ADHD careers

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sam handwich

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Nov 30, 2008
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I am so thankful to have found such a useful forum!

I am nearing the end of my undergraduate years and am a very successful student. I have excellent grades and experiences with TA'ing, RA'ing, community field work, etc. But now that it is time to submit applications for graduate schools, i am realizing i have little idea of what i want to do with my life.
For the past three years of school, i have been set on clinical psychology, but am discovering that I am very much like the fictional tv icon, Dr. Gregory House; I am excited by solving puzzles but dont care much for treating the patients themselves.

I have terrible ADHD; am highly impulsive and therefore, afraid to jump into a program for fear that i might not enjoy doing it later on.
I was considering a doctorate degree, but likewise, i might not even be interested in that type of work in 10 years from now! A career in research also doesnt appeal to me, being that i cant sit still for very long without medication. School has been challenging enough for me, despite that I am one of the top students at my university. I am unsure if intense doctorate study and buckets of adderall for the next several years is worth the outcome.

I have considered fields like I/O psychology and school psychology due to the job security and short-term education programs they provide. I can see myself doing this work, but again... for how long until i decide i am bored with it (constantly needing novelty and stimulation is a huge problem for ADHD folks like me... the reason i do well in school is because i am constantly learning novel things and am therefore stimulated, but am afraid what will happen to me after school is all over)?

It seems that the best careers for ADHD people, such as involving alot of physical activity (some of the happiest jobs i have had are dishwashing and waiting tables at restaurants), are ones that dont pay well.

Any input is appreciated. I realize that there is no clear-cut answer to this problem. One of my big dilemmas right now is whether to take medication for the rest of my life or not. It works very well, but it also dulls my personality. I am spunky and hyper, I enjoy it and so do others (though i also tend to annoy the crap out of others from time to time); should i sacrifice my unique and valued personality in exchange for productivity?


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Apr 14, 2008
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I will leave my personal bias about medication out of the conversation (I've had adhd since they called it hyperactivity due to food allergies) but you really need to choose what's going to be best for you... no one can advise you on that b/c we don't know that...

if you are a person who freaks out about money... then choose the good paying job

if you are aperson who freaks out if you are unhappy... choose the happy times job...

we all have similar choices to make... trust me, you aren't in that boat alone...

in the end, it's just something that will develop as you mature... and you being to prioritize your needs

good luck


AttemptedAdmission to PhD
10+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2008
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You do not have to stick to adderall...you can try out different medications....

For some reason, I was never put through adderall..... I am currently not aware of the exact effects that ritalin has versus adderall so hear me out but take the advice with a grain of salt ...

I've been through ritalin, concerta, and now I am finally settled on Strattera.

All three made a difference in my life, but strattera made the greatest difference as I do not have a crash effect which I was having with the ritalin and the concerta.

It's assisted me tremendously in concentrating on various things in my life....and I was headed for a PhD in clinical psychology but didn't make it...and now I am glad I didn't because I discovered social work.

I find that the variety in social work available to me better suits my adhd self by giving me various things to juggle and work on.
----end of 1 spiel-----

If you like solving a puzzle, then think about research as a big puzzle....or a LONG puzzle.... - that's what I have realized over time...and yes I do find it hard to sit for long periods of time as well..but somehow the mental stimulation and the feeling of accomplishment after completing a good bit of intellectual work feels good....but it is undoubtedly questionable for adhd folks...
-----end of 2nd spiel------

I hope that helps...... Oh and most of the time - in the end - you do NOT know if things work out for you unless you try them...

just remember that if you're going into research, do some research before going into it and equip yourself with tools like software or efficient research skills that result in you being smart at it...and do not engage in time wasting practices....


Neuropsych Ninja
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Oct 7, 2006
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Meds vary for each person, so it is important to speak with your prescriber about what is best for you because s/he can better address your needs.

As for managing the workload and etc....it definitely can be a challenge for anyone, so it is important to understand how you can best equip yourself to handle these things. Basic time management and organizational skills are vital for grad. school.