Taking drugs for ADHD shouldn’t be frowned upon
By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer
There’s nothing wrong with needing to take medication just to help with the smaller problems in life. Brains are complicated. They’re big balls full of hormones and electricity and weird, fleshy supercomputers built out of whatever the body can get its hands on. It’s amazing how they manage to keep us alive, let alone carry out complicated tasks like writing and reading and thinking. Throw in genetics, diet, environment, and stress, and you’ve got a fundamental organ that sometimes just doesn’t work right. It’s perfectly fine to give your brain backup when it needs it, and the stigma people have around it is nonsensical.
It can be hard for people to empathize with mental health issues. Hell, even the term “mental health issues” itself is so loaded and intense, it can be hard not to associate it with only the heaviest of problems. Cancers and indigestion are both legitimate physical health concerns; likewise, severe depression and mild ADHD are both legitimate mental health concerns. Nobody cares if you get medication for bad heartburn, and nobody should care if you get medication because your brain can’t focus on a single task for more than a few seconds at a time.
Trying to focus is a huge problem for students in particular. With our regular due dates and deadlines scattered throughout the semester, students with diagnosed learning disabilities (myself included) often find the mid-semester crunch to be absolutely devastating as assignments pile up and the brain turns into a stressed-out backlog of papers and articles. This is exactly what Adderall and many other drugs are designed to help with. They allow the brain to tune out the background noise constantly humming away, and allow you to control where your focus is. It’s like a pair of mental earplugs.
It’s all about double-standards here. A student drinking tons of Monster energy drinks and coffee is normal, but a pill in the morning to be more productive is frowned upon. It’s indicative of the weird way our culture sees mental health as something supernatural and almost sacred, that we shouldn’t be tampering with our brains using medicine.
Our brains are organs, and like our other organs, it’s not always built quite right and may need a little help to function. Patching it up to keep us on track should never be viewed bad thing.