Oh how I love this topic. I do hope my anger doesn’t offend or take control of my prose, but no promises.
I’ve got ADHD. Being well aware of the overabundance of diagnoses, I was hesitant to even consider accepting it; taking so long to embrace my diagnoses is the one thing I still regret to this very day. I took the Conner’s Performance Test twice, underwent multiple evaluations, and frankly, come from a part of my family that obviously has it. Vyvanse (adderall essentially) is the reason I’m able to do well in college, and only after I started taking Vyvanse did my high school grades start to improve and reflect the promise I had once shown in elementary and middle school. It’s helped to open my mind in ways I never thought possible.
I’m also well aware that academic performance is the primary cause for people my age to try to convince their doctors they need adderall. Sure, there are people who really need it and should be asking about it, I’m one of them. There’s also a massive conglomerate of people who don’t need it but get it anyway. I’ll admit myself, it is tempting to use extra vyvanse for cramming or essay writing; it keeps you awake and pinpoint precise. The thing is, the Drug Enforcement Administration knows all of this as well, and have put in place very strict controls and monitoring programs regarding vyvanse, adderall, and ritalin scripts.
What does all of this have to do with the subject at hand? For one thing, the temptation to take more than prescribed persists even now, and it manifests because of an ever-present desperation to keep up academically with all the “regular” non-ADD people who use/abuse adderall to give themselves an edge.
To anyone who isn’t ADHD and takes adderall or some other stimulant, consider this: Is losing sleep and putting your blood pressure at high levels worth the extra edge to cram in that term paper? Was it worth making this drug so overused that now everyone, druggies and legit patients alike, has to incur strict regulation and run a mad rat race to get the most and best done? I certainly don’t appreciate it. Shame on anyone who manipulates their doctor into prescribing a drug they don’t need.
Now that my tirade of justice is over, allow me to give some ADHD facts:
– Vyvanse was made as a version of adderall that could not be snorted in a cokehead-like fashion.
-Vyvanse, adderall, and Dexedrine are amphetamine stimulants. Dexedrine is no longer in production.
-Ritalin is a methylphenidate stimulant. No, it isn’t coincidence that the two drug families are essentially “meth” and “amphetamine”. Consider that before you decide to score some addy for that exam tomorrow…
-ADD is no longer a medical disorder; it is all categorized as hyperactive ADHD (I know, redundant), impulsive ADHD, and inattentive ADHD.
How can you determine if you truly have one of the above ADHD types? Take the Conners Performance Test (CPT) with no stimulant in your bloodstream. If you’re ADHD, the whole examination will piss you off and you’ll have a hard-to-fake low score. Then do it with stimulant medication in your bloodstream. If you are ADHD, you should see near perfects results. If you are not ADHD, you will be too jumpy to perform well.
If you enjoy symphonies, operas, long reads, debates, documentaries, or anything of the like, don’t bother even taking the CPT. You’re fine. Trust me.
What is ADHD in a biological sense? ADHD is, at least what most researchers think, the result of a white matter defficiency in the brain. White matter is primarily neural support cells (ganglia) and neural network connectors. A popular analogy is that gray matter is the “processor” tissue while white matter is the “broadband connections”. If your white matter level is fine, taking a stimulant is similar to overloading a circuit, the circuit being your brain.
As far as young diagnoses are concerned, it is my humble opinion that any diagnosis before middle0school age is both near-impossible and dangerous. These drugs can adversely affect a child’s personality and demeanor, sometimes permanently. Kids are naturally hyper and have short attention spans. Only if they’re continuously babbling loudly, changing subject/focus every second or split-second, and cannot stay seated without having to get up and run around after five seconds of sitting, should a child diagnosis of ADHD be considered.
All in all, show prudency, hesitation, caution, and foresight before assuming you or your child have ADHD. These drugs are potent people, and the more people that superfluously seek it, the more the people who actually need it have to go through increasingly stringent measures just to get a little script filled at the neighborhood pharmacy.
P.S. – To all those selling stimulants on the black market: Die in a fire. Seriously, you feed the need to abuse a useful drug and make it damn near contraband. Its insulting to have to go through a bunch of verification crap as an actual patient when some complete asshole who doesn’t need it is getting some under the table.