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Inhaltsangabe: A surprising new look at the rise of ADHD in America, arguing for a better paradigm for diagnosing and treating our children
In 1987, only 3 percent of American children were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD. By 2000, that number jumped to 7 percent, and in 2014 the number rose to an alarming 11 percent. To combat the disorder, two thirds of these children, some as young as three years old, are prescribed powerful stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall to help them cope with symptoms. Meanwhile, ADHD rates have remained relatively low in other countries such as France, Finland, and the United Kingdom, and Japan, where the number of children diagnosed with and medicated for ADHD is a measly 1 percent or less.
Alarmed by this trend, family therapist Marilyn Wedge set out to understand how ADHD became an American epidemic. If ADHD were a true biological disorder of the brain, why was the rate of diagnosis so much higher in America than it was abroad? Was a child's inattention or hyperactivity indicative of a genetic defect, or was it merely the expression of normal behavior or a reaction to stress? Most important, were there alternative treatments that could help children thrive without resorting to powerful prescription drugs? In an effort to answer these questions, Wedge published an article in Psychology Today entitled "Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD" in which she argued that different approaches to therapy, parenting, diet, and education may explain why rates of ADHD are so much lower in other countries.
In A Disease Called Childhood, Wedge examines how myriad factors have come together, resulting in a generation addictied to stimulant drugs, and a medical system that encourages diagnosis instead of seeking other solutions. Writing with empathy and dogged determination to help parents and children struggling with an ADHD diagnosis, Wedge draws on her decades of experience, as well as up-to-date research, to offer a new perspective on ADHD. Instead of focusing only on treating symptoms, she looks at the various potential causes of hyperactivity and inattention in children and examines behavioral and environmental, as opposed to strictly biological, treatments that have been proven to help. In the process, Wedge offers parents, teachers, doctors, and therapists a new paradigm for child mental health--and a better, happier, and less medicated future for American children
A leading researcher and family therapist reframes our understanding of the American ADHD epidemic, and offers parents and educators the possibility of a healthier, less medicated future for their children
Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., struck a nerve with her Psychology Today article "Why French Kids Don?t Have ADHD." In it, she pointed out that eleven percent of children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD, with two-thirds of them on medication; whereas in France, as well as Finland, the UK and Japan, the number was a measly half of one percent. The article received more than six million hits and established Dr. Wedge as one of the most sought-after voices in the field.
Now she delves deeper into the subject, investigating how specific cultural and social conditions, doctors, Big Pharma, the food industry, modern approaches to education, and the evolution of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) have come together to diagnose children?s behavioral problems as strictly biological, ignoring external causes ranging from dysfunctional environments to media influences to diet. The result: a generation addicted to stimulant drugs, some of whom have been prescribed what is essentially speed from the age of four with long term dependency and abuse issues into high school, college and beyond.
Concerns about ADHD are once again in the headlines, but there are few general books addressing this issue. A Disease Called Childhood is written for the millions of parents who wonder if their child has ADHD, or—if their child has been diagnosed—whether to put him or her on medication. Drawing on techniques gleaned from family therapy that looks at causes and solutions, rather than just symptoms, Wedge hopes to establish a new paradigm for child mental health—and a better, happier, and less medicated future.
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