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According to a study released in Archives of General Psychiatry, the total number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which can cause shifts in a person's mood and energy level, drastically increased from 1994 to 2003.
Experts carry conflicting opinions as to whether the 40-fold increase is a case of overdiagnosis in the present, underdiagnosis in the past, or a combination of both.
According to the study, 1 in 100 American children under the age of 19 are taking cocktails of powerful psychiatric drugs, without knowing the long-term effects. Often overlooked in the hurry to find pharmaceutical solutions to health problems (treating the effect as opposed to the cause) is the generally accepted fact by the mainstream medical community that there are significant nutritional gaps and deficiencies in the American diet, especially in that of children.
This has been shown to be especially true regarding the nutrients vital for juvenile brain and neurological development starting as early as in the womb.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers consume at least 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, found in high concentrations in fish oil, to ensure sufficient dietary levels of DHA and EPA. These specific nutrients are important because over 75% of the tissue in an infant’s brain consists of these two crucial fatty acids. These also directly contribute to the development of the central nervous system, normal hearing and eyesight, basic cognition, and the long-term emotional and mental health of children.
Recent surveys studying DHA and EPA dietary intake and supplementation have shown that 98% of pregnant women are receiving less than 18% of the DHA and EPA necessary for proper fetal brain development.
Research has also indicated that specific amino acids such as tyrosine and glutamine, essential for normal neurotransmitter function in children, are lacking. Studies have linked deficiencies in these neurochemical messengers to children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
While the long-term effects of nutritional deficiencies related to the neurological development of the young are unknown, alarming increases in the diagnosis of bipolar, ADD and ADHD disorders is not a positive sign.