The French Secret to Healing ADHD Without Medication

Outside of Amen Clinics, stimulant medications are the mainstream treatment for children and adults with ADHD. In fact, the U.S. is the #1 prescriber of stimulant medications, representing 80 – 85% of the world’s consumption!

Through years of treating children and adults with ADHD, we know that stimulant medications are helpful for some, yet can also make some people with ADHD symptoms much worse. This is no secret in the medical community; so why are stimulant medications are so prevalent in the U.S.? A couple of comparisons between the U.S. and France may help shed some light on the subject.

Is It Really ADHD, Or Something Else?

In the United States, conventional psychiatry views ADHD as a simple biological-neurological disorder with biological causes.

  • Diagnosis is made using DSM criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
  • DSM uses a checklist of symptoms and behaviors only – then classifies within a narrow definition.
  • Social circumstances, emotional traumas and food allergies may be dismissed as “chemical imbalances”.
  • American doctors largely ignore dietary factors.
  • ADHD is commonly treated with psychostimulant medication alone, or in combination with behavior modification therapy (with low success rates).
  • In a 5-7 minute office visit, it is hard to assess all the factors.

In France, child psychiatrists view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes.

  • Diagnosis is explored using CFTMEA criteria (Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L’Enfant et de L’Adolescent).
  • CFTMEA first looks at underlying social issues that may be causing ADHD behaviors and symptoms.
  • Doctors help patients identify, understand and work through psychological disruption that may surface as ADHD symptoms.
  • Dietary factors are explored and addressed by doctors.
  • Using a holistic approach to treating ADHD, the French dramatically reduce the number of psycho-stimulant medications given to children.

Cultural Differences

Cultural differences such as parenting style should be included in this comparison as well. According to experts:

  • French parents have a more stringent philosophy on discipline and are more likely to provide firm structure while enforcing clear limits.
  • American parents no longer set limits and allow children to control them instead of the other way around.

Some people would like to believe that ADHD is “just an excuse for bad behavior” and that restoring “old-fashioned values” will eradicate over-diagnosis. Those beliefs are myths – ADHD is real. We can see it in the brain! “Bad parents” do not cause ADHD, nor can parents be expected to fix their child’s ADHD without help from professionals.

Dietary Factors

Mealtime habits and dietary factors provide yet another point of comparison between the U.S. and France. In the last thirty years, both the quality of food and mealtime habits has changed dramatically in the U.S. These days, junk foods and fast foods are frequently consumed. Families have fallen away from eating together and meals are often eaten while on-the-go. Children’s diets, even at school, are high in simple carbohydrates (sugar, white bread, white-flour food products), poor in protein and healthy fat and positively deficient in vegetables. If a person is vulnerable to ADHD, a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet typically makes their symptoms worse.

In the United States:

  • Children are allowed to snack throughout the day instead of waiting to eat with parents – processed snack foods are high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, gluten, dairy, synthetic flavors and synthetic colors.
  • Separate “kids menus” are expected and encouraged – children do not eat the same foods as their parents. Macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are not brain healthy!
  • Doctors do not make a practice of addressing the nutrient deficiency or food sensitivities during the diagnostic and treatment process.
  • Parents and doctors are less aware of how foods affect the brain – then rely on medications to suppress symptoms.

In France:

  • Children do not snack all day and must wait to eat with their parents – this encourages better self-control and greater nutrient density in foods they eat.
  • There are no “kids menus” in France – children eat what their parents eat.
  • French doctors consider diet as a reason for behavior changes.
  • Dietary interventions that explore and remove culprit foods are part of treatment – thus reducing medication use.

Consideration of dietary factors is a critical area where U.S. doctors have fallen short when diagnosing and treating ADHD. Through research, we have found that:

  • People who eat high carbohydrate and high sugar diets are more impulsive.
  • Foods such as gluten, dairy, and sugar cause inflammation, which decreases blood flow to the brain.
  • Eating more lean protein and good-quality fats generally reduce impulsivity by stabilizing the blood sugar and supporting the pre-frontal cortex.
  • Multiple studies have shown that frequent consumption of synthetic colors may worsen irritability, hyperactivity and disturb sleep in children.
  • In a study from Europe, 70% of ADD children showed greater than a 50% reduction of symptoms on an elimination diet. This clearly shows that food intake can make ADD/ADHD symptoms better or worse.

The Amen Clinics Method – The Future of Healing ADHD In The U.S.

