Self diagnosis is bad. I think pretty much every person I know would say they had ADD if asked. Some people "treat’ it with caffeine. I have no idea if it actually helps, but then they claim they need some minimum amount every morning to not suffer from ADD and at the same time take extra caffeine throughout the day when they crave it. They behave as if they have medically prescribed themselves caffeine supplements (coffee, energy drinks, candy, supplements, etc.) one hour (it’s a very important ritual) and then casually drink coffee in the middle of the day like any other coffee drinker. That seems like addictive behavior. It is as if they are validating another behavior by diagnosing themselves with a medical condition.
It’s not a personal fault. People just seem very anxious about such things and over react. Culture normalizes some behaviors that drive addiction (caffeine consumption, “social” networking, internet browsing) so that people don’t see them as even requiring moderation (" says it’s harmless, so it still should be harmless if not helpful in larger quantities") and warps a person’s personal expectations. Besides that, people feel really insecure because they never really see how other people struggle to conform to unnatural systems and social norms.
Doodling is not a bad thing. A lot of people do better in school if they doodle while taking notes. It helps them focus and makes it easier to remember things. It probably applies to other situations. (But if you do it on the job, someone might assume you are unprofessional, unless you hide it with mathematical equations, block diagrams, pseudocode, or other forms of glorified doodling they teach you in college.) Keep in mind that long lectures are a bad way to learn for every person, but it’s normalized because its customary and cuts costs by allowing extremely high student/teacher ratios. No one has the attention span for more than 20-30 minutes of lectures, but it’s forced on them anyway.
From a programmer’s perspective, reading documentation is something that should be minimized. If I had to spend 7 minutes looking for the information I needed it would drive me crazy and really hurt my productivity. Sometimes it will take you that long, but it’s bad documentation. It’s not the readers fault. (At least Java is 1000% better than most languages in terms of being productive with third party code.)
Communicating with humanoids is something all programmers are bad at. I think it will continue to get harder each year for the entire population thanks to commercial electronic communications. I think people predisposed to that problem have it even worse than past generations of nerds.
So, in summary, don’t use Ritalin, caffeine, or anything else you might convince yourself you need in order to cope. It helps to identify real problems (plural) ahead of time so you don’t get scared into convincing yourself you need to change yourself entirely and so you know whether something is actually helpful or harmful. – I am not particularly against medication as a form of treatment, but I do think you should see an expert for advice. You must be careful not to convince yourself ahead of time that you need something because even experts might be eager to sell you something. Even if they don’t do it consciously, doctors have the same troubles other people do and are lobbied by friendly drug company representatives.