Hello, I am a college student and I recently gone to see a psychiatrist because I thought that maybe I have ADD. A couple of my friends have ADD and are prescribed to Ritalin and I talked to them about the problems that I have had my whole life and they told me that they have the same problems and they are the ones that convinced me to go to the doctor. I have been disappointed so far though. The doctor first prescribed me Zoloft and after a month the medicine made me feel horrible and it was not helping me at all. Now I am prescribed to Effexor and this still makes me feel horrible and it is not helping me. My friends told me to ask him about Ritalin but I have not yet -- I figured that a doctor should know what to give me. But when I go to see him he talks to me for about 10 minutes and then he prescribes me a new medicine. I want to know what I should do. I am having more problems in school, and I have been getting really bad grades. Should I see another doctor or should I talk to mine about it? Thanks.

Because ADHD is such an ambiguous condition (for many individuals) it can cover such a wide range of performance and behavioral problems. Add to that that until recently it was considered only a condition of children - many adult psychiatrists are less familiar and comfortable with using that diagnosis. In addition many psychiatrists are uncomfortable with prescribing Ritalin in adults because of its abuse potential. That said, a positive response to Ritalin says nothing about your overall problems since Ritalin will allow anyone to improve their performance in tasks they find difficult or boring. So unless you are real angry, anxious or depressed Ritalin will probably help.

One could ask "Why then shouldnít everyone take Ritalin?" Answer: most of us are meeting our performance demands and Ritalin will eventually lead a large number of people into addiction if it is distributed widely to adults. Take a look a your world and see if what you are doing in college is really what you want to be doing or what you're good at. Making changes in life plans are quite difficult but maybe your problems are telling you something. You might go ahead and discuss this email with your doctor and demand that he spend more than 10 minutes with you this time or find someone else who will. Good Luck.