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Could my son have ADD?

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My son is an 18 year old freshman in college. I am wondering what the symptoms are of adult ADD. He is very bright and never really had to study until his last year of high school. At this point, he complained often about the inability to sit down, study and focus on the task at hand. He fidgets, contantly. At the dinner table he would shake his leg. Now that he is in college, he said he finds it very difficult if not impossible to study. This morning, he took a friend’s Adderol (which I advised him not to do again) and he claimed that it “worked wonders”. Is this medication immediate or was it all in his head? Also, he said that since he has been in school, he has been unable to fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. I asked him if it could be depression. He claims no, he’s fine. Does this sound like it could be ADD?

Could my son have ADD?

Answered by on -


It’s not impossible but it would be unusual for someone to develop ADD for the first time at age 18. It is true that he could feel the effect of Adderol the first time he took it. That doesn’t mean he has ADD. Adderol can make anyone feel more focussed. Another possibility is an anxiety disorder. Something shifted in your son’s senior year that made him less certain of being able to get by without studying. Maybe the courses got tougher or the competition got keener. Certainly, when he got to college, he found himself competing with other kids like himself who did well in school. For many kids, college is the first time they can’t easily be on top. In addition, he now has developed a sleep disturbance. This can become a vicious cycle. He doesn’t sleep because he is anxious and he may be getting more and more anxious because he can’t sleep. Please take him to see a psychiatrist for a thorough evaluation to determine what is going on and how best to help. Your son told you about self-medicating and how much he is suffering because he wants some help.
I wish him well.
Dr. Marie

Could my son have ADD?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Could my son have ADD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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