Based on all that we have discussed, it’s clear that mental health treatment needs a make-over in the U.S. The secret to healing ADHD without medication is to treat the whole person, rather than treating symptoms alone.

At Amen Clinics, natural treatments have become much more common as a first line therapy.  We are definitely not opposed to medication, as there are many times when medication is appropriate and even life-saving. However, we are opposed to the indiscriminate use of medication, which we are seeing even more commonly in the new patients who come to our clinics.

ADHD Diagnostics at the Amen Clinics:

  • Symptom Clusters using DSM Criteria
  • 4 Circles Assessments
  • SPECT Imaging and Lab Studies (a study we performed showed that SPECT scan results changed the diagnosis and/or treatment plan 78.9% of the time!) =  More targeted diagnosis and treatment plan with higher levels of success

The 4 Circles Approach:

We take into account the Bio/Psycho/Social/Spiritual health of our patients. Similar to the French, we believe in always thinking of people as whole beings, and never just as their symptoms.

Biological: How the physical body functions (body).

  • Treatments: Diet, exercise, supplements, medications, and neurofeedback.
 Psychological: Developmental issues and thought patterns (the mind).
  • Treatments: Learning about how to heal past hurts and thinking honestly and clearly.

Social: Social support and current life situation (connections).

  • Treatments: Managing stress and improving your relationships.

Spiritual: What life means (spirit).

  • Treatments: Getting in touch with a deep sense of meaning and purpose.

Amen Clinics Treatment Outcomes:

  • 75% of our patients experience significant improvement after 6 months.
  • 85% experience better quality of life after 6 months.

At Amen Clinics, we understand the pain and frustration that ADHD can cause for families and adults.  We approach each individual with a sense of compassion and respect. Our experienced clinical staff will take a full history of each patient using The 4 Circles Approach before beginning ADHD treatment with SPECT imaging or making other recommendations. Connect with us today by calling 888-288-9834 to learn more – or take our free assessment to get started!

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  1. mr Aderson says:

    I’m so very happy to share my testimony,my little Son suffered from Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It was so embarrassing for me seeing my son not being able to focus and be responsible for once, i have prayed and tried doctors prescription and advice but nothing worked. I was very lucky i found a spell caster from the shango temple, some one referred me to him that i need a spiritual help because ADHD is not normal and i was happy he responded to me, i was assured that he will be cured and after he performed everything in his temple in just few days later i noticed changes in my Son, he is doing great now and i am proud of him. His father is happy now, back then i used to call him a useless son but now every one in the family is happy for what Priest Okojie have done in the life of my family.

    • My daughter, has the same ADHD .I will reach out to him.Thank you. says:

      My daughter,has ADHD also I will reach out to him .Thank you

    • Hello did he charge you money says:

      I just sent him a email about my daughter sickness .He is asking for $350.00us dollars .Thats a lot of money

    • Lindsay says:

      Mr. Anderson, you viewed your son as a useless son because of a mental disorder? You sound like one of those fathers that produce a drug addicted young man who wonders why he was never good enough.
      Glad your son got “cured” of adhd and your happy now.
      I’m also glad I have experience in mental health because of my past so I’ve been trying to get my son help since he was three but I’ve had to wait for the right age and for it to get worse for a doctor to listen and evaluate. Luckily for my son I’m not considering pharmaceutical medicine. Balanced diet, exercise, positive reinforcement and support, along with therapy if need be should do the trick.

  2. Meka says:

    Parents should try Crystal therapy! I found out how crystals have certain energies that helps with calming and focusing children. This site have a crystal kit especially for children ( or just copy and paste this link to be taken to the exact page

    • Ádám Zovits says:

      Sure, along with essential aroma oils, grabovoy-numbers, homeopathy and prayers.
      Or, you know, maybe visit a clinic instead.

    • Janelle says:

      Meka amazing thank you for sharing. My kind of person natural answers for everything!!!!

  3. Judah Hanh says:

    This is a cool article. I think that a non healthy diet is linked to so many different illness, and making dietary changes can help with pretty much everything. As a kid, having ADD, my mom made me eat really healthy and take my vitamins as well as magnesium, and that helped a huge amount. Nowadays, i try to take CBD (the non-psychoactive component of marijuana) regularly, and I find it makes a huge difference. There are some studies about that at

  4. Camille Williams says:

    Dr Amen ,
    I tried everything with my kids and their self control and learning how to calm themselves and how they learn and test ! I then as they were going to college, heard your story on new life about your daughter so I finally ….stopped worry about putting my kids in medicine for ADD …
    They have been doing well in college and my son even has close to a 4 point and wants to go into a med field !
    But now you seem to go in other directions from meds both both my kids and myself finally feel normal in this world on medication! Should I take them off ? I am like your biggest fan and trust you so much !

