Originally Posted by del
ADHD has negative consequences in our society, sure. We're highly time-oriented, scheduled, have a strict division of labor where people are expected to focus on one task at a time, and so on. But between 90% and 95% of human history we lived in small tribal societies that had little to none of these features.
If you take people out of the context of our culture, the negative attributes of ADHD/ADD largely disappear, and there are even many advantages to it.
It's not a real disorder.
Just a nitpick- culture bound syndrome applies to some thing that is "only within a specific society or culture," but ADD/ADHD is found in other places with a rather different culture (See Asia: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00471354
See Europe: http://www.pavilion.co.uk/add/welcome.html
). Even if we question how the diagnosis is made, the idea is prevalent else where, so it's not just us quick, quick scrambling, time oriented Americans, and it's not "unreal" by the definition of culture bound syndromes.
Also, there are identified possible biological indicators (from add.org): "ADHD IS very likely caused by biological factors which influence neurotransmitter activity in certain parts of the brain, and which have a strong genetic basis." The fact sheet goes on to say that there is lower glucose consumption in impulse controlled areas of ADD/ADHD brains, as well as a genetic component. [http://www.add.org/articles/factsheet.html]
However, even if you do take people considered ADD/ADHD out of our culture, I don't think the negative attributes will disappear. If people manage to work through it, then it won't be an issue, obviously, plus they won't have the social stigma of the label, or the ideas of how someone with the disorder should act.
But, whether now or in a different culture, differences are an issue for society, and always will be. That is why social pecking orders are established as early as intermediate school, why smart people, those who have wildly different ideas and interests, those with any sort of disorder, and simply those who act "funny" are ostracized- humans rely on the current system and ideas of right and wrong and normal to keep them safe, conditions stable. Differences, on the other hand, represent change. Those who are disordered (intelligent or not, due to perception of the person), and those under the average intelligence seem to be "slow," "retards," or other pejoratives- they will upset order by pulling society down. Those who are "too intelligent," they don't understand. The above average people or those with different ideas pull out things that threaten to change or at least challenge the very beliefs of society and stir up everything that currently keeps society in check, and therefore they're dangerous too unless filtered into a "safe" place where their ideas can be dispersed without a tremendous reaction. (Of course, society does need to be shaken up from time to time- there's no doubt about that. But this is the way things are as I see them, at least, like it or not.)
So, even without this culture, even without a definition of the disorder, if the person shows deviations from the norm, he or she is likely to not be as accepted.
Originally Posted by RobertJ
I'm going to come out and say that ADD is overall a positive thing for society... [...]
I feel the opposite - I don't see why the current status quo is so desirable and sacred. I say that we need these individuals to antagonize our complacent way of life. Personally, I feel depressed about the thought of all these unique and interesting individuals being drugged up and becoming part of the acquiescent zombie parade.
The status quo is not always right, nor desired- "Stick to the Status Quo" from HSM1, jah? >___<. But that doesn't automatically mean that a disorder that creates differences is automatically a good thing. The symptoms of the disorder:
Originally Posted by Da Blob
Indecision, difficulty recalling and organizing details required for a task
Poor time management, losing track of time
Avoiding tasks or jobs that require sustained attention
Difﬁculty initiating tasks
Difﬁculty completing and following through on tasks
Difﬁculty shifting attention from one task to another
...are going to be an issue even in a different sort of environment. If if the environment is more laid back, not being able to focus well, not often finishing projects, often not starting the tasks, is going to be a problem in any more developed society that requires, well, things to be done. To sustain the systems of simply feeding a large population in which most people cannot spare the time to grow their own food, it is necessary to have people who can follow through. If someone wants to accomplish something and further goals, they need to follow through. Of course, this isn't an issue if the person diagnosed is happy with who they are and where they are, but this describes very few people.
Now, this isn't to say that people diagnosed are not gifted in other ways- they may be intelligent, or artistic like Da Blob's brother, or whatever else. The disorder doesn't affect these areas, and if they get past these obstacles, then they can achieve as much as anyone.
To me, the biggest issue seems to be the medication because it does affect behavior, mainly when parents try to "help" their child through medicating them without making sure the child understands why, or when they're older, giving them a choice to live medicated or not. If the person decides to be a "medicated zombie" to better fit into the status quo, then that's their decision. If the person decides to grapple with their problems without the altercations of medicine, then that's their decision. Ultimately, I think it comes down to the individual in how they decide to face the situation; how the disorder is perceived within society will influence the decision undoubtedly, but the individual must decide how they think about their place in society, how their disorder affects them, and how the pros and cons of taking medication or not stack up.
long post is long... hope it makes sense @____@