Albert Einstein had problems in school.
He had a strange way of learning and most of his teachers labeled him mentally impaired. However, he continued to introduce some of the most profound physical and mathematical breakthroughs in the history of science. Einstein was no dummy, and it was not his or his teacher’s fault that he did not adhere well to the mandated curriculum in grade school. He was simply operating at a different level. Einstein, despite his genius, was probably not the only one to harbor this affliction.
“Hyperactivity, impulsiveness and an inability to maintain focus” are some of the most predominant symptoms of ADD, according to www.About.com. Another Web site, www.ADD.org, claims “5 to10 percent of children and 3 to 6 percent of adults” are affected by ADD or ADHD and represent a rational and legitimate psychological disorder.
It seems as if someone only needs to tell a doctor about focusing troubles, and they will likely score a prescription for Adderall, which is essentially speed.
The mother character from the film Requiem for a Dream is prescribed diet pills for a TV game show appearance. She abuses the drug and eventually enters a state of psychosis, which is a genuine side effect observed in amphetamines.
Obetrol, the most prevalent diet pill since the 1960s, has similar ingredients to Adderall. The “miracle” diet pill was a synthesis of two amphetamine salts that increase the heart rate, which boosts alertness and dramatically decreases appetite.
The drugs in Obetrol have been marketed under aliases like Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Metadate, Focaline and the new Strattera in 2002, according to www.ADDhelp.com. The name changes, but the drug does not. Perhaps the reason is the medical community who pushes Adderall use as a cash cow to exploit a very natural trait in humans.
Laurie Fluker, associate professor in the School of Journalism, said in my Introduction to Mass Communications class last year that the average human receives at least 5,000 advertising messages per day. It is no wonder we may find it hard to concentrate. It seems we are prey to the manipulations of pharmaceutical companies’ attempts to sell a drug, and this one is no hard sell. It makes people feel good and helps get that ‘A’ in organic chemistry.
Realistically, even if ADD is a real affliction, it only affects 3 to 6 percent of adults. The rest of us are just having trouble concentrating on schoolwork that gives us no motivation to be interested.
I wonder what would have happened if Einstein would have taken Adderall. He might have paid more attention in school and, distracted by the little buzz, ignored what he really wanted to focus on. He might not have introduced the theory of relativity. It is food for thought. We should not let pharmaceutical companies trick us into poisoning our bodies so they can make a quick buck.
Garret McSpadden is a pre-geography sophomore.