Successful people with ADHD refuse to take medication

Posted on May 7, 2016

Photo: flickr

Professor Asherson, who has worked as a consultant for the company that makes Concerta (a type of ADHD medication), the first-line treatment for UK adults with ADHD, understands why many would refuse medication. ‘It wasn’t a nice tablet,’ he wrote in his auto-biography. ‘It made me feel a bit like a zombie… anything that makes you feel “zombified” surely can’t be good for you.’

Other celebrities agree, ‘It reduced my energy and made me tired all the time,’ judo medallist Ashley McKenzie explains. ‘It wasn’t a long-term solution.’ David Neeleman, a US airline founder who credits his own ADHD for his success, continues, ‘I’m afraid of taking drugs once, blowing a circuit, and then being like the rest of you.’

The brains of people with ADHD appear, among other things, to have lower levels of certain neurotransmitters, so an experience needs to be more stimulating for it to draw and hold their attention. This makes for tough school years and a higher chance of ending up in prison or being addicted to drugs. But if someone with ADHD has talent and gets the right breaks, their impulsiveness, out-of-the-box thinking and compulsion to seek out the surprising, dramatic and unconventional can power them to success. For Dr Ellen Littman, a US clinical psychologist, it is not surprising that those who do make it largely forgo drugs. ‘Medication inhibits impulses, so it can make one less spontaneous,’ she explains. ‘I’ve had artists and athletes tell me that it’s not a worthwhile trade-off.’

The same goes for entrepreneurs, a business coach said, 'The entrepreneur is not supposed to be focused. Is medication trying to make us better or is it trying to make us just like everybody else? We don’t need more people like everybody else.’ and explains that they can find their way around ADHD with help of personal assistants.

While many successful people have ADHD, the reverse is not at all true. Many with the trait struggle to hold down any job or get any qualifications. They don’t have the luxury of a personal assistant or a stimulating profession. Those who hold positions like barristers require medication to stay focused and professional.

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Category(s):Adult ADHD

Source material from The spectator

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