ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is actually a group of behavioral symptoms such as impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 11% of children in the U.S. between 4-17 years of age suffer from ADHD. But, according to the American Psychiatric Association, although 5% of children in the U.S. experience the symptoms of ADHD, about 15% of them have been diagnosed with the disorder.
In fact, Big Pharma is responsible for creating the ADHD epidemic in the United States. It has tried to convince doctors and parents that ADHD is a commonly experienced health issue that affects a large number of children. Big Pharma claims that there is a proper medical treatment for the disorder.
On the contrary, a number of countries disagree with the American’s ADHD stance to the extent that they use completely different strategies for identifying, diagnosing, and managing it. Namely, less than 0.5% of French kids have been diagnosed with ADHD. Moreover, it happens as a result of the fact that French doctors don’t identify ADHD as being a biological disorder caused by biological factors. They consider it a condition triggered by situational and psycho-social factors.
But, Why Is ADHD Differently Defined by French Doctors?
French and American child psychiatrists do not use the same system to identify emotional issues in childhood. Rather than using the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, French psychiatrists have an alternative classification system for identifying emotional health problems. The French Federation of Psychiatry developed the system. Additionally, the system is completely different from the APA’s system and helps psychiatrists identify the root causes that result in the symptoms. In addition, the system also helps them address the issue with a psychopathological approach.
Furthermore, France considers ADHD a sociological disorder triggered by certain social situations. On the other hand, the United States identifies ADHD as being a neurological disorder caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain or biological disfunction. In fact, the pharmaceutical industry plays a role in defining ADHD in the United States. As a result of this, the diagnosis and treatment methods in France considerably differ from that used in the United States.
Here Is Why a Greater Number of Children in the U.S. Are Diagnosed with ADHD than in France
According to a 2011 study, only 3.5% of French children are diagnosed with ADHD, whereas 11-15% of American children are diagnosed with the disorder. Dr. Marilyn Wedge, a family therapist, notes that the great number of diagnosed patients with ADHD in the U.S. could be due to the cultural differences between these 2 countries when it comes to raising kids. Dr. Wedge explains that French parents typically impose much more structured lifestyles onto their kids, like using the “cry it out” method with toddlers and babies and enforcing strict meal times. In short, children in France are actually taught appropriate self-discipline, meaning they do not have to take medications for such behavioral problems.
Unluckily, spanking is not regarded as child abuse in France. As a result of this, it is usually used to encourage proper discipline. Even though neither Dr. Wedge nor the Council of Europe supports spanking or any other child abuse form, it does encourage discipline. These ADHD treatment options are quite effective in France not due to their parenting culture, but due to their holistic approach in taking into account the diet as well as social and behavioral context.
That’s not all, unlike the U.S., France does not over-diagnose patients with ADHD. It happens as a result of the fact that pharmaceutical industry has not greatly targeted them. In the U.S., pharmaceutical industry plays a significant role in identifying and managing ADHD. Specifically, the U.S. researchers and doctors have been paid to overemphasize the negative effects of ADHD as well as the positive effects of taking their drugs.
They very easily convince people of the ADHD dangers. This misguided information is also affiliated with influential universities such as Johns Hopkins and Harvard. Also, most people are not familiar with the fact that companies, which profit from the medications’ sale, fund all these studies. But, these medications can lead to adverse side effects. So, you should not blame the doctors, since some of them actually think that they’re helping these patients as a result of the information given by Big Pharma and in the studies.
That’s not all, there are much more diagnosed children with ADHD in the United States than France due to the ADHD medication advertisements, which run in the United States. Namely, Big Pharma creates advertisements for ADHD medications sold in the United States. They are especially targeted at parents because they describe how these medications can enhance behavior and test scores.
In fact, the FDA has stepped in several times, sending these large pharmaceutical companies warning letter. What’s more, it has also urged them to take down these ads as they are misleading, and false. On the contrary, pharmaceutical companies in France do not create such advertisements.
Which ADHD Treatment Methods Are Used by French Psychiatrists?
After a patient has been diagnosed with ADHD, French psychiatrists address the behavioral problems by identifying the root causes. To explain you more deeply, French psychiatrists examine the child’s distress and then compare it to their social situations. As they consider ADHD a social context problem, it is usually treated with family counselling or psychotherapy. They rarely prescribe medications to treat ADHD since it’s typically rendered unnecessary after using a more holistic approach.
Additionally, they also take into consideration the patient’s diet when identifying the causes of ADHD. In fact, poor nutrition like eating foods loaded with sugars, preservatives, artificial flavorings or colors, or allergens could worsen the patient’s behavior.
Here Is How to Address the Underlying Cause and Treat ADHD:
France’s alternative classification system and holistic approach to fighting the issue offer a great example of how you need to address ADHD. Rather than looking for the underlying cause of the problem, the U.S. health practitioners usually consider ADHD a condition, which should be medicated. However, a great number of the children who experience symptoms of ADHD may simply experience some type of emotional trauma or are uninterested in the subject matter. They may also have heightened energy and creativity.
But, many U.S. scientists have recommended alternatives to drugs to fight ADHD. They also don’t even consider ADHD a disorder.
According to Dr. Tyler Woods, a holistic mental health practitioner, the DSM or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders often pathologizes normal behaviors. Specifically, Anxiety Disorder may be caused by some types of normal anxieties. However, the DSM experts will consider and treat it as a mental disorder.
In addition, Richard Saul is a neurologist who has been long examining patients that experience difficulty focusing and short attention spans. Thanks to his considerable experience, he does not see ADHD as a disorder, but as a group of symptoms.
Moreover, Dr. Sanford Newmark is a leading integrative paediatrician who has been examining and effectively treating ADHD without drugs for about 15 years. He explains that children experiencing ADHD symptoms should eat healthy, get good night’s sleep, take Omega-3, zinc, and iron supplements. That’s not all, he also recommends making some positive behavioural and social changes, and family counselling. He also considers drugs a last option as ADHD medications contribute to many adverse side effects and only act 70% of the time.
- Wedge, Marilyn. ˮA Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemicˮ;
- Newmark, Sanford. ˮADHD Without Drugs – A Guide to the Natural Care of Children with ADHD ~ By One of America’s Leading Integrative Pediatriciansˮ;
- Saul, Richard. ˮADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorderˮ;