An astute examination of the ADHD epidemic, what’s causing it, and how a radical, nonmedicinal treatment approach may help.
Author and longtime family therapist Wedge’s industry-shaking 2012 Psychology Today article “Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD” challenged the American psychiatric industry to reframe the way classic ADHD-associative behaviors are understood. The article also questioned whether medication should be the first approach to treating it and asked why diagnosis rates in America so greatly differed from those in European cultures. To Wedge, ADHD is not biological but psychosocial; in the U.S., it has become substantially “overdiagnosed and overmedicated” with powerful pharmaceutical stimulants prescribed to children. With direct aim at parents open to alternative therapies, the author discusses dietary (food dyes, processed sugar), situational and stressful familial causes for behavioral disruptions and offers nonmedical interventional treatment plans—e.g., stricter parenting, educational reform and even exercise—to counter behaviors traditionally deemed as ADHD markers. She makes impressive use of referential cases from her own practice, yet instead of the more typical rapid-fire diagnosis, Wedge, while agreeing that stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin do work, insists on exploring the drug-free avenues available to children instead. She is concerned about the changing landscapes and parameters of what “normal childhood” behaviors are and that those falling outside of them are rashly diagnosed and swiftly buffered with psychiatric medication. Chapters detailing how modern medicine came to the conclusions it has about ADHD, the pharmaceutical industry’s influential omnipresence in medicine, rickety research studies and why diagnosis rates continue to mushroom are consistently startling and distressing. While Wedge offers options not every medical professional or concerned parent will swallow willingly, her affable approach and compassionate universal concern for the wellness of children are evident throughout.
In an important read for open-minded parents, Wedge offers fresh perspectives and practical approaches to the continuing ADHD conundrum.