View Full Version : Three weeks of Ritalin, and I don't think it's working.. (also negative side effects)

08-16-14, 10:03 AM
Hi there! Sorry for the long read but I kinda need to vent and maybe get some advice, or even just similar stories... How long until things "settle down" with Ritalin? Psyche told me at the end of week #2 to stick it out, but I'm not too sure.. (You'll see why if you read all the way down to week #3 below hah.)

I'm a 22 year old female and I was diagnosed with ADD recently. I have a history of anxiety issues on top of my ADD symptoms, which I've learned to manage pretty effectively on my own. Anyway, I started taking Ritalin three weeks ago. This is my progress so far!

First week (10mg morning, 10mg afternoon):
I noticed that it made my heart beat harder, not faster, but during that week I felt no other effects at all. Nada. I had the same horrific motivation and focus as I would normally have in an "averagely bad week", which I pinned on it actually being an averagely bad week, and also not sleeping very well.
Second week (20mg morning and 20mg afternoon):
Last week was pretty horrible. The heartbeat thing hasn't changed, still super strong for five hours after taking them.. so basically all day. I felt like I wasnt breathing as effectively, but it might have just been the heart thing making me feel that way. Sleeping pattern had returned to normal though, yay. Anxiety, nervousness, moodiness and irritability all started to get progressively worse during the week, to the point where I became somewhat antisocial. At first I thought that not feeling like talking as much at work was a GOOD sign, but I'm realising now that it wasn't so much being focused on my work as it was because I just didn't feel like socialising. I also had very little to say to people. No other positive signs. Less motivation and less focus.. I've had similar things happen before (rarely) where my mental state would plummet for a while, though I do think that this time the Ritalin is the cause.
Third week (30mg morning, 20mg afternoon):
Anxiety and nerves still getting worse. The idea of doing ANYTHING is just really hard. At work, or even at home, I can be halfway through a task and I'll freak out for some reason.. just internally.. like I'm stressed about getting interrupted and not finishing it, stressed about finishing it and having to start something new, just about everything really! I KNOW that this is because of the Ritalin, because I've never been so flaky when it comes to my anxiety before. Usually it's either an identifiable "that specific thing is making me very anxious" or a blanket background anxiety has no real source, but never makes me feel like panicking. This is absolutely a different feeling. I'm grumpy and antisocial, and I can't even think of things to talk about with the select few people I actually want to talk to. The last few days, I've actually been more scatterbrained than ever. Simple things are difficult, thoughts I'd like to remember (like writing a shopping list, for example) just slip out of my head and become irretrievable very quickly. That did happen sometimes when I wasn't medicated, again, it's a "bad day" occurance, but I'm thinking that the Ritalin isn't working at all.

Also, tonight marks the end of week #3, and it's the first time I've noticed that the effects are sticking around now for long after the dose should have worn off. Maybe it's happened in the last few days, I can't be sure, I'm usually either asleep or distracted by this point during the last week or so... I took my last 20mg over nine hours ago.. I can still feel my heartbeat in my stomach and ears, I'm still super anxious..

I should add, I have tried Dexies before. A friend gave me their dose (2 tablets, morning amd afternoon) for one day, and I got hyped but also calm. I did have more creative, streamlined thoughts, but I couldn't stop them from coming out my mouth! I was a little chatty haha. My anxiety almost completely disappeared too. She then gave me enough for a week, and during that week I figured out to keep track of how much I was babbling, and prioritise and minimalise my conversations (for the most part). I was happy and confident all week, which is an astounding achievement to me. I did tell my psyche this, but he said that Ritalin is his first choice because it's "calmer and less jazzy", he said that whilst the amount of stimulation I got from the Dexies could be reduced and gotten used to, it's not an ideal starting point. Might convince him to let me try them again...

In conclusion... I'm truly sorry for the length. I think I really did just need to get that all out, to be honest...

So, did anyone here taking Ritalin have a beginning like mine with eventual success? How long did it take? And who else has experiences with the differences between different ADD medications? Thanks in advance!

08-19-14, 09:40 AM
Hey Abyssinian...

I have been trialling Ritalin IR for about 6 weeks.

The first two weeks, starting at 10mg then 20mg twice daily, I felt very unmotivated and also experienced a subtle and persistent anxiety.

I quit for two days to normalize then restarted at 10mg four times daily with better results, relaxed, a quiet mind and no anxiety.

I believe that in the initial two weeks I was overly self analytical and completely lost any objectivity, perhaps the over analysis was contributing to feeling anxious?

As for your stronger heart beat, it should not persist for that long, perhaps your anxiety is contributing to this?

If your doc has given you permission to experiment with your dose and timing, and you feel comfortable continuing to trial Ritalin, take a day off to get back to baseline then give it another shot. Ritalin is so short acting, in my opinion it is best to take smaller doses more frequently. As for dex, I will keep my opinions to myself.

Good luck...

08-21-14, 01:40 AM
Thanks for your reply! About two days ago I decided it was too much to wait for my appointment, I called my psychiatrist and he told me to stop taking it. I'm waiting to hear back about alternatives, but he's strongly considering Dexies now.

I am glad Ritalin is working for you now! Have you had negative experiences with Dexies?

08-21-14, 06:40 AM
Hi and welcome.

It sounds like you tapered up too fast.

I agree with JohnT. 3 hourly dosing smoothens the roller coaster. Maybe 10mg/3hrs would have been better.

It can take a while to find what works best for you.

Good luck.

08-21-14, 09:38 AM
Your psyc is right Ritalin is a good place to start.
I live in Australia and my Dr started me on Dexies.
The problem is the comedown .
My doc put me on Concerta.
The long acting of these drugs is better.
We just got Vyvanse here that's the next one I want to try.
Good luck

08-21-14, 05:37 PM
Oh wow, I wish I could say one way or another that your symptoms are in line with what's expected from these drugs, but I'm still trying to find the combo that's right for me too. I just wanted to thank you for sharing in such detail what tge effects were for you. I've been woefully unable to be as succinct about my experiences as you (all my ADD stuff has been exacerbate by new motherhood, divorce, family suicide, and my own consequent depression) But what you've said here, to a "T", sounds SO familiar in the way that that those two meds affected me. So thank you, again, for sharing with us all. I'll be checking for any future posts from you with baited breath. Best of luck and keep advocating for yourself.

08-24-14, 02:44 AM
My personal opinion of dexamph is that it is superior to ritalin in every aspect.

Having said that, my experience with this medication is also of the illicit kind. My honesty about this with my psychiatrist now means that this medication is no longer an option for me, talk about shooting ones self in the foot. Such is life.

I am glad to hear that your doc is more forgiving, I am quite positive that you will find dexamph to be the superior treatment option.

Let us know how you go...