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How the Human Brain Develops and Functions

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1371
  • Category: Adhd Child

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is frequently referred to as ADHD. This condition is diagnosed amongst 6.4 million American children every year and is one of the most common mental disorders. Psychology has always been an important part of history and is a big part of ADHD. My interest in this subculture blossomed and taught me not to look at my peers and assume that I understand what they experience daily. I am very intrigued by the way the human brain develops and how it functions. My curiosity for psychology continued to grow exceptionally while researching ADHD and taught me that I cannot recognize and experience what my peers go through if I do not become more involved.

When I started my research, I knew I wanted to observe a culture that I was familiar with and somewhat close to. A frequent assumption made about ADHD is that girls cannot be diagnosed with ADHD. Also, the disorder is a result of bad parenting and that everyone has the same symptoms. Olivia Curtis was my interviewee and informed me that she “hates the lonely feeling” (Curtis) when she takes her medicine, but it helps her focus more in class.

When I was in third grade, I was tested to see if I had ADHD but was not diagnosed because I did not pass the requirements to be put on medication. My best friend has been diagnosed but I never asked her in depth about the condition. Besides other people’s assumptions, I had my own. I expected during the interview that Olivia would be extremely hyper and often distracted. I also assumed that she will be somewhat uninterested and distressed because she would have to sit still.

Predictions I made were that people with ADHD are always hyper and can never control themselves. I assumed this because this is how I sometimes see Olivia. I was very fascinated to observe how she acted on medicine compared to how she acted when she was not on it.


Authors Kimberly Holland and Valencia Higuera wrote an article about the history of ADHD from 1902 until today, “ADHD was first mentioned in 1902 and was discovered by a British pediatrician named Sir George. He found it odd that some children could not control their behavior the way other children could, so he started to conduct research” (Holland). Also, a couple of years later doctors started to recognize the newly discovered medicine “benzidine” (Holland), this medicine had positive and negative effects on the children diagnosed. ADD is often confused with ADHD; ADD was the term professionals used to use to refer to ADHD.

According to the author that wrote this article, Annette Ogbru (Gbemudu) about the side effects and precautions of ADHD medicine, “The main symptoms of ADHD are impulse, hyperactivity, and inattention. but other symptoms may include lack of focus, misplacing items, fidgeting or squirming, excessive talking, and frequent interruption during a conversation” (Ogbru). These symptoms are often seen in children and are some of the biggest signs that a person has ADHD.

Throughout the interview, Curtis interpreted that symptoms of ADHD can make living in the real world hard for those diagnosed. According to John Hopkins Medicine, there are three different types of this disorder and around three thousand people throughout the world are diagnosed with ADHD daily, and one in ten children from ages five to seventeen have ADHD” (Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder). There are a lot of children included in this subculture and “The three types of ADHD are combined type, impulsive/hyperactive type, and inattentive and distractible type.” (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder).

The number of children that have been diagnosed has increased significantly in the past twenty years. The U.S. National Library of Medicine which is the largest biomedical library in the world, “Named the rising rates of the ADHD diagnosis in the USA ‘a national disaster of dangerous proportions” (Francis). Although doctors have not found a cure to ADHD yet, many medications can help treat the symptoms. Other current treatments include behavior therapy and ADHD coaching.


Observation and interview: 9 Feb. 2019, 2:00 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.

My interview was conducted with my best friend Olivia Curtis on February 9, 2020. I got permission from Olivia to conduct an interview and she answered with very strong approval because she believes that ADHD is looked down upon, and she wants the public to know the truth. She started by telling me the story of how she was diagnosed. In second grade, Olivia was sitting at school with two of her friends when she suddenly became very annoyed and began to blurt things out. Due to past experiences before, at that moment her teacher knew she had ADHD and recommended to her mom that they should go see a doctor. The next day Olivia went to the doctor, and she was soon diagnosed with ADHD.

The interview took place in our math class, which has plain tan walls, the furniture inside of the room included a teacher’s desk, a smartboard, tables, and chairs. The class was full of students of all ethnicities, races, religions, and genders. The atmosphere became very loud at times but always had a mellow undertone to it and the temperature was about 70° F. The other students in the classroom were either doing classwork or were on their phones and the teacher was asleep at his desk.

Olivia was surrounded by her friends and classmates and also did not take her medicine that day so at times she would veer off from our conversation and blurt out things to the other group of students talking. Next, as I started to ask Olivia more in-depth questions about the condition itself, she began to voice the symptoms that came with her diagnoses and quickly became agitated to express that the medicine makes her feel like nothing and she always has a “strong feeling of emptiness” (Curtis). Olivia took over ten medicines until she finally found the one, but even with the medicine she is taking now she has side effects. Her personal side effects include head and stomach aches, lack of appetite, dizziness, and fatigue.

But there are some positive effects when Olivia takes her medicine, she “feels like a sponge” (Curtis), meaning she can absorb all information and effectively learn. “ADHD medication side effects in children include decreased appetite, headache, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and abdominal pain.” (Ogbru). The problem with getting prescribed medication is that there is no type or dose of medication that fits every child with ADHD. To know the exact amount and kind of medicine that fits the patient’s needs, they will most likely have to try out a variety of prescriptions.


Doing this ethnography made me do something out of the ordinary by interviewing my friend, I usually do not interview her. By putting myself out in the real world and asking questions and observing it made me more confident. I do not think I would ever take part in interviewing someone during my free time, but it was a great experience. I walked into this interview thinking that this condition was no big deal and that ADHD did not have a great effect on the people diagnosed. I also came into this interview with high expectations because I know her on a personal level, my expectations were accurate.

My assumptions were soon assessed, and I realized just how wrong I was. Olivia was very hyper during the interview and was often distracted. ADHD changes many lives every day and often, people create false assumptions about ADHD as if they look down upon children with ADHD. This condition often takes time to treat and find the right medicine to help and treat the disorder.

As my interest in ADHD sparked, I soon developed an understanding of the troubles that children with ADHD go through every day. I grasped many new ideas about ADHD and I now understand the hardships associated with ADHD. A person with ADHD is the same as a person without it, but the condition comes with problems. I can finally semi-interpret what my best friend goes through every day. I learned many valuable things throughout my research, but I will remember this the most; as American author, Lester Fuller once said, “do not judge a book by its cover”.

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