ADHD: France vs. United States

Not only did France win this year’s World Cup, but they are seemingly winning when it comes to diagnosing and treating ADHD.

Dana, our lead Vision Therapist, found a great article that inspired me to write this week’s blog. Little did she know that I’m a Francophile at heart and spent six months living in Paris and Nice while studying abroad in college.

Funny, too, that I had a lengthy phone conversation this past week with a parent who scheduled a full vision screening and evaluation for her daughter in early September. The school insists that she is ADHD, but her pediatrician and parents think otherwise. More on that later!

What struck me, although it shouldn’t, about the article is that the United States is very much controlled by “Enormous Pharma” and brainwashed by the media. One of the example anecdotes that the article gave is as follows: “A 2009 advertisement for Intuniv, an ADHD treatment, which incorporated a kid in a beast outfit removing his startling cover to uncover his quiet, grinning self with a content perusing, ‘There’s an extraordinary child in there.’ The FDA has ventured in various times, sending pharmaceutical organizations cautioning letters or notwithstanding driving them to bring down their advertisements since they are false, deceptive, or potentially misrepresent the impacts of their medications. This kind of publicizing doesn’t occur in France.”

Many of these ads tug at parental heart strings because they portray that these medications can enhance test scores at school and alter conduct at home. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying that 11% of American kids between 4 and 17 have been determined to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, then that’s quite a few parents in desperate need of guidance.

The number of youth in France with ADHD is only 3.5%, and rarely is it treated with medication. “Once a French therapist determines their patient to have ADHD, they focus on the behavioral issues by scanning basic causes. They will concentrate on the tyke’s misery and contrast it with their social circumstances. ADHD, according to them is a social setting issue; consequently, ADHD is regularly treated with psychotherapy or even family guiding. Rarely do French specialists endorse medicines to treat ADHD, as it’s typically rendered pointless subsequent to adopting a more all encompassing strategy.”

My FAVORITE PART of this article, as I do believe food is medicine and, also, food can be just as harmful as the worst drugs you can think of, is as follows: “French therapists consider a patient’s eating regimen when scanning for the reasons for behavioral side effects connected with ADHD. Poor dietary patterns, for example, expending sustenances with manufactured hues or flavorings, additives, sugars, or potentially allergens may compound a tyke’s conduct.”

There are some doctors here in the United States, like Dr. Sanford Newmark, creator of A Guide to the Natural Care of Children, that strongly believe diet has an impact on causing and treating ADHD. He has spent over fifteen years concentrating on this piece of the puzzle. His proposals incorporate enhanced nourishment, expanded rest, iron, zinc, and Omega-3 supplements, family advising, rolling out positive social and behavioral improvements, and, even, using Traditional Chinese Medicine.

To racap, these two countries approach the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD differently. France defines ADHD as a sociological disorder caused by a set of social situations, whereas the U.S.  sees ADHD as a neurological disorder whose symptoms are the result of a biological or chemical imbalance in the brain.

There’s a lot of information here to absorb, but I’d like to circle back to that phone conversation I mentioned at the beginning of this piece. The poor mother that I spoke with was distraught, but she knew in her gut that other options needed to be explored before her child was officially labeled and medicated for ADHD. So why would she call a Behavioral Optometry office?

Often when children are not seeing binocularly, or with BOTH eyes, there is a level of frustration that cannot be easily described with their young language. They cannot understand why their eyes feel so tired, so quickly; they feel different from their peers. They may be fidgety, inattentive, or avoid school work all together. There’s a lack of confidence, and therefore, children may often act out as a result, hoping for additional attention from parents or teachers. When their eyes aren’t properly working together, they’ll have to rely on other senses like touch, for example, to understand their world around them and are seemingly INTO EVERYTHING!

As always, if you have any questions regarding the information in this piece or any other questions related to vision and/or vision therapy, we are here for you! Please note that some of the quotes taken from this article were translated from French to the best of the author’s ability, hence some funny syntax (

We’ll be blogging again after Labor Day about, believe it or not, back to school!

Enjoy the rest of your summer–

Meredith, Vision Therapist


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