ADHD: A Gift and a Curse

13 Jun

Most people who know Adam already know that he has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.  Adam has always been open about this and the fact that he takes medication for it.  Granted, there are a lot of children who have had this diagnosis officially, or unofficially, slapped on them, when what they really need is some structure and discipline in the home.  At the community mental health center where I work, I’ve seen too many parents think that all their kid needs is some medication and then they will be a perfect angel.  Of course, there are some, like Adam, for whom medication has made a world of difference.

Adam started taking Adderall his sophomore year of high school.  He went from earning C’s and D’s  to making A’s and B’s in classes.  He graduated high school as one of the ten most improved students academically.  He is the “poster child” for a medicated person with ADHD.  When he takes his medication he has more motivation and focus.  He also has much better impulse control.  Trust me, we have quadruple the arguments when he does not take his meds consistently!  It is a much happier home when he thinks before he speaks (and can handle my occasional freak-outs more calmly)!  It also avoids some version of the following conversation (that we have had too many times to count):

Me: I didn’t know that you were going to (fill in the blank).

Adam: I thought I told you.

Me: No, I would have remembered that.

Adam: Oh, I must have forgotten.  Sorry.

Adam struggles sometimes, though, with whether or not he should take his medication based on what he needs to do/how he wants to be perceived.  Often, he is more quiet and withdrawn when he is on his medication.  He feels that he is not as funny or creative.  People can often tell when Adam has taken his medication vs. when he has not, based on his demeanor.  There are definitely pros and cons to both sides.  If he wants to come across to an audience as more outgoing and witty, he may not take his meds, but he may risk forgetting the words to a song.  He has tried a lower dosage but he does not feel it works as well, so it will probably always be something that he will have to deal with…

Whether it is labeled as ADHD, or not, this is what makes Adam creative and talented.  It is part of who he is and what he does.  Adam would not be Adam without this mixed blessing!

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