Reply To: Unhappy with diagnosis and treatment

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As a boy, I felt normal, albeit interested in everything. My mother had been told by my teachers that I was an intelligent kid, excited about everything, and even qualified for a gifted program. We ended up moving around during my middle school years, and my high school years were marked with an incredible amount of classes being missed (I think my junior year, I missed 90 or 100 days, though I don’t recall); the only reason I graduated on time is simply due to my intelligence and resolve, a fact supported by my entrance in to the Naval Nuclear program.
My experience in the Nuclear program was, to put it mildly, rough, given what felt like, an immense amount of boredom in a program that was challenging and complicated. I eventually flushed out of the program, spent several years in the fleet and was medically separated from the Navy.
My adult career has been marked with multiple jobs (mostly temp work) in which I was eventually laid off or even fired for various things (boredom, accumulated minor mistakes, and tardiness) until I went back to college (which took 8 years to graduate from, in part due to the extra classes I was interested in).
Even my college career was marked with poor marks in the more complicated fields (I graduated with a degree in theoretical physics) mostly due to lengthy exams that required incredible concentration.

After all of this, I had a single professor whom asked me, at one point, if I had a learning disability. The question was moderately insulting, in part, because the professor it was coming from was brilliant and someone I highly respected. He even, at one point, doubled my exam time to four hours, but it didn’t seem to help much, if at all. Through all of this, even with my irritation at the insinuation I was disabled, I couldn’t help but wonder (this was in 2008).

From college (I graduated in 2010), I’ve had no less than 6 jobs, most of which I was fired or laid off from for various issues (attention to details, interpersonal conflict, tardiness), one of which lasted for 3 years and was marked with multiple performance evaluations due to mistakes and attention to detail issues.
It wasn’t until 2016 (8 years after my professor theorized there was an issue) that I finally went in to the doctor to be evaluated, which, you can safely assume given the site we’re on, came back as my having ADHD. Since my diagnosis and medication, I have managed to start my own business (in my free time) and (after a year now) am nearly free of working a full time job simply by being able to focus long enough to build the equipment I needed. Additionally, my relationship with my current g/f has been strengthened due to my ability to control and temper my thoughts and not simply say the first thing that comes to mind.

I don’t know which is worse: knowing that the last 30 years of my life have been marked with failure after failure due to an undiagnosed learning disability or wondering, had I been medicated as a child, whether I would have succeeded in any of my career options.


While I understand your concerns as well as your unwillingness to medicate your child, that you don’t have any issues with your child doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues present. Denial of an issue doesn’t vacate it’s presence. By your own admission, he has concentration issues, but while you believe that they are improving, it’s nearly impossible for you to be impartial OR for him to report negative results; what child wants to let down their parent, right?

I would seek out a second opinion and allow them to determine the veracity of your original findings without bring them up and just allow them to test independently. If they concur with the original findings, then it’s up to you on whether or not to allow medication, but keep in mind that the school years are literally the foundations we build our careers from. Much like a house, if the foundation is bad, the house isn’t likely to be in good condition.