During the first week of every December, the U District streets near the campus of the University of Washington go quiet and a dull mood sets across campus as students migrate from lively bars and house parties, to local coffee shops and campus libraries. However, caffeine and snacks are not the only things undergrads seek during the inevitable finals week. Many students are out on a desperate hunt for ADHD medications, popularly known as “study helpers.”
Due to its easy accessibility and high demand, a large black market for ADHD medications has risen across college campuses throughout the country. Furthermore, many young adults purposely fail diagnostic tests so they can receive prescription drugs to sell or use. As a consequence of this, ADHD is easily overlooked and claimed by many to not be a true neurological disorder.
As a senior undergraduate who was diagnosed with ADHD in middle school, I constantly hear people talking about using these medications for no other purpose but to supplement their studying. I have heard people talk about purposely failing diagnostic tests in order to receive prescriptions, and I have had people tell me that my condition is not real and is simply an “excuse.” These situations are often extremely frustrating, and only add to the burdens of living with ADHD.
At Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
ADHD is in fact a very real neurological and behavioral condition. I have struggled a lot with ADHD in my academics, as well as in my personal relationships. Sometimes it is hard to not blame my inability to focus on myself, calling ADHD an excuse for my lack of productivity. Other times I might have a hard time controlling impulses when I am excited, all while losing awareness of others around me. However, despite all of the obstacles that having ADHD throws in my path, I have learned that the best way to handle ADHD is to embrace it, and use it to its advantages.
While ADHD carries a negative stigma due to people’s ability to abuse and mislabel it, it is a very real and prevalent disorder. ADHD makes it harder to form personal relationships and function properly in the classroom and professional work environment. However, when approached in a positive manner, ADHD can provide any individual with unique strengths and talents.
I believe that my ADHD makes me who I am; a creative, enthusiastic and outgoing individual. I always have a smile on my face and enjoy taking on challenges. While I may jump around between tasks, I always make sure to finish everything. ADHD often does put me at a disadvantage against my classmates, but because of this, I believe that ADHD has shaped me to become a stronger individual with enthusiasm and will.
With friends at a South Africa vs. New Zealand Rugby match at Westpac Stadium, New Zealand.