W1 Activity: ADHD

Health and illness can be described in many different ways. I think the way your differentiate the two is based on what you’ve been through and experienced and also  the culture you are in. I believe health is a state of well-being in which you are not sick with a virus, bacterial infection, or disease. Some people will go further and say that health is being within a certain body fat percentage or eating the correct amount of calories and nutrients, but I think health is a much more broad term. Illness is a feeling or experience when your body is under immune or another system attack. In this sense, I think disease is included in the term illness. My idea of the two terms comes from my family lifestyle. I know parents that would keep their kids home from school if they sneezed in the morning, but that was very different in my house. My parents always said “if you’re not throwing up, you’re fine.” Lots of people dramatize illness when its not necessary.

The topic I chose was ADHD. I chose this because ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I think the grey area comes into play with the word “disorder”. This condition is tested for, recognized in schools and society, and has many different treatments. I never know whether to match disorders with illnesses or to match them along side of diseases. People with ADHD struggle with it in their day to day lives and have reoccurring symptoms so I believe it is closer to a disease than an illness. I also chose infertility. I do not believe this is an illness but rather a condition. Although those who are infertile suffer in a different way, I wouldn’t consider then “ill”. They aren’t suffering from day to day symptoms.

2 thoughts on “W1 Activity: ADHD

  1. ADHD is quite an interesting choice. It is one of many conditions that have blown up over the last few decades. It is interesting too that even though it seems to be a slower development in other parts of the world, one of the primary differences is the cultural response to the behaviors that constitute the condition. What are considered appropriate remedies for the symptoms vary quite a bit. And even the nature of the cause of the symptoms has different cultural interpretations.

    In more confucionist-oriented cultures, like in Korea, for example, Parents and teachers are more likely to respond to ADHD-like behaviors with discipline, as many of the symptoms comflict with the heirarchy of authority and the habits of self-discipline that are expected in the culture. Saving face being such an important part of this culture, class disruptions, for instance are more intolerable and a seen as a greater challenge to the authority of the instructor. Moreover, remedies for such behaviors are also far less likely to consist of western medical interventions like prescription drugs.

    From personal experience, this is quite similar to the situation in the black community. Many children exhibiting ADHD like symptoms are thought of as disrespectful kids who lack proper self and parental discipline.

    Moon, SeokYoung. “Cultural perspectives on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A comparison between Korea and the US.” Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies 6 (2012): 1.

  2. I think that ADHD is a hard one to classify as either an illness or disease because it is still so controversial. According to an article published by the World Psychiatry journal in 2003, many institutions consider it to be strictly an American disorder because of the way our culture is constantly connected to electronics and other things that don’t allow the mind to focus or relax (World Psychiatry, 2003). Others have written that it’s only perceived that way because the U.S. has extensively studied ADHD compared to other countries like England that do not classify it as any kind of social or mental disorder. England uses the World Health Organizations International Classification of Diseases to diagnose mental health disorders, whereas the U.S. uses the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), and these have different guidelines for what necessarily confirms that a patient has ADHD. Although once an official diagnosis is made, both the U.S. and England treat ADHD patients with prescription medication to help increase focus and make the symptoms of ADHD more manageable. I personally think that there is still a social stigma in many cultures around having diagnosed ADHD; so many individuals may not be as willing to participate in scientific studies or report that they have the disorder.

    FARAONE, S. V., SERGEANT, J., GILLBERG, C., & BIEDERMAN, J. (2003). The worldwide prevalence of ADHD: is it an American condition? World Psychiatry, 2(2), 104–113.

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