisions about medication for their children.  Please check out our PX Docs directory to find a trained pediatric chiropractor near you.  As trained neurologically focused pediatric chiropractors, we aim to help children live their best lives by restoring balance to their nervous systems. God bless.

Dr. Tony Ebel is the lead writer and educational guide for PX Docs. He is a Certified Pediatric + Wellness Chiropractor with 15 years of clinical experience. In addition, Dr. Tony has been teaching and training other Pediatric + Family Chiropractors for the past 10+ years, primarily teaching the clinical protocols he created for pediatric neurodevelopmental challenges such as Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Epilepsy, Anxiety, and more. This clinical program is now taught in collaboration with the Life University Postgraduate Department and has over 500 graduates. Dr. Tony’s passion is educating, empowering, and informing parents about the nervous system's role in natural, drug-free healing for all pediatric conditions and cases.

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