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Attention deficit disorder - increasingly diagnosed in Quebec



Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADD-HD) is widely diagnosed in Quebec. More and more Ritalin® is prescribed by doctors. In Canada, the number of prescriptions increased fivefold between 1990 and 1997. It also doubled between 2001 and 2008. From 2007 to 2008 alone, there was a 14% increase. Fortunately, there is hope in complementary medicine approaches with the awareness that each child is unique in their ability to learn. First, let's look at what it is with conventional treatment, symptomatology, diagnosis, and the causes and risk factors.


It is the most common neurobehavioral disorder in children: 5% to 10% of them are thought to have it.


The three main characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Several symptoms are associated with it: difficulty in paying sustained attention to a particular task or activity with effort, a tendency to run and climb everywhere, inattention errors in homework and schoolwork, a tendency to be very easily distracted, a tendency to talk a lot and difficulty sitting still in class or elsewhere.



To confirm the diagnosis, a psychological and neuropsychological test should be done. Furthermore :

  • Some symptoms, described above, must be present before the age of 7;
  • Symptoms should be felt at home, at daycare or at school, although their intensity may vary from place to place;
  • Symptoms should be present for at least 6 months.


Biochemical cause and risk factors

ADHD is thought to be caused by a brain abnormality and an imbalance in the levels of certain chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine due to the presence of factors that contribute to the development of the syndrome. The following are risk factors:

  • The use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs during pregnancy;
  • Exposure to pesticides or other toxic products such as PBCs or phthalates;
  • Childhood lead poisoning;
  • Certain foods and food additives.


The food factor

Food additives, sugar and food intolerances are also singled out. A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids, certain minerals and vitamins is also likely. This is what we will see in articles devoted exclusively to diet and ADHD.