The Fish
for 11 April 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
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Intention Deficit Disorder

Subject: ADD & Diet

I believe that many health
problems are most likely
caused by the American diet.
While I don't have ADD
myself, my mother and I have
been diagnosed with a Candida
yeast infection. Part of our
problem is eating a diet that
is too high in refined
products such as sugar. (Have
you noticed that high
fructose corn syrup is in
everything these days?) No
wonder Eli Lilly is getting
into the diabetes business.

It's taken me 6 and my mother
15 years to find a holistic
medical doctor who
understands our problems.
I've come to the realization
that most doctors only
understand what pill to
prescribe. Most don't
acknowledge the profound and
cumulative impact that diet
can have on our bodies over
the years since they have not
been educated in nutrition.
One book I read stated that
the average physicians knows
as much about nutrition as
his secretary. However, if
the secretary goes to Weight
Watchers, then about half as
much. One of my doctors told
me she only received 30
minutes worth of nutrition
education in med school. As a
result, she eats half a box
of Oreos and milk for dinner.
(FYI, too much milk is bad
because of all the lactose,
milk sugar, in it. However,
we're educated from a very
early age to drink milk and
make sure that we "Got Milk".
Could you imagine not
drinking milk? It equates
with not being American.)

I think the medical
establishment needs a wake-up
call. There's lots of good
things that naturopaths are
doing these days with
low-tech remedies and herbs
(which means no money for
drug companies). I suspect
that physicians are just "in
bed" with drug companies
because that's what they've
been taught - how to write
prescriptions. They look to
the drug companies for
answers. The trouble with
drugs is that some have some
very bad side effects and
then one needs to take more
drugs for the side effects.
The advantage of drugs is
that most work quickly.
However, herbs, etc. are more
gentler to the system and
take longer to work.

Most of our doctors are not
going to change on their own.
I've run into some obnoxious
and ignorant people who gave
me very little hope. On the
contrary, I also ran into
some well-meaning doctors who
worked with me to try every
possible solution, but they
were still ignorant. They
worked with what tools they
had which were drugs.

I'm much more skeptical about
doctors these days and it's a
good thing. I'm only 28, and
it's a healthy perspective to
have. These folks are not the
demigods they're made out to
be. They know what they've
been taught, and I doubt how
often they ever research
their patients' problems or
learn something new. Most
would like to hand you a pill
and have you leave quickly so
that they can see someone
else and repeat the
procedure. And as long as
they're following standard
medical practices, they're
technically not doing any
harm.

about ADD & diet

about the Selective
Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)


Jerry
<crustfan@netscape.net>

1.) Milk is the most
repulsive thing on earth.
It's like drinking pus. I
stopped when I was about ten
minutes old. Seeing grown-ups
drink a big cold glass of the
stuff makes me shudder and
gag.

2.) Except in coffee.

3.) Oreos aren't bad at all.

4.) If I don't run at least
five miles, hard, every day?
Cranky, unbalanced,
miserable, awful person.
Tantrums. Bursts of
profanity. Lethargy.
Destructive bursts of
unfocused energy. So: Diet,
sure, but exercise, too.

5.) There are those who would
argue that I'm an awful
person when I run, too, but
they stop complaining when I
hit them. Take that for what
it's worth.

And these are my thoughts on
the subject.

Ambrose
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Editor's note:

Overprescribing drugs for
children is undoubtedly an
incredibly alarming trend.
However, lest this become
another idiotically
simpleminded doctor-bashing
pile-on...

"Most of our doctors are not
going to change on their own.
I've run into some obnoxious
and ignorant people who gave
me very little hope. On the
contrary, I also ran into
some well-meaning doctors who
worked with me to try every
possible solution, but they
were still ignorant. They
worked with what tools they
had which were drugs....I'm
much more skeptical about
doctors these days and it's a
good thing. I'm only 28, and
it's a healthy perspective to
have. These folks are not the
demigods they're made out to
be."

So, we can choose between
obnoxious ignorant doctors
and well-meaning ignorant
doctors? No sane person
thinks doctors are demi-gods,
Jerry, just as no sane person
thinks that someone who spent
6 - 10 years studing the hard
science behind how your body
functions is "ignorant" -
more ignorant than you, who
read a few books about herbs
and how yeast breads give you
everything from headaches to
cancer.

These people know more than
you, Jerry, as horrifying as
that may be to hear. While
it's true that many, many
doctors overprescribe drugs,
and many doctors don't listen
closely to patients' accounts
of what's wrong with them,
you have to keep in mind the
sheer volume of patients
doctors see every day who are
sure that little green men
are giving them stomach
aches.

It's your responsibility to
find a doctor who listens to
you, and respects your
hesitancy to use unneeded
pharmaceuticals, and respects
your testimony regarding
homeopathic remedies.
However, given the fact that
you're sure your health
problems can be summed up
with the words "Candida yeast
infection" and that drinking
milk is bad for everyone
because of those "milk
sugars," you may have more
trouble than most people do
finding this person.

Sucksters
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Having raised two boys who
were labeled ADD and ADHD at
early ages (five and seven,
respectively), I look with
growing dismay upon this "The
kid's hyperactive, let's put
him on drugs to quiet him
down" model of education that
seems to be growing more and
more popular here in the good
old U.S. of A.

I'll be the first to admit
that the behavioral situation
in the nation's public
schools is bad, but is
wholesale medication of the
populace really the answer?
In addition to the blatantly
mixed message that this sends
to our youth (Carry Midol in
your purse and we'll expel
you, but get all of the horse
tranquilizers that you want
in the nurse's office), it
implies that no one is
responsible for his own
behavior, a message that must
bring at least a small shred
of joy to the presumed souls
of Messrs. Harris and
Klebold, wherever they are.

I'd certainly be the last to
deny a child needed
medication to treat a medical
condition, but in the case of
strictly behavioral
"problems", other options
should be given a chance
before rolling out the big
guns. Just last year, I
finally persuaded my wife, a
true believer in the power of
prescription drugs, that we
should try some alternative
therapies. I mean, the older
boy is a high-school senior;
what, he should take Ritalin
until he's 40? After
experimenting with various
dietary supplements, I found
what seems to be the right
combination, and he's doing
splendidly, despite my wife's
concerns that his grades
would fall in this crucial
year.

Also, I know that teachers
are underpaid, undertrained,
and under-resourced, and any
"solution" that provides
results as quickly as the
average psychotropic drug
must look very attractive
indeed. Certainly, in these
days of ADSL connections,
same-day delivery, and
30-second microwave burritos,
we are conditioned to believe
that the quickest solution is
the best.

Besides, imagine the
potential genius that's being
stifled every time a budding
Albert Einstein or Jane
Goodall pops a Prozac.

(Imagine a fancy inline
graphic here.)

"There must be more to life
than having everything."

--Maurice Sendak

John C Harvey
<jharvey@irving.lib.tx.us>

Actually, we've been meaning
to talk to you about those
boys of yours. Could you get
them to keep it down? We're
trying to get some work done.

midol in my purse,

Ambrose
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Ambrose Beer,

Well done. You've voiced
exactly the sort of
conspiracy I've long
suspected, but failed to
identify, even in my home. As
evidence, I offer up my crop
of teenagers who, thankfully,
are not prescription
medicated. They are damaged
however.

Guess I should have played
that Zappa album about the
slime more often. Now,
because I allowed that
cathode ray tube into my home
years ago, they are lost -
firmly in the pocket of
whoever wants to sell them
something: anything, as long
as it's on their radar
screen.

Now they only venture away
from that glowing tube to do
two things; to get money or
to spend money. How sad that
I'm too feeble to force-march
them outside for a breath of
fresh air or any other form
of activity that doesn't
require consumption and great
buttloads of money.

