Neo takes the blue pill. He continues to believe that ADHD meds bump his focus and thus his grades.
The blue pill, while the pill of ignorance in The Matrix, is a drug for ADHD called Adderall. Some high schoolers, though, may know it as the “get-shit-done pill”– an appropriate name considering one of its, well, alternate uses is to help unfocused students get their grades back on track. Except, they don’t.
At least, not in the long run. A study conducted in Maryland concluded that any benefits in academics dissipated to the point of indistinguishability after three years. If you went to any college campus a couple years ago, asking about getting Ritalin, chances are the first person you come across will have some. However, see the same person today, it’s almost guaranteed they had either fallen down the dark abyss of addiction or are standing right by its edge. Why? Like most other drugs, ADHD medications can act as a gateway drug. Couple that with the harsh nudges of meeting society’s expectations, and you’ve got another victim in the pit.
Going to the professionals for advice doesn’t alleviate the situation, either. In ADHD Nation by Alan Schwarz, it’s explained that most of the doctors prescribing these pills don’t fully understand the disease or the consequences of misdiagnosing a patient. More often than not, experts turn to the Conners Scale, a test used to determine if someone has ADHD, for their diagnosis. The questions are so generic and relatable, though, that there’s no wonder the percentage of children being diagnosed keeps on drilling upwards. Do you do poorly in tests? Can’t stay still? Have poor listening skills? Maybe as an adult, you’re less likely to agree, but as a 10-year old, those characteristics practically make up your being.
Other examinations have been designed by leading ADHD experts, but all have procured the same result. Not much can be done to stop this epidemic of misuse and misunderstanding except awareness. With more knowledge comes smarter decisions, and with smarter decisions comes a society that’s not constantly hopped up on drugs. Studies over the decades, particularly those conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, have proven no existing correlation between enhanced focus and better grades from these ADHD medications in the long run. Any and all boosts achieved were momentary, just like the high. What remained was useless chemicals in the brain and a unsated hunger in the gut.
Neo takes the red pill. He realizes that ADHD medications only work if you truly have ADHD.