I think that ADHD has been heavily medicalized because of the public action. Conrad mentions that this is a huge contributing factor when determining what defines a medical condition. A change in this became apparent in the third edition of DSM, which focused on symptoms of an illness rather than etiology (563). Also changing what criteria they needed to have in order to be diagnosed changed the way ADHD evolved as a medical condition (564). Both economically and culturally I could see a connection to the medicalization of ADHD. Large companies that may produce a drug that treats that condition could have advertised the illness more and then more people may go to their doctor to get tested. Similarly, those companies could pay doctors to diagnose people with some symptoms of the disease so they would be treated with their drug. Cultural factors may be an influence as well. Because the U.S. is has a attitude encouraging multi tasking and constant movement it could be something someone who may have some tendencies towards hyper activity become more likely to develop the illness.

This add is for adderall, a commonly used drug for the treatment of ADHD. It uses positive words like “confidently” and “soar” to promote the medication. There is also a young boy looking happy, attempting to show how a child on this medication will be. Their slogan however tip toes around a guarantee, explaining that there “may” be a difference. This was carefully written so that if angry parents were to ask for their money back they had warned them it wasn’t going to work for everyone. It also encourages the parent to take the summer to try a new medication so that their child will be adjusted and ready to start the school year with a longer attention span and focus. There are warnings in the same font size as those that describe the medication. However, they do not use bullet points to start off those sentences. This is probably because bullet points are used to give short important facts about things, as if to say you should definitely read this part.

Analyzing Life/Death

While listening to the lecture posted I found that the meaning behind the term “culture of biomedicine” is that one’s environment and surroundings, as well as their traditions and practices influence how they deal with, interpret, and overcome illnesses. As mentioned in the lecture, culture is an influential part of medicine. It is from one’s cultural beliefs that they move forward with their illness. In the U.S. for example, the way we treat a large portion of our society is to give them a prescribed drug until their problem is no longer prevalent. The way one handles that in an impoverished area may differ. This is because their culture is to focus on saving the money for food and shelter opposed to in the U.S. where they may have excess amounts of money that they are willing to spend on something with no guaranteed results.

Personally, I believe my cultural surroundings have definitely influenced the way I dichotomize the world. I think that my parents explaining to me their views has shaped me in ways. For instance, when I ask them their view on something like life and death and how they would define those terms, after they would tell me what they thought I would ask why. Depending on their reasoning, and if I found it to be convincing, I would then make my decision. Friends also have the same effect. School systems or the media may also be huge influences. I believe that there is a fine balance between defining life and death. Also, I think it is more an individual belief than an universal definition. I think it is based case by case.

I think the reason why life and death is accepted in Western culture is because there is a general consensus that one leads to another. It is viewed as the natural cycle that all forms of life go through. Beyond that, we are unsure of what else could be next so we stick with what we know and attempt to find ways of defining these two terms.

True Life: I Have PTSD

During this episode of True Life veterans were introduced to the viewer, all of which were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They were shown in different stages of the illness and recovery process, all facing their own individual problems. One was attempting to self medicate with alcohol because his recommended medicine wasn’t helping. He was however looking to start a program to help people like him and in his own way, using it to help move on from what he’s experienced. Another was forced into a situation in which he may have to leave his support system to find a job. Although he had attempted suicide previously, he was doing much better but putting him in a new environment without the people that helped change his negative mindset could result in a relapse.

All those that were suffering from this disease, although recovering in different ways, were suffering from similar, if not the same, symptoms. They were very depressed, traumatized, angry, scared, and in some cases volatile. They have very low tolerance for their anger and tend to lash out unexpectedly.

I believe the types of narrative this story conveys are both Quest and Choas. This is because in a Choas narrative they feel that socially their condition isn’t really accepted. Also they feel as though this is an illness they will always face and may not get better although they are hopeful. This is why I also see it as a Quest narrative. They think that they can learn from this experience and in the case of the veteran who wanted to start a program to help others with PSTD, they can help others. Some of the veterans took responsibility for their illness and were ready to accept that part of recovery. But not everyone can be ready for that. I think that personal experiences and what societal norms are set in place where a person is from shape how one can recover or adapt to life with such an illness. PSTD isn’t really the individual’s fault, it is more something that is just a side effect.

These narratives are very helpful in determining the right path for recovery for a patient. I think that through learning how a person wants to explain their story it can show helpful clues as to how one should treat that individual. If they feel they aren’t on a quest journey and there isn’t hope for them, perhaps this would change the chosen health care plan for that individual. They may need more one on one counseling or a stronger form of medication. When reading about Paternal Post Partum Depression, I felt that I couldn’t really buy into the idea. However, after reading a personal experience, I was able to see a fully painted picture of how it happened and how the father felt. It justified the illness in a way, and showed me the hope that he had and that he wanted to find peace in his illness, not be held back by it.

