Double Think the Way America Handles ADHD

Double Think the Way America Handles ADHD

Psychology Today published an interesting article about the differences in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis and treatment in the United States and France. It may make you take a closer look at pharmaceutical solutions versus psychosocial approaches to treatment.

According to the article, here is the comparison of how psychiatry usually handles ADHD in both countries:

United States

France
Over 9 percent of school-aged kids have been diagnosed with ADHD and are taking pharmaceutical medications. Less than .5 percent of school-aged kids have been diagnosed with ADHD and are taking pharmaceutical medications.
Psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes (i.e., a chemical imbalance of the brain). Psychiatrists consider ADHD a medical condition with psychosocial and situational causes.
Because ADHD is considered biological, usual treatment is psycho stimulant medications (Ritalin, Adderall, etc.). Doctors look for what is causing the child’s distress and treat the underlying social context that’s causing the problem with psychotherapy or family counseling.
The classification system Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is used. DSM does not consider underlying causes, gives a broad ADHD diagnosis to symptomatic children, and encourages pharmaceutical treatment. Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L’Enfant et de L’Adolescent (CFTMEA) is used to identify and address underlying psychosocial causes of children’s symptoms, and does not use pharmaceuticals to cover symptoms.
The focus on ADHD pharmaceutical treatment sometimes encourages clinicians to not consider dietary factors on children’s behavior. The psychosocial approach considers nutritional causes for ADHD-type symptoms. Foods with artificial colors, certain preservatives, allergens, etc., may be considered to worsen behavioral symptoms.

The author, Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., points out that French clinicians are usually successful at finding and repairing social inadequacies; therefore, fewer children are diagnosed with ADHD.

In a nutshell, other factors that may influence ADHD are parental discipline, structure, less snacking, and setting limits. These influences make children feel safer, happier, and secure, and may help to eliminate ADHD symptoms., according to Wedge.

Source: Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHDPsychology Today

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Michelle Dick
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Michelle Dick

Executive Editor at AAPC
Michelle A. Dick has been executive editor for AAPC for over seven years. Prior to her work at AAPC, she was editor-in-chief at Eli Research and Element K Journals, and disk ad coordinator, web designer/developer, and graphic artist at White Directory Publishers, Inc. Dick has a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from the State University of New York - Buffalo State and is a member of the Flower City Professional Coders in Rochester, N.Y.
Michelle Dick
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Michelle A. Dick has been executive editor for AAPC for over seven years. Prior to her work at AAPC, she was editor-in-chief at Eli Research and Element K Journals, and disk ad coordinator, web designer/developer, and graphic artist at White Directory Publishers, Inc. Dick has a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from the State University of New York - Buffalo State and is a member of the Flower City Professional Coders in Rochester, N.Y.

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