Children around the globe are being diagnosed with mood disorders like Bipolar disorder. They are constantly dealing with a multitude of hardships, due to both debilitating symptoms and societal expectations. While experiencing symptoms that resemble that of a hormonal imbalance, these children often experience academic and behavioral problems in school and at home, leading to a reduced quality of life. Severe symptoms often interfere with relationships with siblings, parents, other family members, and friends.
A good friend once described her experience with her 8-year-old daughter who had just been recently diagnosed with a mood disorder. She was not willing to conventionally medicate her daughter, but felt somewhat hopeless in the process. What’s a parent to do? Does it make you a horrible parent for not wanting to go along with the doctor’s plans to put your child on medication? Absolutely not. Like I tell all parents, you only get your child once, and through your own intuition and the support of those you respect, it is OK if you decide to take alternative measures when it comes to treating your child’s mood disorder.
First, let me clarify something about mood disorders. In 100% of the pediatric cases I have seen, all of the children were consuming foods that aggravated their neurological health. I’m not saying these kids had food allergies. While some did, the fact remained that the packaged, processed foods many of them consumed contained toxic chemicals and additives that directly affect the brain in many ways, one of which includes altering hormone levels, leading to a hormonal imbalance. The most important thing you can do as a parent is take an active role in what your child eats. It’s really that simple. Does this mean that it will be super easy for you to make the necessary changes to improve your child’s health – and his or her mood? Not at all. What it DOES mean is that you have control over what they eat. Although local, organic foods tend to cost a little more, it is very possible to incorporate more of them into your family’s diet. One question I often ask parents is, “Is organic food REALLY that expensive, or is it that the packaged, processed junk food is just really cheap?” At this point I usually get stared at for a few seconds while someone admits that they never saw it from that perspective.
The first steps in beating your child’s mood disorder should include Holistic Nutrition education and non-invasive lab testing to assess neurotransmitter levels. Ask your holistic practitioner about this for more information. This comprehensive test measures the neurotransmitter hormone levels along with other essential hormones in the body. It will reveal which hormones are looking good, as well as those which are out of balance and potentially causing unwanted symptoms – much like the ones your child may be exhibiting on a daily basis. So, to recap:
1. Focus on a clean diet that is:
Whole food, non-refined, low carb, preservative-free, GMO-free, & alkaline-forming. Don’t worry, we’ll help you understand what all of this means!
2. Note any emotional/behavioral changes that you see once the ‘yuckies’ are out of your child’s body. Improving your child’s diet will also yield other benefits like bowel regularity and a strengthened immune system, which means less sickness!
3. Balance your child’s (brain) hormones. Let your holistic practitioner guide you through the stress-free neurotransmitter testing so that you know exactly what’s behind your child’s mood disorder.
With this combined approach, your child is sure to have a marked improvement with his or her behavior, emotional well-being, and most importantly, the relationship with you.