My name is Karly and I am 21 years old. In my junior year of highschool, I diagnosed myself with ADD. I went to my parents with this information and they took me to the school's psychologist. I found out that I had once been tested for ADD as a child but since the hyperactivity was not present they concluded I did not have it. I am writing you because my situation with the treatment of ADD is very unique. I started with Dexedrine my senior year of high school. I became anorexic that same year. I went to college and remained on Dexedrine, no one knew of my eating problems. I eventually complained to my doctor that I did not like always being moody. He switched me to Ritalin. I picked up a smoking habit to calm my nerves while on this medication. Ritalin did not prove for me the same results with concentration as Dex. did. I switched back. Now the past year I was introduced to Adderall. I really love what it did for my concentration. I ended up having many personal and family problems this year. I eventually became dependent on Adderall. I picked up a drinking habit to allow me to fall asleep at night. Since some of my classes were in the evenings I would take the pills to late at night and drink to fall asleep. To make a long story short I ended up having depression ever since my eating disorder and three months ago tried to commit suicide. I am doing better right now. I do not remember the last time I felt so happy. I have gotten help professionally and quit drinking and smoking.

 

My question for you is I now have to return to school this fall and am stressing out about how I am going to perform well without pick up old habits. I have A new psychiatrist and she does not want me to take Adderall anymore. However I am on Zoloft and am not getting the same performance from this as I do with amphetamines. I would love to try and have the same attention with antidepressants but do not want to suffer in school. I am an Elementary education major. I have two years left. I wonder if maybe this is a lesson that is telling me that medication is not the right answer for me but rather hard work and dedication? What do you think? I really hope you might find some time to help me out with this because no one really seems to understand very well. I found your web page because I purchased your book. I bought for the use of my students some day. Thanks for your time.

Yours is a difficult but I suspect not uncommon situation for the "adult" with ADHD type problems. In Running on Ritalin I talk about three questions I ask teenagers about their future. "What are you good at? What would you like to do? What do you think you should do?" If the answers to those questions aren't approximately the same then one becomes a candidate for a stimulant because as a class they keep people focused on tasks they find boring or difficult.