ADHD

It seems that in today’s culture, there is a “cure” for everything.  If you have trouble focusing in school, instead of finding ways to help your focus like, finding a productive place to do work or even finding a study buddy, our culture pushes drugs like adderall or ritalin on us and says we have ADHD.  If you have headaches, irritability or bad cramps during your period, just take a birth control pill.  However, since many of these conditions rely on relaying your or your child’s symptoms to a doctor, it is hard to say whether the correct diagnosis is really being made.  For example, I often have a hard time focusing on my homework, but I don’t turn straight to drugs.  If I seclude myself in a productive place, which, for me, is a cafe or really any place outside my home I’m able to concentrate much better.  And maybe, for some people that’s all they need.  When I’m home, I have too many distractions, whether it’s TV, my dog, or my family.  I do, however, believe that some people need something more to help them concentrate, but I think there are other ways to go about it that just medicating.

The following link shows a magazine add for adderall.  It basically says that the child is doing better in school, family time lasts longer, and he is finally being asked to join friends.  It also shows Ty Pennington as a ADHD patient using adderall saying it’s “the right tool for the right job”.  This ad targets mothers whose kids have trouble concentrating in school and getting good grades.  As most medication ads do, it says to ask your doctor if this medication is right for your child, basically asking them to buy their product.  By using Ty Pennington on the ad, it can grab a mom’s attention and implies that, since this person is using it, this medication is safe and works.  In the picture it shows a child and mother embracing and smiling while the son is holding a paper with a B+ on it.  I feel that putting a picture like this on an ad will influence moms to get adderall for their child even more because it provides a way for them to connect their life to the ad.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_QcmfLJMLkEY/SmD1BbA6-oI/AAAAAAAAAC8/l3yxmdRzjKQ/s1600-h/adderall-magazine-advertisement-fall-2005.jpg

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hassan Ahsan says:

    Amber,
    Though there is sadly not a cure for everything, I agree that media propaganda tries to sell the idea that there is a solution for every ailment, rather like the snake oil that traveling salesmen would market. For me personally, the idea of people having behavioral problems is more environmental than medical. Western society is for the most part a capitalist economy. The American dream is to own your own home, have nice cars and go on regular vacations with a perfect family. To chase that dream people are now working twice as many hours and sometimes two or three jobs. This means that children interaction is limited as the parents are too exhausted to spend time with their children, causing attention deficit concerns. Rather than refocusing on spending time with family, or as your ad says “Family hours that lasts for hours”, the parents prefer to reframe a child’s wanting of attention as an illness that requires biomedical attention. It is important to note that ADHD, like many ‘illnesses’, tends to be found mostly in the western countries where processed food and processed time together is a norm.

    It seems only appropriate that we are evaluating adverts as Dr. Conrad in his article talks about how adult ADHD cases tend to be self-referral. In his article, he astutely notes:

    ‘Frequently, adults who encounter a description of the disorder, sense that “this is me” and go on to seek professional confirmation of their new identity’.

    Pharmaceutical companies provide ‘access to privileged information’ by sharing symptoms that can be so generic that everyone would feel that they have experienced at least some of them. They suddenly feel a sense of a new discovery of themselves and go to seek medical confirmation of their own self-diagnosis. The Conrad article as discusses that in more recent times, there is now a counter movement suggesting that over diagnosis and misdiagnosis is becoming dangerously prevalent.

    One of the reasons could be what the professor refers to as “commodification of celebrity wealth’. Your ADHD ad is using a celebrity to ‘normalize’ any issue of being different or bad. The commodification ignores the fact that the medication is being targeted for children by using an adult celebrity to promote the benefits of ADHD medication. Though I have no idea who this celebrity is, he is probably popular with women who are mothers, hence using his image. ADHD is probably a genuine condition but it has been made into a illness that is being encouraged for self diagnosis through the use of celebrities and media propaganda.

  2. Brannden McDonnell says:

    Hey,

    I agree with your post and even think that there was probably a time in history where ADHD wasn’t even considered a real thing. It was probably just seen as a personality trait of some people; that they get easily distracted. But nowadays everything that isn’t 100% normal can be classified as an illness; a defect that is keeping them from being the best person they can possibly become.

