This comment thread kinda jump-started me on a post I’ve been thinking about doing.
ADHD is very real and can be easily diagnosed with a brain scan but that’s too expensive to actually do (thought patterns are radically different from the norm).
There are two main types, ADHD-Hyperactive which is when the middle strip of the brain grows faster than the rest. This is the excitement centre of the brain. There are various theories from lead to gut bacteria as the cause but in the end, most people can/do grow out of the serious effects of it because the rest of their brain eventually catches up. The second type is ADHD-Inattentive (aka ADD). This is genetic and is a serious condition. Far far fewer are diagnosed with this version (3 in 10 diagnosed) In addition to structural differences in the brain it prevents the executive centre of the brain from properly communicating with the with the memory centre (among other things). This may not seem like such a big deal until you consider our society: The executive centre of the brain controls task/time management which includes everything from getting dressed in the morning to getting work done so you can keep the job that supports you. Active memory recall? All but gone. People with this disorder can remember things, just usually not when they want to let alone need to. All that schooling is in there, just not accessible on a test or in the workplace without reminders to jump-start the process of remembering.
Stimulants help like you wouldn’t believe. They don’t cure because there is far too little known and because there’s a genetic component it’s very difficult to “cure”. When I forget to take my pill/run out – people notice right away. They’ll ask me if I’m hungover or if I need to go to the hospital. Part of that is the stim withdrawal, part is just the norm for ADHD-I. The reason the profits have soared is not just because of diagnosis rates it’s because a patent was granted for Concerta, a time release version of Ritalin. At up to $4/pill it was crazy expensive but the alternative was having to take 3-4 pills a day with Ritalin… a task which isn’t “easy” to accomplish for ADHD-I types.
I’ll grant you that there are millions more diagnosed than probably need to be but that just makes it harder for those who are legitimately diagnosed.
So I gots the ADD, or ADHD-Inattentive. Back in the day, I exhibited all nine traits in the extreme:
1.Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
2.Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities
3.Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
4.Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
5.Often has trouble organizing activities.
6.Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period (such as schoolwork or homework).
7.Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
8.Is often easily distracted.
9.Is often forgetful in daily activities.
To be diagnosed you only need to exhibit six traits enough to be disruptive or inappropriate to your development level. It’s typically co-morbid with a coupla other things (OCD, Tourette’s, Depression), so you gotta watch out for that. Like I said, I was extreme. My diagnosis was as clear-cut as they come. It’s not a fun problem for an MBTI-conscientious sorta fellow, but I’m starting to iron it out.
Used to be I was late to work all the time because I’d lose things. Wallet, keys- shoes were the worst offender. No, I don’t know how you can lose your shoes three times per week, I just know it always happens when you’re leaving for work. I was infamous for getting the wrong answer on any problems that took more than a couple of lines because I couldn’t copy the previous line without mistakes. Eventually, I couldn’t do homework at all without getting drunk first (at least my accuracy and coherence improved).
Yikes, I could go on for a long time. Major depression too, diagnosed and whatnot. It wasn’t much fun.
I’ve considered taking drugs for it. I really have. But- and here’s something really funny- you try to get medicare or whatever the fuck for ADHD, they hand you some pamphlets to read and a stack of forms to fill out. Getting that heavy stack of paper, I felt a weight in my stomach about as large. No way this was happening. Maybe they’re testing the drugs on bullshitting meth heads and Asians with Tiger Moms before trying them on humans.
Anyway, a stripper offered me one of her Adderall pills once, just to try it. Protip: taking a pill from a stripper is not usually a good idea, especially when you’re at work. You gotta be sure (and you gotta be ready for some consequences if you’re wrong). Or you know, whatever, just shout YOLO and that makes everything all good.
The theory is correct, by the way: stimulants affect introverts and ADHD-I types differently. Rather than getting hyper and bouncy, I found that I could sit still. Like, just sit there and do nothing, and it was okay. Everything was going to be okay, I didn’t need to do anything. Most of the time, sitting still means going off to la-la land to play reindeer games with Aslan and Freud. In high school they never gave a shit where my head was at as long as my answers were right and my butt was in the chair.
On Adderall, I knew I could do anything. I wanted to write music, but because I was at work I just paid attention. A workfellow who knew I was tripping later described me as “intense”, “on-the-ball”, and “ambitious”.
Ah, hang on, one of the cats has just made diarrhea on my bed…Looks like you’ll have to wait for part deuce!