"I've always felt that ADHD was a silly diagnosis with no basis in medical fact, myself..."
I hate to single you out, Merry, but you now sound like my mother.
It has her belief that ADD/ADHD wasn't an actual "thing". That it was just kids whose parents didn't care enough to make sure they were controlled or disciplined properly. She pretty much thought that the fix for it was a good smack in the face.
And that's how she dealt with me as a kid. In first through fourth grade, I was the only kid on a behavioral system. I had paperclips--if I was bad/had an outburst/spoke...etc, I would lose a paperclip from a ring of like 5.
At the end of the day, I had to count my total--and that number went to my Mom.
You can guess that if anything happened during the school day, and that number was less than, say, 5, I would get in trouble--whatever that ended up being. I was under 5 fairly often.
It isn't a great thing to grow up constantly being yelled at/hit/punished...whatever...for something you really can't control.
Fourth grade, I switched into a private school where I was the "loser"--to a group of kids who had known each other since BIRTH, basically--and had no room for someone like me (someone who read Dilbert, Foxtrot, Lord of the Rings, who did well in Math...etc). So I couldn't really socialize in class--so I was saved from getting into trouble with that--but I used to blatantly read other books in classes. That is to say, during Social Studies or English, I'd have an extra book on my desk and I'd be reading that instead.
I'd do well on the assignments and tests because I didn't have a life outside of video games and part-time sports (I lived a town a good 15-30 minutes from my school and therefore the kids in it. I also lived in a kidless neighborhood (always have, in fact--even when we moved--no kids around me). My social life has sucked for a good majority of my life), but I didn't pay attention to the teachers and I surprisingly rarely (if at all) got in trouble for any of this.
In High School---a social environment, I suffered. Constant detentions for talking in class...etc. It got pretty bad. Freshman year was really terrible for me.
Sophomore year was when I joined Track--and that's where things got better for me.
I found an outlet for all my energy--a couple miles at first--around eight-ten come Junior/Senior year. Spending two hours a day after running really wasted all my extra energy and gave me an incredible focus. I did exceptionally well grade-wise following this.
Then I get to college. A college built into the side of what's essentially a mountain--nothing but hills--incredibly hard to run on.
I pick a Chemistry Major. I'm also Pre-Med. I have no time. There is only schoolwork.
This leads to problems.
I can't run. I can't waste my energy. I've got so much of it...
It finally got to the point where people were noticing how bad I was at trying to concentrate on things. I should've noticed it sooner--but it really did take someone saying, "Dude--are you okay? You're tweaking out. Do you have ADD or something?" for me to be concerned about it.
After that, a friend of mine /blackmailed/ me (with her class notes) to talk to someone on campus. From there I was referred off-campus. And here I am.
My last semester was the toughest--but I managed to do better than I had previously (it wasn't my BEST semester, but it was my second-best. That's GOOD, considering the course-load I was taking and the stress that came with it)...so it means that what I'm doing now is definitely helping.
So to say that "there's no medical basis"...I'd disagree with this. There's something to it. There definitely is.
As someone who wants to be a doctor, I doubt the "no medical basis" thing. As someone who has encountered kids and adults, treated and not treated, with with the same quirks and behaviors I have--there is basis enough for me. I've seen it in my family (my Uncle--even my Mom), destructive and untreated.
I've got a long road ahead of me and this was the first step in helping me make sure I stay on it.
Getting the doses and medications right--well--that's the forest I've got to get out of first. That's where I'm at now. Somewhere in Mirkwood, trying to get towards the Loney Mountain.