By Courtney Zenner – Collegiate Staff
I can remember back to my freshman year of high school. There I was, sitting at my kitchen table trying to do my math homework. I would just sit there, staring at the wall with my homework in front of me, thinking of things unrelated to my homework. Two hours went by and I only had one problem done. Situations like this happened all the time. I thought to myself, this can’t be normal.
I couldn’t pay attention at basketball practice either. My coach would always yell at me for getting distracted, but it was something I couldn’t help. During my sophomore year of high school, my mom began to notice my symptoms as well. I couldn’t focus on anything, especially homework. I would get so distracted. I finally went to see a doctor so I could get tested for ADHD. I had to take a series of tests and evaluations and after numerous trips to the doctor I was finally diagnosed with ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) is a brain disorder that includes inattention, hyperactivity, and impulse behavior.
Since I was diagnosed with ADHD, I had been prescribed medication called Adderall. Adderall contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine are stimulants in the central nervous system that affect chemicals in the brain to increase the ability to pay attention, stay focused on activities, and control behavior.
I spoke with Dr. Adelle Cadieux, a pediatric psychologist at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital. She said, “For people with ADHD, the prefrontal lobe in the brain is developing at a slower rate than people without ADHD. That is the part that involves focus, attention, motivation, planning, organizing, and synthesizing information.” Many people think that ADHD doesn’t actually exist, but it does. There is a chemical imbalance in the brain of a person with ADHD. “Everybody has some focusing problems, but someone with ADHD has a greater difficulty focusing. Their thoughts are going from one thought to another thought to another thought,” Dr. Cadieux said.
My teachers had to evaluate me to see if the medication was working and it was evident that it was. Since I started taking Adderall, I became so much more focused and my grades improved tremendously. I went from having a 2.7 GPA to a 3.2 GPA. I never was able to focus in math and I got a D my freshman year of high school. Ever since then, I always got A’s in my math classes.
There are some side effects to Adderall, such as decreased appetite, weight loss, restlessness, anxiety, nervousness, excitability, etc. I lost 25 pounds when I started taking Adderall. I suffered from these symptoms, but I learned how to cope with them and I overcame them. I now make sure I eat every meal so I can get the nutrients I need. Now, whenever I need to, I take an all natural substance called melatonin which helps me sleep at night, and I have gone to counseling sessions to improve my anxiety.
The positives definitely outway the negatives. I would have never been able to accomplish the things I did without medication. I think anyone who feels they might suffer from ADHD should get tested so they can receive the proper medication/treatment to help improve their concentration and impulsivity. It can lead to an overall better lifestyle.