View Full Version : Academic Acheivement and ADD

02-24-07, 08:00 PM
Hello All [first post, long time lurker]

I've been recently debating as to whether I should meet with my GP regarding the possibility of having ADD.

I've always felt that I've had ADD. Although I have never exhibited hyperactivity in any form, i've always been easily distracted by things as trivial as people speaking in the next room or the sound of family members closing a door, any sound really regardless of how quiet. In fact, when distracted while studying, i'd often emerge from my room upset to inform the noise makers that they were bothering. Also, starting any mentally demanding activity has been and is still unbelieveably difficult. I have other symptoms but I'm not going to list them all.

Through my elementary years through highschool, i coped with my lack of focus by studying in frequent short intervals. Sometimes i'd end up taking hour long breaks in between, however I've always been pretty good in the math and sciences and didn't really have to study much anyways. I made it through my first few years of college while getting A's in Organic Chem and Physics by just spreading out the material over a longer and longer periods of time.

My problem now [I'm a third year in college] is that I can't study in short intervals like before, there's just too much material now for my old methods to work, I can't do well without studying anymore. As a result, I'm forced to work late into the night, though realistically the actual time I spend reading with focus is under 3 hours, sometimes I just sit there and read and then realize that i've been zoning out. I'm ALWAYS finding myself in a day dream...ALWAYS!! Not just when i'm reading, also when in lecture, when i'm walking between classes, when i'm in a conversation with someone, though less so when i'm talking. Furthermore, I'm sure you can only imagine what kind of problems this causes for me while I'm in Lab. Also, my parents have moved, so Its like my entire motivation/support system has evaporated. The problem I have with seeking help is that since 6th grade I have shown an excellent performance [Straight A's] in school. In fact, I left highschool as a junior and recieved a scholarship to UC Irvine [I left early because I hated having all the homework and being told what to do all the time]. My previous academic years show no signs of me having ADD. If I ask my GP for help will he just laugh at me

Has anyone experienced, this, that their previous coping mechanisms just stopped working once they got to college. Its very frustrating.

If I schedule an appointment, should I specifically state that I want to discuss ADD, should I just schedule a Physical and then bring it up? Should I just try to work harder, even if that means working into the early mornings?

I'm so discouraged and physically drained

02-24-07, 08:33 PM

I had straight A's all the way through high school, and then dropped out after 1 year at uni because my coping strategies didn't work anymore.
I wish I'd have known about ADHD then, because the whole thing was quite distressing (and things eventually got a lot worse.)

This kind of thing is quite common, and the book "Delivered from Distraction" has a whole chapter on the pitfalls of college and ADHD.

So go to your GP and explain what you've explained here; if they laugh then they're a jerk and you should go elsewhere.

Good luck.

02-24-07, 09:33 PM
People with ADHD may still be able to achieve good marks in school if they are studying things they have an aptitude for. I've met several people who found their niche once they reached university and could specialize. What often happens is that people with ADHD may have to work harder or longer to do things they should be able to do easily.

Meds didn't alter my ability to do things, they just make it easier.

03-25-07, 08:49 PM
Chemist I have similar problems espeacially with reading. luckily fore me I am highly auditory so even while sitting in class and daydreaming
I still retain much more information then I realize at the time. I've tried the studing for short intervals
and that never worked for me. I would just have to wait until I had a large block of time and study until I was unable to study any more. I never really caught up but you would be suprised at what you retain. It was always enough to get high marks in school my biggest issue was writting a report and trying to organize all of this information into a well written format it would often take me three hours to write a small paragraph
But I would just keep at it until it was done and the lowest
score I ever got a a major writing assignment was a b

03-25-07, 09:08 PM
ADHD and good grades are not mutually exclusive. I know from my own experience, probably similar to yours. I don't think my coping mechanisms stopped working completely in college (though I haven't finished yet), though I knew that I had been underachieving. There was definitely a significant drop in my grades, especially in mathematics. My ability to study for math was rather limited, experiencing the same problems that you have (being unable to study for a long period of time, as I really didn't have to study that much until college). My comprehension was always poor, and now reading material seemed more integrated into the learning process, nothing seemed to be sinking in. Fortunately, there were subjects where I didn't have to study (computer-science subjects), which balanced when combined with the other issues.

It really seems to take a long time for me to learn anything that I cannot simply guess at and get right -- anything that takes extensive research (involving reading) is generally a problem. Even in the subject areas that I am inclined.... It is simply that I see these subjects as intuitive is what saves me (I still am slow in "traditional" learning methods).

03-25-07, 11:25 PM
First off, don't think that working any 'harder' will get you better grades. Believe me, you'll be working forever if you keep on that track.

Of course discuss your concerns with your dr. but you really need a specialist who deals spefically with ADD. You need someone who knows their stuff, because ADD looks like so many other things and probably can get confused with many other conditions. So a proper diagnosis is in order.

Next of course is ADD management. This will depend on your personal philosphy, meds or no meds. I take medication, and the impact it's made on my studying is incredible. I'm still not quite achieving the grades I want, but I'm getting there.

If you're an ADD student, you really do need some kind of academic support behind you. I'm talking about test accomodations and accomodations for assignments. You may or may not always need them, but I'd get them. Writing in a nice quiet room is twenty billion times better than writing in a large noisy gym. And no matter how good you are, the ADD mind just takes a bit longer than everyone else to get stuff written up and most universities/colleges will understand that.

Don't be discouraged. The other side of the fence is truly a wonderful one. Hang in there.

04-16-07, 06:01 PM
I went through almost the exact same thing this year. Dropping grades, all-nighters to hit a deadline the next day (and even some to hit a deadline that had already passed) - I didn't want to even start studying because I knew it would be a hassle.

I think that at first people are very skeptical of people who think they have AD/HD - when I first started talking to my closest friends about it they thought that I was probably just being lazy (even though they had jokingly told me that I was ADD before.) One of the first counsellors I spoke to thought that my mental struggles were caused by head trauma (pretty terrifying). It's hard to not feel like an attention seeker when you need to talk about yourself.

I'd say go to a doc. No harm in investigating.

04-16-07, 06:34 PM
Went to a Psychiatrist today. He just asked me some questions for like 45 minutes and we were done. Still reluctant to try the meds he gave me though. Maybe i'll start tomorrow or better yet the weekend. Not quite sure what adderall will do to me.