Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a health condition in which the affected people lose control of their impulsive behavior and find it difficult to remain attentive. While this condition can be managed through treatment, there is no cure for it. Today, statistics indicate that the prevalence of ADHD is higher in certain countries than in others. For instance, in the United States of America, up to nine percent of children in the school going age suffer from ADHD and have to rely on regular pharmaceutical medications to control their condition (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In France, however, only a small percentage of children are diagnosed and medicated for ADHD. The low number of French children who have ADHD is highly attributable to the holistic approach used by the clinicians to minimize the causes and the proper parental interventions such as appropriate diet as well as controlled behavior development.
The French psychiatrists use a comprehensive system for the classification of emotional deficiencies among children, which focuses on the proactive and holistic correction of the underlying causes of such problems. The Classification Francaise des Troubles Mentaux de L'Enfant et de L'Adolescent (CFTMEA) is based on the understanding that ADHD is not merely a biological dysfunction or a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain but rather a culmination of various sociological preconditions (Marilyn, n.d). Based on this approach, the French psychiatrists and clinicians have primarily focused on identifying and resolving the various psychosocial or situational issues that predispose children to the symptoms of ADHD. Through this proactive approach, the psychiatrists can develop the best pharmacological interventions that suppress the symptoms of ADHD and reduce the aggressive development of the condition (Lecendreux, Konofal, & Faraone, 2011). The therapeutic approach employed by the French physicians can be construed as comprehensive and proactive in the sense that they establish what wrong in the child's social context is and correct it as a matter of urgency. This then substantially reduces the number of children who report ADHD or qualify for its diagnosis. If a child is diagnosed with ADHD, the psychiatrists diligently narrow down to a specific behavioral problem and searching for the possible underlying social situations. With the conception that ADHD is a social problem, the psychiatrists in France do not prescribe any medications but take the child through holistic psychotherapy after which they regain normalcy. This approach effectively stops ADHD aggression and renders prescribed medications irrelevant.
The French parents are significantly involved in the activities, choices, and general welfare of their children, which is a critical factor that reduces the prevalence of ADHD. The parents are instrumental in entrenching the diet factor identified by the French psychiatrists as a possible cause of ADHD (Bellisle, 2004). The parents also set limits for their children, which trains them to have a sense of patience, self-control, safety, and security. An average French parent works closely with the psychiatrists to encourage their children to take a regular healthy diet and avoid snacks. The parents ensure that the children at any time conform to a set of dietary habit which prevents them from anxiety, mental rush, and feeling of insecurity (Marilyn, n.d). Despite the fact they express love to their children like any parent would do, they set limits to it. The enforcement of such restrictions in eating, expression, and wants prevents the children from being slaves to their insatiable desires, which significantly reduces their predisposition to ADHD. The parents of children with ADHD in France work closely with the clinicians and are aware that the food which the children consume affect their brain functioning, at least in the long run, and the overall environment in which they operate can significantly influence their likelihood of suffering from the condition (Bellisle, 2004). Therefore, they proactively work to eliminate such risks, thus reducing the burden on the children.
The French clinicians apply an encompassing definition of ADHD as a psychosocial and situational disorder, which makes it easier for them to address the symptoms before it develops to full-blown condition. Ideally, ADHD being a psychiatric condition requires a comprehensive understanding of root causes through proper diagnosis and developing a continuum of best interventions (Faraone et al., 2003). The French psychiatrists do not easily label a child as having ADHD. They, however, employ a systematic assessment of their symptoms and address them at that level. This means that the interventions come before the disorder progresses to stages where they can be defined as ADHD proper. This approach is different from that in other jurisdictions in which when a child is presented to the physiatrists with minor symptoms indicative of ADHD; they are quickly classified as suffering from a biological defect such as a chemical imbalance n the brain after which they are subjected to prescribed medication. The French clinicians and psychiatrists have a different mindset about ADHD compared those in other areas such as the United States. For instance, they believe that there is no one condition in the brain of a child that makes them have ADHD (Faraone et al., 2003). Instead, they objectively assess the symptoms of the disorder and treat each of them as well as remedy the causative conditions through psychotherapy for behavior change and counseling.
In conclusion, ADHD is a challenging psychotic disorder with varying prevalence in different regions. In the United States, an estimated 9% of schooling children are undergoing active medication for the condition. However, the population of children affected in French remains relatively low or negligible. Such low rates o ADHD among children in France can be attributed to parental involvement, proactive clinical, and a proactive psychiatric approach to its associated symptoms.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition: DSM-5. Washington: American Psychiatric Association.
Bellisle, F., (2004). Effects of diet on behavior and cognition in children. British Journal of Nutrition, 92(S2), S227-S232. https://doi.org/10.1079/BJN20041171.
Faraone, S. V., Sergeant, J., Gillberg, C., & Biederman, J. (2003). The worldwide prevalence of ADHD: is it an American condition? World Psychiatry, 2(2), 104. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1525089/
Lecendreux, M., Konofal, E., & Faraone, S. V., (2011). Prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and associated features among children in France. Journal of attention disorders, 15(6), 516-524. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054710372491.
Marilyn Wedge (n.d). Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD. LD Resources Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.ldrfa.org/why-french-kids-dont-have-adhd/
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