Where corporate interests and
the economy is concerned, you
are truly subversive. Watch
your back!

Robert M. Farr
Austin, Texas

<bobfarr@earthlink.net>

There will be no t.v. for
little Baby Beers, should she
or he ever be conceived. I
sound like somebody's WWI-vet
grandpa, but that goddamn
evil box is the worst drug of
them all.

Well, except for the dirty
stations on cable. Those are
very nice. And the fella what
wrassles with the alligators.

Ambrose
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Intention Deficit Disorder

Ambrose,

"And the cocktails of uppers,
downers, and SSRIs aren't the
only realities of
contemporary childhood that
suggest the possibility that
large numbers of
grade-schoolers may someday
sign with Colonel Tom, do a
bunch of shitty movies, and
die on the toilet."

Heh. Just as I finished
reading this line my alarm
sounded to remind me to take
my Ritalin, which made me
chuckle (which subsequently
made me nearly choke on the
damn little pill).

I was diagnosed with ADD at
age 23, and I've been taking
Ritalin off and on ever
since. I quit taking it about
a year and a half ago because
I was convinced that it
hindered my creativity, which
I saw as a con that far
outweighed the pros of
drugging myself into
conformity every day. Turned
out that I couldn't do my
shitty job without it. I also
couldn't balance my
checkbook, pay my bills on
time, match my socks, find my
keys or remember to eat
(maybe there's your link to
why the little
pharmaceutically treated
buggers are getting so fat),
so I started taking it again.
I dream of the day when I can
do something for a living
that actually has something
to do with my inherent
talents and abilities, at
which point my addled brain
and my admittedly twisted way
of looking at things will be
an asset rather than a
liability, and I hope that
once I get there I'll be able
to afford to hire people to
take care of the necessities
of life for me; but in the
mean time, I continue to take
it so that I can function at
my shitty job and take care
of myself, and try not to
dwell on the fact that my
brain on drugs loses touch
with those talents and
abilities that I hope will
someday earn me a decent
living. It's quite a
trade-off.

I have to wonder if, had I
been diagnosed and medicated
from an early age, I'd have
done better in school, lived
up to all of that potential
that everybody kept telling
me I wasn't living up to,
learned some social skills,
graduated college, and been
able to get a job that's not
quite so shitty, that
wouldn't require me to
voluntarily drug myself into
a socially acceptable norm
just to be able to get
through the day without
screwing up or alienating all
of my coworkers. Then again,
maybe if I had been given
medication all through my
childhood, I'd have missed
out on all of the schoolyard
beatings and faculty neglect,
not to mention the wrath of
my parents who knew I was
smart but mistook my
inability to get ahead for
unwillingness to try and
punished me accordingly, all
of which led to my
considerable teen angst,
which put me in touch with my
ability to write, which led
me to become a writer.

So on the one hand I'd likely
have turned out to be a
corporate cog with good pay,
good benefits, good manners,
good memories, and social
grace, and I'd be leading a
perfectly normal life, and
I'd probably be the sort of
person who gets a little
wigged out by people like me.
When I consider this, I'm
glad that my parents didn't
medicate me. Yes, my
childhood was incredibly
painful as a result, and I
may be broke, bitter and
introverted, but I'd rather
be this way and aware of who
I am and what I came from and
where I'm headed as both a
writer and a person, than
blissfully ordinary and
uncreative.

Seriously.

Jean Marie Cousins
<cousinjean@cybergeek.com>

Jean,

I have torn through many,
many, many shitty jobs, and
the thing I can promise you
is: There are always more of
them out there. Not worth
drugging yourself to keep a
job you hate when
unemployment is at, like,
point-zero-zer- zero-four
percent. Save that for the
next major economic
depression.

