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Posted by Rick de la Bretonne on October 26, 2000 at 13:55:33:

In Reply to: 23-year-old police officer with ADD...affecting work...please help!!! posted by Jacqueline on October 25, 2000 at 17:45:49:

: Hi,

: I have been a police officer for two years, and I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 14. I stopped taking Ritalin when I was 19.

: But more and more I feel it is affeting my job, and I am afraid it is going to result on myself or a fellow officer being injured. Sometimes I get bored during what should be a high intensity situation, or I act impulsively. I am VERY concerned.

: I do not want to go back on Ritalin. I feel it helps me, but I can only imagine the bad press if anyone where to find out. Plus, none of my superiors (or anyone else on the force, for that matter) know about my condition.

: I am writing because just the other day, during a high risk vehicle stop, my job was to watch the driver's side of the vehicle while holding up my long gun, sitting in the dirver's seat of my squad car. If I saw any weapon whatsoever, I was supposed to yell, "GUN!!!"

: Well, the suspect emerged, and I was off in never-never land. He had a gun in the waistline of his pants, which I never saw. I feel horrible. Someone could have been killed. On account of me.

: Please respond.

: Jackie

: Hey, I've been in law enforcement, so I know the "stigma" attached to the ADD, drug therapy thing.
The bottom line is this; do you want to be able to perform you job in a safe manner? If you answer yes (I think you will), then you need to realize that,
barring illegal actions, you must do what it takes to help yourself. If the Ritalin helped you, why did you stop taking it? Your supervisor DOES NOT NEED TO KNOW YOUR CONDITION.
If you are really running into documented work related problems, then you must tell the supervisor. Otherwise it is none of their business. DO NOT GO TO A POLICE PHYSICIAN. In many cases they are compelled
to tell the department if something may be determined, by the shrink, to be a "danger" to you or other officers. ADD is not a "disorder" it is only a different way of thinking!! You don't "have" ADD,
you "are" ADD. Your brain is just wired differently. Believe it or not you have a HUGE advantage, in
law enforcement, by being ADD, compared to others who do not have it. You are literally able to focus on many different things at once. E.g. listen to radio traffic on your car radio, listen to your portable, and write a report all at the same time.
Go to see a physician that you trust with your life, and have them prescribe the Ritalin for some other reason than ADD. Youa really need to do something about your attention level right away,though. On a high risk top you can not afford to break your concentraion, even for a little while! :)
I am goint to investigate a new Ritalin called CONCERTA. It is supposed to get rid of the "ups and downs" of regular Ritalin.
Oh, as a final thought, I know the "cop mentality", and you should be extremely careful who you talk with about being ADD. People do not understand, and therefore become threatened when faced with someone who is "different" in their eyes.
Chances are you are a good cop. Use the ADD wiring to your advantage. You can literally see things others do not.

Good luck.

Rick de la Bretonne
[email protected]

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