There are millions of U.S. children taking prescription drugs that can possibly stunt emotional development and create the potential for future addiction.
The problem is they can’t sit still, be quiet, focus, or stay on task, and teachers and parents want them medicated to change their behavior.
One out of four U.S. adults medicates for mood, anxiety, or emotional-mental disorders, and one out of ten medicates for depression. As with children, the drugs used by adults for these conditions, which are all types of “disconnect syndrome,” can also be functionally detrimental to their physical and emotional health.
The umbrella of disconnect syndrome disorders includes:
- Attention deficit disorders
- Memory disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Chronic pain
Each of these symptom complexes are usually treated with potentially harmful prescription drugs.
Many people are unaware that there are consistently effective alternative treatments available (their only side effects being improved health and well- being).
A common thread
All disconnect syndrome conditions have one major factor in common: a central nervous system (CNS) imbalance. Often, because of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) dominance or overactivity, there are numerous variations of autonomic dysfunction associated with disconnect syndrome. Unbalanced right and left hemispheres, for example, are frequently present in disconnect syndrome.
What better tool to balance the CNS than a chiropractic adjustment? Even an inappropriate adjustment to the craniosacral bones and spine still positively influence CNS balance. You may not always be 100 percent specific and accurate in the delivery of your adjustments, but they often still accomplish positive results.
In a recent article, the authors state from their review of research that it has been well established that the chiropractic spinal adjustment has a direct and immediate effect on the CNS.1 Furthermore, there are also effects on the primitive centers of the brain that can ameliorate anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. A 2015 meta-analysis concluded that “cervical manipulation elicits a parasympathetic response and thoracic/lumbar manipulation elicits a sympathetic response.”2
Furthermore, it has been shown that the chiropractic manipulation affects the neuroendocrine system, therefore also affecting neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.3 Imbalances of these neurotransmitters are directly involved in disconnect syndrome.
From blocking to balance
The research literature overwhelmingly supports a relationship between discon- nect syndrome and the antibody- antigen reaction, specific individual reactions, and various food sensitivities. A few food and chemical factors have been identified that play a large part in most cases of disconnect syndrome.
Isolating these will greatly support and enhance CNS balance and reinforce the chiropractic adjustment.
David Perlmutter, MD, a medical neurologist, states that his program of diet modification, supplementation, and elimination of gluten can address the following conditions: ADHD, anxiety and chronic stress, chronic migraines and headaches, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, focus and concentration problems, arthritis, insomnia, and intestinal problems including celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and irritable bowel syndrome. He also finds it can have a positive effect on memory issues and mild cognitive impairment (frequently a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease), mood disorders, excess weight and obesity, and more.4
This author’s own clinical experience using diet modification, supplementation, and food sensitivity testing, agrees with Perlmutter’s findings. Addressing food allergies, especially to gluten, dairy, and sugars, could help correct disconnect syndrome. Additionally, chiropractic management of CNS dysfunction associated with disconnect syndrome greatly increases the success rate of treating these conditions.5,6
The brain-gut connection
There is substantial research showing the importance of the relationship between the brain and the GI tract, and how it affects CNS imbalances. Perlmutter analyzed current research that undeniably establishes the brain- gut connection as an essential factor in evaluating and treating disconnect syndrome.7
Indeed, this has been a part of many alternative care practitioners’ tools and protocols for decades. Addresssing dysbiosis (also called dysbacteriosis), as well as general bowel function toxicity, could help alleviate disconnect syndrome.
Toxic metals and chemicals are severe CNS stressors. Safe, non-toxic measures to extract these from the body are complements to chiropractic CNS support. Detoxification and chelation products are abundant, but only a few will effectively remove chemicals and metals from the body.
Three of the most common toxic metals that show up in clinical practice are mercury, lead, and aluminum.
Although all toxic metals can be a factor in disconnect syndrome, these three tend to be more problematic, with mercury exposure being the most common. According to neurosurgeon
Russell Blaylock, MD: “Although mercury exposure can damage many bodily systems, the nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems suffer the most adverse effects.”8 He sees this especially in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease.
Symptoms of mercury toxicity include:
- Personality changes
- Unusual irritability
- Impaired concentration
Why is mercury such a problem? People can be exposed to it through, for example, dental amalgams, beauty creams, certain medications, and coal burning. It is estimated that about 5,000 tons of mercury are released into the atmosphere every year from coal burning, natural gas, and petroleum refining alone.
Many of the same symptoms of mercury exposure are found in aluminum toxicity. Aluminum has become a part of everyday life; aluminum sulfate is used to treat public water supplies, and when combined with the fluoride used in most municipal water systems, it can create a potent toxic compound resulting in widespread brain cell death.
In addition, aluminum utensils, cans, foils, deodorant, and foods cooked with aluminum can lead to exposure.
The federal guidelines established in the 1970s for reducing lead levels in the environment have dramatically reduced lead exposure but it still poses problems. It can be found in the soil, in cans, paint, plaster, pipes, solder, ceramic glaze, and imported herbal products.
Although most modern homes have PVC pipes, modern faucets often have joints that can leach lead into water. Fluoridated water compounds the problem by increasing the risk of leaching.
Lead toxicity poses the greatest risk to the prenatal and newborn CNS. As with mercury and aluminum, lead can be a factor in most symptom complexes of disconnect syndrome. Lead exposure has been linked to lowered memory, reduced cognition, lowered IQ, neurodegenerative diseases, attention disorders, aggressive behavior, and anxiety.
Two major chemical toxins also associated with disconnect syndrome are pesticides and plastics. These are some of the most common chemical pollutants found on the planet. They factor in disconnect syndrome as they are potent endocrine disruptors causing hormonal and neurotransmitter dysfunction.
To correct disconnect syndrome, it is essential to balance CNS function; and balancing CNS function requires properly balancing neurotransmitters.
In addition to your adjustment, an ideal program to treat disconnect syndrome would specifically address the chemical, physiological, and toxic environmental blockers to balancing the CNS. And a simplified treatment protocol would deliver replicable, consistent results. As the number of cases continues to rise, look for solutions you can implement in your own practice.
Michael E. Whitman, DC, FACACN, is vice president, clinical researcher, and product formulator for Brain Brilliance. He wrote the initial nutritional section for the Indiana Chiropractic Board of Licensing Examiners, and authored Progressive Path of Natural Health Care and You Don’t Have to Live with Chronic Pain, No Matter What Your Doctor or Aunt Betty Says. He can be contacted through brainbrillianceinc.com.
1 Studin M, Owens W. Chiropractic Spinal Adjustments and the Effects on the Neuroendocrine System and the Central Nervous System Connection. The American Chiropractor. 2016;38(1):46-51.
2 Kovanur Sampath K, Mani R, Cotter JD, Tumilty S. Measureable changes in the neuro- endocrinal mechanism following spinal manip- ulation. Med Hypotheses. 2015;85(6):819-24.
3 Pickar JG. Neurophysiological effects of spinal manipulation. Spine J. 2002;2(5):357-371.
4 Perlmutter D. (2013). Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
5 Whitman ME. (ca. 1985). The Progressive Path of Natural Healthcare. n.p.
6 Whitman ME. (2012). You Don’t Have to Live with Chronic Pain No Matter What Your Doctor or Aunt Betty Says. Brazil, IN: Midwest Institute of Health & Longevity.
7 Perlmutter D, Loberg K. (2015). Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain—for Life. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
8 Blaylock RL. (2002). Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life. Albuquerque: Health Press NM.