Striving for the unknown normal: To understand oneself through an ADHD diagnosis

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper uden forlag/tidsskriftForskning

Abstract

During the last decade, more and more people have received prescriptions for ADHD drug treatment, and simultaneously the legitimacy of the ADHD diagnosis has been heavily debated among both professionals and laymen. Based on an anthropological fieldwork among adults with ADHD, I illustrate how the ADHD diagnosis both answers and produces existential questions on what counts as normal behaviour and emotions. The diagnosis helps the diagnosed to identify, accept and handle problems by offering concrete explanations and solutions to diffuse experienced problems. But the diagnostic process is not only a clarifying procedure with a straight plan for treatment and direct effects. It is also a messy affair. In a process of experimenting with drugs and attempting to determine how or whether the medication eliminates the correct symptoms the diagnosed is put in an introspective, self-analysing situation trying to answer: What is ADHD and what is me and my personal features? When are the drugs having the right effect? And since I have never been normal then how would I know what behavioural ideal I am striving for? Moreover, the public questioning of the diagnosis calls the individual to constantly claiming recognition of the diagnosis. I end by discussing the moral implications of this striving for the unknown normal and ask if the pathologization of inattentive and hyperactive behaviour is to be addressed as a problematic moral issue or if we have a moral obligation to help people who struggle to navigate and live up to the ideals of our contemporary society.
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Detaljer

During the last decade, more and more people have received prescriptions for ADHD drug treatment, and simultaneously the legitimacy of the ADHD diagnosis has been heavily debated among both professionals and laymen. Based on an anthropological fieldwork among adults with ADHD, I illustrate how the ADHD diagnosis both answers and produces existential questions on what counts as normal behaviour and emotions. The diagnosis helps the diagnosed to identify, accept and handle problems by offering concrete explanations and solutions to diffuse experienced problems. But the diagnostic process is not only a clarifying procedure with a straight plan for treatment and direct effects. It is also a messy affair. In a process of experimenting with drugs and attempting to determine how or whether the medication eliminates the correct symptoms the diagnosed is put in an introspective, self-analysing situation trying to answer: What is ADHD and what is me and my personal features? When are the drugs having the right effect? And since I have never been normal then how would I know what behavioural ideal I am striving for? Moreover, the public questioning of the diagnosis calls the individual to constantly claiming recognition of the diagnosis. I end by discussing the moral implications of this striving for the unknown normal and ask if the pathologization of inattentive and hyperactive behaviour is to be addressed as a problematic moral issue or if we have a moral obligation to help people who struggle to navigate and live up to the ideals of our contemporary society.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Publikationsdato31 okt. 2014
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 31 okt. 2014
PublikationsartForskning
Peer reviewNej
BegivenhedSocial pathologies of contemporary civilization - Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Holland
Varighed: 30 okt. 201431 okt. 2014
Konferencens nummer: 5

Konference

KonferenceSocial pathologies of contemporary civilization
Nummer5
LokationErasmus University
LandHolland
ByRotterdam
Periode30/10/201431/10/2014

    Forskningsområder

  • ADHD, diagnosis, experimenting, morality
ID: 207830619