  5. Amber-lee Philpot says:

    Chosen to supervise and take care of a child with ADD at the school that I work at because of the progress that the child and I have reached and because of how I approach challenges that I enjoy to face and because I have the energy to remain calm in challenging situations that involve working in a school that is known to be a challenging environment to work in. The school has a challenging environment to work in because of the amount of challenges that are being faced on a daily basis. The school is one of three schools with the highest amount of challenges out of at least 1000 schools that exist in the same state within Australia. I highly recommend this site for others to get help from especially those who are spending time with someone or people who have been diagnosed with ADHD.

  6. Amanda Wood says:

    I am American and I agree completely. I have ADHD as an adult and I research and self assessment to try to explain it all the time. I know there is a holistic way to beat it. I can help you and you can help me. Let’s change America’s thinking and stop ADHD or at least treat it without medication:)

  7. Guy with ADHD says:

    ok look, i am inattentive subtype, my parents raise me fine, i was never defiant, I personally think the american side of this article is focusing on stereotype. I take meds and see a therapist. I have and still deal with my attention problems in a good way, but by no means is there a cure. There are obvious symptoms that will never go away when i get off meds. There is no cure, just ways to cope. BTW i have no troubles with meds, as i usually just take it for work as im home the rest of the time and i have no trouble taking more or whatever.

  8. Kim Higgins says:

    I work with children with ADD, etc.. Unfortunately, there are no clinics in Lou. Ky!!!!! I am sure the Amen clinic could be very helpful, but does someone in Louisville offer similar help?

  9. Rita says:

    Just wanted to say I thought the article was full of useful info and was very well balanced. I was disappointed in the many answers that did not show such good reasoning. Seems like many are looking in the wrong places for help. That is too bad. Perhaps a reason might be the high cost of treatment at Amen clinic? I would love to take my granddaughter, who is ADHD just as I am. I have seen what it has done to my quality of life, my daughter’s life and would not like to see it repeated for a third generation. But the cost for treatment is prohibitive for a retired pastor and wife on a fixed income raising a child, so I use my knowledge and do the best I can. And yes, prayer does help.

  10. Masha says:

    Interesting article.
    I’d like to point out that “kids menus” very much exist in France. And I’m not talking about fast food restaurants, but good old French ones. They are filled with processed carbohydrates (french fries are almost always a part of the meal) , grilled meet (“steak haché” and no fish) and offer no veggies. To makes things worse, desert is always included filled with artificial colors and other additives (ice-cream or “mousse au chocolat” for example).

    One other thing, if you and your family are eating dairy be very careful of French yogurt. It’s mostly highly processed food. Instead of using just milk and good bacteria, they add milk in powder almost in all types, including the ones sold in organic shops (“magasins bio”).

    Read labels carefully. Gluten, starches and sugar/fructose/corn syrup are everywhere.

  11. sasmita says:

    Hi, My son is 6 yr old and having ADHD. Could anyone tell where is this Amen clinic?

  12. Joshua says:

    (“French parents have a more stringent philosophy on discipline and are more likely to provide firm structure while enforcing clear limits.

    American parents no longer set limits and allow children to control them instead of the other way around.”)

    This is absolute rubbish. I am an american, i have 4 kids and they have a very clear set, strictly enforced set of rules. I live in the Midwest in a city of very conservative values, and most everyone i know parents with authority. I’m not sure if the person writing this is American, but if so your FOS and if not then you’re obviously regurgitating misinformation based upon ignorant European cultural stereotypes of Americans.

  13. Maureen Shaw says:

    This article is written completely on bias and stereotypes of the American people. Shame on you! As a healthcare professional it is your obligation to report facts and support those facts with data and real statistics.

  14. Christee Coleman says:

    I found this article informative. I didn’t discover I had ADHD until I was 59. The knowledge is liberating ! My whole past now makes sense ! I tried 7 different meds. Nones benefits’ over ruled the negative side effects. Now, I self monitor with some amount of success. Thank you, Dr.Amen 4 all your dedication!

  15. Alishy Hawak says:

    This is absolute rubbish. I am an american, i have 4 kids and they have a very clear set, strictly enforced set of rules. I live in the Midwest in a city of very conservative values, and most everyone i know parents with authority. I’m not sure if the person writing this is American


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