Here are some more questions that I’ve received.
Hi Dr. Eckman,
I’m a college student in danger of failing all my classes. I can’t seem to keep focused in class and find that my mind wanders during lectures and concentration is a real problem. I’ve always had these problems since grade school but somehow managed to get decent grades. One counselor at school suggested that I talk to a specialist and find out if I have ADHD. Can you help me?
Thanks for your question. Yours is quite typical of calls and e-mails that I receive from students wondering if the problems they are having with inattention, concentration, inability to focus, task completion and procrastination are related to ADD/ADHD. They like you are wondering how they were able to function in grade school to high school with adaptions but now that they are in college, those adaptions either don’t work as well or not at all. This makes sense given the extreme loads that college students are put under. This increase in load overwhelms the system that was designed and students become disillusioned and either drop classes or in some cases are put on probation. I would suggest that you take your counselors advice and find an ADD/ADHD specialist ASAP. If you are located in the greater Portland OR area, feel free to contact me at (503) 492-2200. Either way, good luck in your academic career.
Dear Mr. Eckman,
I’m 22 years old and use to take Ritalin when I was younger. It was very helpful but when my parents divorced, my new step father didn’t allow me to take medication claiming that it wasn’t necessary. My grades went down and my problems in school returned so eventually I dropped out of high school. I completed my GED and now started college but am having the same problems. Should I think about taking Ritalin again or is there something else that would help?
Please don’t use my real name if you answer this question.
I wish I had a nickel for all the times I heard a story like yours. Some parents and step-parents feel that any mental health medication is either unnecessary or a ploy of the pharmaceutical companies to get rich. Unfortunately, well meaning parents with that belief might end up causing their children problems academically, socially, emotionally and in some cases legally. While ADHD medication is not warranted in all cases, it has been shown to be effective in 70-80% of patients and given that you found benefit in the past, may be helpful now. Of course I would suggest you find an ADD/ADHD specialist to go through all your options including medication, therapy, coaching and life style changes. Whatever you decide, I would suggest you do it soon, as you might find that waiting only exacerbates the problem.
Please keep your questions, comments, and suggestions coming. If you or someone you know might have ADD or ADHD and lives in the greater Portland Oregon (OR.) area, have them contact me at (503) 492-2200 to discuss their needs.