I was diagnosed with ADD when I was fifteen. I took meds for a couple months and didn’t really feel any different. I stopped taking my meds (against the wishes of every adult I knew) and got on with life. I certainly have most of the signs and symptoms of ADD, at least as they are presented in the books written on the subject for the mass consumer. However, between my not neatly matching the criteria set forth in the DSM-IV-R*and some doubts I have about the competency of the physicians who originally assessed me, I’m not sure if my diagnosis was a good one.
In any case, looking back, I do see a decline in my creative output after I started taking meds, but that could be due to many, many other factors (life was very much not good for me at the time). It would be wrong to attribute my artistic slowdown solely to the medication I was taking.
Whether my diagnosis was sound or not, I’ve come to be perfectly happy with being somewhat scatter-brained, and have come up with my own unique ways of organizing my life. As far as distractability goes, psychiatrists say that Ring Wraiths could probably defeat Darth Maul, though it would be extremely difficult to stay on task. The only places ADD really has caused me difficulty, assuming I really have it, is back in Army Basic Training and AIT (Attention To Detail, Private, Attention To Detail!) and now in some of my math heavy classes at college. That, and I frequently find myself in a mad rush to get things done at the last minute (but I do get them done).
Advice? Since ADD, however over-diagnosed, is a very real illness that causes millions of people very real problems, you might as well go see a psychologist and get treatment if you decide it is appropriate. The treatment need not include drugs. But if you do end up taking drugs, and you don’t like the way they affect you, well, you can always stop and be no worse off than you are now, right? Assuming, of course, that seeing a psychologist and getting tested won’t create too much of a burden on you financially.
Or is it DMS-IV-R . . . I always get those confused. In any case, it is the Diagnostic Manual of Statistics IV Revised, which is the psychologist’s book full of psychological conditions and their symptoms and stuff.