I think ADD is a prime example of both themes we have explored this week: culturally misunderstood illnesses and placebo effects. ADD is a common ailment among young people today. I for one could hardly count how many people were clinically treated for it in middle school, and even more who told their teacher they had it to get an extension on a project. There are objective signs and symptoms of ADD-type illnesses; chemical imbalances and so forth. But I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that none of my junior high classmates were subjected to a cat scan during the testing process. Most, I assume, were locked in an office and put through hours of testing, just like I was. I think culture influences this experience because our expectations of students has changed over the years. It could also be that the resources we provide students, both at school and at home, have changed in a way that has made this “disorder” more apparent in this generation than those before it. Nobody seems to know for certain. However, this changes the illness experience for those who are diagnosed. In some ways, it can be a benefit fo the afflicted person. I know I was relieved to have the diagnosis. I had spent the majority of the previous four years grounded because my grades weren’t good and finally i had some justification as to why. We have also come to expect quick treatment through ADD drugs like adderall and vivanse for treatment. However, I think that the cultural implications and the strong belief in these medicines create somewhat of a perfect setup for a placebo scenario. It is a mental condition who’s symptoms seem to be somewhat vague combined with a powerful psychotic drug that very few people could argue is ineffective. Ultimately, it seems hard to measure what is more effective: the medicine or the effect.