Monday, September 07, 2009

Attention Everyone!


In yesterday's New York Times Magazine, Walter Kirn wrote about his own personal, and highly ambivalent relationship with Adderall, a medication he used to help him focus his attention. It wasn't clear from the article if Mr. Kirn actually had Attention Deficit Disorder, if he was simply struggling with a difficult time, or if he wanted an edge.

In A Phamocological Education, Kirn writes:

Adderall, I discovered during the courtship phase of what became our deeply tortured relationship, offers a kind of assistance to the brain that feels just right, at first, for the age of multitasking. The drug might as well have been invented by Microsoft and embedded in the Windows toolbar. It seemed to allow me to do three things at once and not completely fail at two of them. Far more important, however, it helped me do one thing at once and focus on it. If I was toiling at my computer, it sharpened the clicking sensations of the keyboard while lowering the volume of the phone whose ringing might have broken my work trance. It also, for me at least, suppressed emotion, freeing me from the claims of other people (my children primarily, because I work at home) who wanted a piece of my precious, deskbound time.


SteveBMD said...

Dinah, I sincerely hope you're not implicitly endorsing the use of Adderall for someone "struggling with a difficult time" or "wanting an edge." That's what turns normal people into slaves to medications or, worse, into addicts.

Dinah said...

stevebMD: I was just repeating what the article said/implied. There was no endorsement of such prescribing practices.

Sunny CA said...

I just read the article and it seemed pretty clear that the author took Adderall to increase work productivity and that many other students are doing this as well.

ItsTheWooo said...

That description sounds like me by nature. Deep trance when focused. Little emotions/interest in other things. No stimulants required. My attention span is freakish.

Depending on baseline mood, I may or may not be able to multitask and do several things at once with proficiency. This has more to do with energy and mood than it does focus, IMO. Stimulants may help productivity not because of increased focus, but because of increased mood/energy and less sleep. When energy + mood is high, things are much easier and you can get a lot done.