Paternal Post Partum Depression and it’s links to Maternal Post Partum

When reading the article posted on Paternal Post Partum my intial response was that it was a little far fetched. As I continued to read it however, it became more believable. I do see why some don’t buy into the idea. For one, men probably keep those emotions more to themselves than women do because of the current societal norms. They don’t want to be viewed as dramatic or weak or that they couldn’t handle something that millions of men experience without side effects. Because of this, it can just reinforce the problem because they feel as though they cannot ask for help. Additionally, I found it interesting that in this article they mentioned that maternal and paternal post partum are usually connected. That is to say that if the father is suffering from depression, it is likely that the mother is as well. I think because of this it is possible for many men to be discouraged to admit they have the problem firstly because they don’t want to seem weak in any way. Secondly, they may want to be the one that is emotionally supporting their partner so they don’t want to admit that they are also feeling the same emotions and struggling with being a new parent.

As far as the connection between healing and belief go, I would argue they are closely related. In my personal experience, I have noticed that attitude does make a difference in how a person feels. In the video, “Placebo:Cracking the Code,” this became even more evident. There were multiple examples of placebo’s having positive effects on individual’s and their illnesses. The patient who had a knee surgery that was in fact, a placebo, and who no longer experiences pain shows the importance of outlook in order to heal to the best of one’s ability.

Critical Approach

I find this to be the most interesting and useful approach for studying Anthropology for me because of the way I am able to relate. Being a Philosophy major, I have an interest in ethics of all realms. Using cultural foundations of medicine as well as science to understand why things are done the way they are, and are culturally acceptable in some communities but unacceptable in others is a great way for me to grasp Anthropology in a way that I have some previous understanding of.

Illness and disease seems a bit difficult to grasp but I think I understand. Illness is something that is influenced or effective by “the human experience” allowing cultural norms to be factored in. Disease is influenced by western civilization. It is more of a physical problem with no factoring of cultural influences.

Miner is talking about the cultural background of North America as described in the second paragraph of the article and then clarified once again when talking about George Washington.

It mentions that the rich are concerned with their appearance and that includes that of their house. In rich families they can afford stone for their “shrine rooms” but poor people often try to “imitate” such rooms with look a like stone. I think this shows that the rich are valued in the community and the poor are not internally happy with their life and are constantly seeking approval or a way to become like those they admire.

Also they talk about the importance of medicine men and how if they were not around no one would understand how to read the ingredients that are needed to better one’s appearance. They are crucial in this process.

The importance of the mouth’s appearance is also necessary in this society. I do see this being a realistic claim as it is emphasized in our culture to take care of this from the moment we are born. It just goes back to the focus on our looks to be a good, accepted member of society.

Spirit Possession

When I think about defining words like health and illness it brings me back to my Ethics in Public Health Care class. In this class we looked at tens of definitions attempting to narrow down what health is so that appropriate action can be taken. In this context, I think it’s important to generalize more rather than go into specifics. Health to me is like mentioned in the lecture, an absence of illness and vice versa. One cannot be defined explicitly without the other. Both are referring to not just the effects on one’s physical attributes, but mental and spiritual in some cases.

Personally, I believe my thoughts on this has come from my education as of now. Before that however, I would say a combination between my family, the media, and what personal experiences I’ve had. My father is a doctor so that has allowed me to both be sensitive as well as casually accept the physical and mental changes that occur throughout time. I’ve learned what should be taken seriously versus what I can easily brush off. And of course the media has played a role, because that is part of the experience of evolving as a person in society today.

Cancer to me is clearly an illness. It is something foreign to the body, negatively effecting it and in turn, damaging the body.

Menstruation was a little more tricky for me, but I believe it is not an illness. This is because it is not causing harm or pain to negatively impact a person. It is a natural cycle of life, and necessary to survive for a woman.

Finally, Spirit possession to me was the most complex of the options. This is because depending on the culture you’re in it could be good or bad. For that reason, I would say it could be an illness, but it would be up for debate.

Philosophy Major

Hi everyone,

My name is Ashley Hall and I’m a senior majoring in Philosophy. The most experience I have with Anthropology is when I took a class on Archaeology. Although I am a Philosophy major, I’ve very interested in learning about how cultures evolve and why they do the things they do as I see that as a foundation for understanding communities as a whole. Beyond my curiosity in these areas, I also love to travel, and enjoy music and fashion. Here is a picture of me at Lollapalooza last summer.