    Just like your advertisement states that adderall will give your child “school work that matches his intelligence”. They are saying that he has the potential to be more than he is, but his ADHD is something that needs to be cured for him to attain it. I am sure everybody suffers from being distracted form time to time in their life, so maybe everybody needs focus medication too by today’s standards. In the Conrad article he says that “medicalization of social problems is not an either/or phenomenon, but that it is better conceptualized in terms of degrees of medicalization”. This means that it is no longer whether somebody actually needs to be medicated or not, but rather how severely they do. It implies that every person could benefit from medication to their varying degree of sickness.

  3. Breanna Block says:

    I believe that at one time ADHD was not a known problem, however it did not just get common overnight. There was a time when parents or even the person themselves went to a doctor in hopes that there was an answer to their problem. Eventually the issue became more common and was given a a name. It continued to become more common, and today has become one of the more common diagnoses. The reason I think ADHD has gotten so popular is because of our culture.

    One element of our culture that can be to blame is that we are in an age of perhaps the highest expectations. We think there is an answer for everything, and we want that answer immediately. Many people either hear about someone who had problems with ADHD and was prescribed a medication to help, or they saw some type of advertisement that claims to eliminate the symptoms of ADHD, and start to think they might have ADHD too. I blame that type of self diagnosis that our material this week talks about on three things. Our competitiveness to be the best; the richest, smartest, and most successful. We also have started standardizing the average person; we no longer accept that people have different strengths and weaknesses. Someone who is “different” is often seen negatively, especially when that difference prevents them from being like the ideal person. Together I think those two things have created a society that thinks that everyone has a problem and that there is a of solution to every problem.

    The second big reason ADHD’s prevalence can be blamed on our culture is the idea of a quick fix. We would rather take a pill to fix our problems, than taking the necessary actions to fix it our self. This relates to the process of diagnoses too. We want the answer the first time we walk into the office, not go through the necessary testing to make sure we do in fact have whatever we think they have, especially when the doctors do not always require testing.

    The third reason I think ADHD has started to be so prevalent is because it is a subjective illness. Pharmaceutical companies often take advantage of our culture. They often do this with drugs that are supposed to cure our problems. They know we will try to get “fixed” if we think we have a problem. The reason subjective diseases are their favorite is because they are not easily proven/dis-proven. Therefore making the diagnoses process pretty easy for the patient and in turn making the pharmaceutical companies a lot of money. Unfortunately this has led to a lot of over diagnoses discussed in the Conrad article, which starts to make the illness seem illegitimate.

  4. mackin24 says:

    I agree with you 100% in the sense that our culture immediately turns to pills to solve our so-called “disorders”. I believe doctors should be told to take a closer look at patients when prescribing them any kind of medicine. Instead the patients and doctors search for an immediate answer. There are children who are just hyper and not well disciplined, and may be considered ADHD just because parents and teacher do not know how to control them. Looking back on history I believe that this disorder has grown larger than ever. More kids are being given Ritalin and Adderall than ever before. Economically it seems to benefit drug companies greatly, because the more diagnosed the great their income. The question is how well are these patients being observed for the “illness”? Our culture is so centered on instant gratification and a quick fix that we may not be looking at the bigger picture. Is medicine really the best treatment for every disorder?
    I believe our country needs a biomedical intervention to agree on what is determined as an illness, and how these people are being diagnosed. For all we know these ADHD medication companies could be promoting these drugs and allowing them to be over prescribed to people who do not even have the disorder. Most importantly the process of diagnosing should be way more detailed. A doctor personally diagnosed me with ADHD, and all he asked me to do was fill out a survey. I scored high on the survey for ADHD, and was then diagnosed. This process of diagnosing ADHD is not one that I would agree with. It is way to simple for someone to just walk in and get prescribed to this medication or any for that matter. An intervention is extremely necessary to improve doctors diagnosing processes. I agree with Conrad in the article when we claims that everyone can benefit form medication, but we must decide how bad the patient actually needs that medication. The severity of the disorder should determine if medication should be brought into the picture. Doctors must look into all aspects of the patient`s life and make sure it is really the best treatment option to give them any medicine. The quick fix of dispensing medication is not always the answer, especially when it comes to something as valuable as a child’s life.

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