I patiently await the day when I feel utterly grateful that I’ve been prescribed some form of attention deficit medicine for over ten years. What began as a means of self-control in grade school quickly evolved into a necessity of life.
Society says I’m unable to fulfill my role in it without supplementary medication because my brain works a little different from the majority. I have far more trouble applying myself in certain situations than most of my peers. In fact, there are countless activities that will harness my concentration for hours on end without the help of any medicine. Unfortunately, the most gratifying activities for a person with ADD or ADHD are often deemed insignificant because they fail to comply with those of peers.
Big names like Adderall, Vyvance, and Ritalin are changing the way students learn forever. As a result, an alarming number of patients have, and will, develop a life long dependency on a stimulant.
Each year a growing number of students across the country are put on some form of attention deficit medication. Some truly suffer from the disorder and some do not. And sure, it improves concentration (even in the absence of a diagnosis), and literally grants the ability to do schoolwork in severe cases, but it also ignores the root of the problem.
Children today grow up in a world vastly different from that even of an older sibling. Generational differences are at an all time high; just look at the astounding growth in the approval rate of marijuana between the baby boomers and following generations. People themselves are changing and the world stands by, too stubborn to evolve.
We should reevaluate whether an induced dependence in children is the correct way to ensure success in the long run.
ADD medications have undoubtedly helped millions of children learn the basic building blocks required for civilized life. Almost every concept taught up to high school is considered somewhat essential to development. Thus, a supplement that enables an otherwise difficult concept to be grasped and understood, is priceless; and I’m in full support of utilizing medication for this reason.
What I don’t necessarily agree with is the use of the same medications for students beyond high school. A college student should not require a copious amount of stimulants to avoid failing at something.
Forget the millions of college students that abuse prescription stimulants on a daily basis and focus on the segment with a true deficiency.
The chance that any given student could continue down their respective path, at the same rate, without a supplemental drug, is likely low. It’s even less likely if a student’s been prescribed for the majority of his or her life.
Picture a student who’s spent the last ten years relying on a pill to make possible the work required of him each day at school. During this time, he’s gradually learned that his favorite activities, the most gratifying and rewarding hobbies, are entirely useless in adult (real) life. Worse yet, the most boring and uninteresting seem to be those mandatory for the rest of his life.
Like the student, everyday tasks to which I’m able to devote thought and energy, without medication, are my greatest passions; while those that I find particularly useless, or having no immediate value, are seemingly impossible when sober. I have no problem spending all day, everyday studying and learning about the subjects that naturally spark my interest.
It’s these fields that will prevent me from ever working a day in my life.
When a child, attention deficit disorder or not, enters adulthood without a strong tie between passion and career, the likelihood of that individual ever reaching a self-actualized state is slim. Self-actualization is often disregarded as it was largely considered a pretense by preceding generations.
For legitimate cases of attention deficit disorder the above concept is the key to a rewarding, fulfilling, and ultimately successful life. We are often taught to focus less on what interests us most and more on what interests us the least.
The only hope rests in the education system. Society won’t budge until the very core of people themselves change. Until that day, we’re stuck in a world where you’re forced to discover life’s other doors on your own. Society has provided for us a path and, should you choose not to follow down this path with the rest of humanity, face a world of difficulty.
Unless you’re one of the rare few who find absolute self-fulfillment in their field of study, true happiness lies outside the norm.
Leave the path you’ve prepared for since birth and you’re forced to decide what really matters to you. Gone are the support structures that provided you a reason for being and a sense of purpose. Take everything away, focus solely on yourself, and your true passions come to light. All too often we grow up relying too heavily on external structures for support rather than ourselves. Remove them and you may find that your life is rather dull or lacking.
It’s no doubt easier to take the road “more” traveled. The rest of the world agrees. But, find someone who diverged and pursued themselves… that’s when you learn what your life is about. That’s what I’m going to do. Create me, not my career. I am my career.
Featured Image: Adderall is the only way to study Photo By [Quinn Dombrowski Link to Flickr]