As for me, I spent about a
month on Ritalin as a five
year-old. My parents,
however, immediately noticed
that it turned me into a
houseplant, and - bless their
hearts - told the mediocre
school district that wanted
me drugged to... well, you
get the point. And now, to
repeat a favorite theme, I
write for Suck!

And, anyway, what the hell's
wrong with a shitty
childhood, schoolyard
beatings, no social skills, a
poor education, and being
broke and bitter? You make it
sound bad or something.
Please.

Ambrose
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Todays article kicked ass. I
particularly like the part
where you refer to the
American consumers as Aphids
of the new economy. We are
indeed being reduced to
spineless consumers which
excrete food for our masters.
As someone who tries to avoid
participation consumerism, I
must say that the good
feelings generated by
standing against the man more
than compensates for the
derision I recieve for my
unstylish dress, my wholesome
diet, and my anti-imperialist
hygiene.

Ciao

Ben
<bschwabe@mit.edu>

Your warm praise is humbly
accepted. Well, okay, not
humbly. Just one thing:
Tragically, you have singled
out, for special praise, a
piece of the essay - that
"aphids" thing - that came
from the mind of a highly
trained Suck editor. They're
good, yes? But the rest was
mine. Or at least a lot of it
was. For sure all the other
good parts. So. Yeah.

Ambrose
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Ambrose:

Read your piece in Suck today
and enjoyed it immensely.
This trend of medicating our
kids seems only to serve to
raise the stock values of
pharmaceutical companies and
continues a grotesque trend
of America's elders not
raising the young but
devouring them. If we can't
bother to raise them, we can
at least make a little money
off them as we grind them to
dust.

I was surprised you didn't
mention Brave New World
anywhere in your piece, with
the Soma holidays being a
natural extension of what
these medicated kids will
become as adults.

Your pieces habitually hack
me off, make me laugh and
oblige me to nod my head.
Strong work.

Cheers,

Randal Doering
<rdoering@best.com>

"Your pieces hack me off"
just doesn't sound like a
compliment, no matter how
many times I re-read it.
Sounds like I've given you a
throat disease of some kind.
But still and all, thanks.

off to the feelies,

Ambrose
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Thank you for your piece on
the appalling overuse of
drugs to keep kids from
being, well, kids. Back in my
day (I'm a hoary oldster of
29) I played soccer, went
swimming, and watched a lot
of football, and except for
being kind of cranky at
times, did just fine. "Just
Say No" was just starting;
little did we know that our
generation would switch to
"Say Yes To Ritalin" in only
twenty years.

It will come full circle,
though. Just you wait for the
class-action lawsuits by
grown-up Ritalin kids. Only a
few years left until this
happens - the maker had
better hope that it's off
patent by that time, so the
risk can be spread across the
whole industry.

Andrew Sullivan
<ajsullivan@att.com>

Lawsuits? Naaaaah. Baseball
bats.

Much more elegant and
streamlined.

Ambrose
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

 The Shit
Krushchev Remembers, by Nikita Krushchev (authorship disputed), translated by Strobe Talbott
Five-Star Day Cafe
Athens, Ga.
Salon's "Action Figures"
TV ad
Donna's Famous "Long and Short of It," by Donna Anderson and friends
Two-Lane Blacktop, directed by Monte Hellman (The Anchor Bay/Universal letterboxed edition)
George Bush, Dark Prince of Love: A Presidential Romance, by Lydia Millet (Scribner)
King Kong: The Complete 1933 Film Score, by Max Steiner Moscow Symphony Orchestra, William J. Stromberg conductor (Marco Polo)
Eightball #20, by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics Books)
The ECW's Little Spike Dudley
Stan Kenton, City of Glass, featuring arrangements by legendary weirdo Bob Graettinger (EMD/Blue Note)
Comix 2000, Edited and published by L'Association, 2000
Star Dudes
Do you know of stuff that doesn't actively suck? Things so good they deserve to make the Shitlist? Send your suggestions to us.

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