ADHD Does Not Exist
By Zoe Freeman
In the United States today, nearly 9 percent of children have been diagnosed with ADHD. That is approximately 5.1 million children who are being treated with harsh pharmaceutical medications for a neurological disorder based on one primary factor: their focus and performance in school.
The rigid, outdated structure of our school system requires young children to sit still for hours at a time and focus on purely intellectual ideas. This limits the reach of children’s mental capacities and their abilities to express themselves creatively. It’s no small wonder that so many children struggle to pay attention in class.
This California school integrates a play based way of learning into the curriculum. Students are encouraged to think creatively to solve problems and are given constant opportunities to express themselves through art, music, movement, etc. Outdoor classrooms give them space to stretch their legs and minds at the same time!
In a creative, stimulating environment, children are allowed to explore their full potential. Their focus can be channelled into their natural interests where they can thrive and excel both creatively and mentally.
They need excitement! They’re children, after all.
Instead, our schools funnel children classrooms and restrict their learning options to a cold, standardized machine of instruction. When some children fail to respond, they are branded with ADHD and corrected with medication.
Interestingly, other countries have a drastically lower percentage of diagnosed ADHD children in their populations. In France, the statistic is less than .5 percent, versus the U.S.’s 9 percent. But why are these numbers so vastly different if ADHD is a purely biological disorder?
It’s because French psychiatrists have linked the causes of ADHD to psycho-social and environmental factors ‒ such as school and home conditions ‒ and not to brain chemistry as American doctors maintain. They treat ADHD as a medical condition in view of the child’s social context rather than an imbalance in the brain and the success of their treatment methods reflect this critical distinction.
Instead of unnecessarily medicating children with biological psycho-stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall, French psychiatrists deal directly with the behavioral aspect of the ‘disorder’ and seek out underlying issues, which may be causing the child stress and discomfort. The correction to the problem is made on this underlying level through psychotherapy, family counseling and other methods, which work in tandem with normal childhood behavior.
Lifestyle changes are an important first step. Increased physical activity, outlets for creative expression and more time outdoors are ways to provide energy release and positive focus to children’s lives that will help them balance their behavior. Let them get their wiggles out and be who they are rather than try to subdue their their natural inclinations with drugs.
Nutritional influences must also be taken into account before medication. Studies have shown that some behavioral problems may worsen after eating foods containing harmful ingredients like aspartame, GMO’s, artificial food coloring and certain preservatives and/or allergens. Removal of these ingredients from children’s diets can drastically improve behavioral problems. In the United States, however, the stymied focus on pharmaceutical treatment leads clinicians and doctors to ignore the influence of diet on children’s behavior.
So, what is it we can take away from this?
In the United States, the ADHD diagnosis is handed out on a nearly epidemic scale. Between the influences of a narrow-visioned medical system, a prevalent pharmaceutical industry and a school system, which limits children’s potential, the nation has the perfect recipe for turning childhood into a disorder.
Children need to be nurtured and encouraged to explore their own childhood, not to be correctively drugged for being themselves. If a child is in distress, he/she needs attention and care, not chemical medication.
ADHD is not the issue the United States treats it as. There are safer, healthier, natural ways of helping your children succeed. Just by paying a little more attention to your children’s real needs, you can help them in ways medicine cannot and give them the childhoods they need to thrive in life!
Zoe Freeman is a new and optimistic face in the world of nutrition and wellness. She has seen the benefits of healthy living transform and even save the lives of some of her closest friends and loved ones and she is eager to be a part of the movement herself. She believes that awareness and action together are the keys to long-term, sustainable success, whether that means improving your diet or changing the world. It all begins with the proper mindset and the will to take the first step.
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