The Fix allows Nick Dothée to defend his diagnosis of ADD and use of the wildly over-prescribed drug Ritalin:
I think I thought I’d wake up one day and this would be fixed – a non-issue. I’d be cured; no longer in constant pursuit of getting my fix, but rather I’d just have it in me, always – the clarity I had as a kid.
ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder. This disorder, and the drugs associated it, have been all-the-buzz in the media for at least a decade or so, but it’s been my daily reality for much longer; I’ve been haunted by those three letters for most of my life.
I was officially diagnosed with ADD, and prescribed Ritalin by the family doctor, around the third grade. Back then, I’d spit out the little yellow pills in the playground drinking fountain at recess. I was convinced that the substance did nothing for me other than make me nauseous. This was a Nick that had no interest in altering his personality in any way. By the fourth grade I made it quite clear to my teachers and parents, who urged me to focus in class and control my hyper behavior so as not to disturb the other children, that my main interest was moving forward in my career. I had already informed my mother, when I was eight, that I had to quit the local choir and begin to build my résumé, but some things bear repeating. A play or performance of any kind was always more powerful than the Ritalin. My attention and focus was laser sharp when it came to a stage and the opportunity to perform.
Today we know that ADD affects not only children but also adults that have either always had the chemical imbalance or acquired it from lifestyle-changing circumstances such as addiction and substance abuse. For adults, with or without ADD, it’s all about the Adderall.
Around 25, after fulfilling my childhood plan of moving to NYC, I started taking my medication – and then some. The rejection I hadn’t prepared myself for caused me not only to seek therapy for a pain I couldn’t relieve, it also began a cycle of self-medicating with drugs (legal and otherwise) and alcohol. Anything I could find to quiet the relentless and often harsh thoughts spinning at an overwhelming and sometimes paralyzing pace.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that people casually diagnose themselves with ADD. Guess what, not always listening or being able to pay attention is not ADD, it’s human. People downplay the severity of this chemical imbalance, and as I get older and struggle with the link between my ADD and my addictions, the flippancy people have about ADD is beginning to piss me off. ADD is real, and can often be crippling to someone who is desperately trying to function in society and follow through with his or her life goals on a day-to-day basis. ADD or ADHD (adding in some hyperactivity is all) is not just an excuse to prescribe fun drugs for people to pawn off to their friends without the disorder. That’s just a perk…
[continues at The Fix]