Drawing on interview data, this article examines how college students experience "the medicated self" in the context of ADD/ADHD. We find that many ADHDdiagnosed students taking psychostimulants are ambivalent users, who actively construct how they are shaped by the behavioral effects of medicine. Pharmaceutical enhancement may be perceived by students as necessary in the context of a competitive academic ethic. In this context something akin to Annette Lareau’s concept of concerted cultivation can thrive, as students themselves practice what we call concerted medicalization in an attempt to literally embody the academic ideal. However, while medicine may enable students to manage academic performance and take control of "disordered bodies", many remain uneasy about the extent to which they feel controlled by a drug. In the context of medical ambivalence, ADHD students engage in reflexive identity management and strategic pharmaceutical use to achieve some semblance of self control and self preservation during their college years. As their college education comes to a close, many prepare to return to what they construct as their "authentic", non-medicated selves as they enter the work world.
Keywords: ADHD, identity, medicine, academic ethic, college students.