Isaac’s Story

I don’t know who to address this to, or who might read it, but I hope that those of you who are considering treatment, or are at the beginning of treatment are the ones that get this.

Here is the problem, there are a lot of people who have ADD. When is a disorder not a disorder but a certain trait such as hair color or height? I am a biochemist who spends a lot of time thinking about evolution. Simple biological theory states that if ADD is inheritable (and it seems that it is), then it’s persistence in our society suggests it is does yield some advantage. It is hard to imagine how this might be true. I don’t think it is in TODAY’s world. Yesteryear, people with attention deficit problems actually had an advantage because we can parallel process information (multi-task to a limited extent- but importantly, not finish tasks). Unfortunately today, we so saturated with mini-tasks (memos, reports, forms, emails), that we who cannot focus and get one thing done at a time are at a serious disadvantage.

I think that adults who were not properly diagnosed with ADD as children are often not properly noticed because they typically fall into a job and lifestyle they can handle. It’s not until somebody like me enters (in my case) a competitive Ph.D. program in biochemistry that these problems become prohibitive and pushes us into seeking treatment. Well I did.

First I discussed it over months with my wife, who was reluctant at first. Once she agreed that I might have problems, I took the screening tests at a psych services center on campus. Wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t follow through with the testing and subsequent consultation.

A year and a half later, I failed my preliminary exam (death sentence to a graduate student). I didn’t think I should have failed. It was quite controversial as there was not consensus on my committee. I informally protested the result, and agreed to hold the result of the exam off until I sought and completed assessment for ADD. A very good doc on campus got a hold of my test results and immediately suggested I seek medication. I began taking Strattera about 8 mo ago. It has changed my life completely. I didn’t even believe the results, so I secretly went off the medication and the results were so profound that I have to conclude that it helps. Remember, if you start taking strattera, give it 6, maybe 8 weeks… you’ll see the difference!

Among the major symptoms which have been diminished:

WAY better ability to stay tuned into conversation
WAY better ability to complete tasks
Sleep at night is so much better.. my mind isn’t racing until 3 AM!
– Able to put things into perspective, decide what is important.
My whole life has been plagued by this condition, I have many of the same stories that others do on this discussion. Get help if you need it. It isn’t your fault, and help is here now .