Real Life Battle With ADHD
By Kelly Lafarga
He is often known as the life of the party. His quick wit and sarcastic humor is what makes him magnetic and is what he’s best known for. He’s charming, loving, and always in a good mood. Jamie Cohen is all of these things and more. What people tend to not know about Jamie is his battle with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
Cohen, a 20 year-old student at Marymount Manhattan College, was diagnosed with ADHD only two years ago. This disorder is believed to be an imbalance or impairment of neurotransmitters, which sends messages to and from brain cells. It indicates that he has a lot of trouble focusing on things and also has hyperactive tendencies. It is a very serious disorder and not many people understand the weight of it. Cohen has trouble in school when it comes to completing work due to his inability to focus on one thing for too long.
“Sometimes I just feel like giving up,” Cohen says. “My problem could be solved if I took medication, but I don’t. There are way too many risky side effects that I’m not willing to deal with.” Because he chooses not to take the medication, he struggles constantly with trying to keep up in school. “I don’t go around telling everyone my disorder so they don’t understand. Even when I do tell them they sometimes think I’m just making excuses,” Cohen says.
There is a solution for students with ADHD and other disorders and that is to enroll as a special needs student, which requires a test. The problem is Cohen was diagnosed long after he began studying at Marymount. He figured he would just continue with the way things were going. He is treated the same as any other student and expected to do the same amount of work in the same amount of time. This could seem awfully unfair due to his condition.
Other than these obvious work-related issues, there are many other insecurities that Cohen deals with daily. “Having ADHD makes me think almost obsessively of what I’m going to say, especially in a classroom. Sometimes I stutter because of it,” he says. This is just one more challenge that Cohen has to handle.
There are ways other than medication that can help this disorder. “Right now I’m in cognitive therapy to change my behavior and study patterns,” Cohen says. This can help him learn to get over the obstacles that come along with having ADHD. It’s not something that cures it, but it helps. “I’m concentrated on a direct path to changing these patterns so that one day I can live normally just like everyone else,” he says.
There is so much more to Cohen than meets the eye. Always a smile on his face, one would never presume that he battles with such a serious disorder.