View Full Version : Side effects of Ritalin

10-06-14, 05:16 PM
It has been a long time since I have visited the forum but something new happened in my life 2 weeks ago.

After 6 long months, different appointments to see a psychologist, 2 psychiatrists and a blood test (resulting in a fainting), I was diagnosed officially as : "having a severe deficit of attention and a minor hyperactivity". Now, the doctor wants me to take some Ritalin in order to make it better and to ease my life. So for the moment, I am thinking about it because I feel it could be a huge decision. So here, I would like you to tell me about the physical and mental side effects of the Ritalin.

Did it work for you or not?

I am putting a lot of hope on this treatment as my life is a bit messy.

10-06-14, 11:47 PM
For the first 5 years I had lots of benefits and very few side effects. For me, the benefits started on day 1. I felt clear minded and focused like I never had before and the racing thoughts were nearly gone.
Benefits (positive side effects) included the following:
* Attention
* More organized thinking
* Improved ability to get started on and do boring tasks
* Mental clarity
* Less racing thoughts
* Significant improvement in internal distractibility (without meds I get internally distracted every few seconds or so)
* Ability to perform complex cognitive tasks without getting lost and confused half way through
* Ability to read more than a paragraph and retain most of the information without skipping around too much or having to re-read everything 10 times
* Having an easier time getting up early in the morning (the meds would wake less sleepy)
* Better ability to plan

Negative side effects for the first 5 years or so:
* I would feel this strange rush for a split second when the medication would kick in (mainly on Ritalin LA 30mg).
* The feeling that I was on medication (which I don't get on Dex).
* Mild depression for an hour or so when my Ritalin LA 30mg would wear off. This can be avoided by taking Ritalin 10mg right before the Ritalin LA 30mg starts wearing off.

Negative side effects after the first 5 years (possibly caused due to my recent medical problems and the way they interact with Ritalin):
* Racing heart (some days), mainly after eating while on meds
* Stomach upset (taking my meds with food often helped)
* PVCs and PACs (I would usually get them a few hours after the medication would wear off or late at night)
* Inability to exercise on meds (I was able to walk but I couldn't run)

Hope this helps.

10-07-14, 08:35 PM
I was on ritalin for about a year and a half and I had ups and downs on it.

- Organized thinking
- Hyperactivity is gone
- Can focus
-Moods leveled
- Can complete thoughts
- Can read material without getting frustrated halfway through
- No frustration from difficult tasks
- bye bye to being fidgety and constantly needing to move
- If you're the type to get irritated when too much is going on at once, Ritalin gets rid of that.
- It calmed my more violent tendencies
- Impulsivity is gone
- I become more social on Ritalin
- My PMS symptoms vastly improve

-Once it wears off...irritability
-After awhile, instead of simply not working, it'll cloud your brain even more (Like your brain has more fur on it or something)
-Mild Fatigue...which is a plus for putting you to sleep at it can also be a pro.
-If I eat something with it, I get a stronger heartbeat (sometimes)
- Twitches, Tics, and jitters are worsened.
-Got anxiety? Ritalin will make it a lot worse when it wears off.
-Nausea, but eat a slice of bread and you'll be fine.
-I can exercise on it just fine. I can ride my bike, run, and briskly walk while on it...BUT when I do, nausea will increase
-Hot flashes....Wanna know what menopause feels like? Ritalin will give you some intense hot flashes.

All in all...Ritalin is an OKAY medication. It is cheap and it'll get the job done. I wouldn't recommend it if you have anxiety or depression. A lot of the Cons can be fixed if you simply add a little magnesium, Omega fatty acids, or B-Complex to your diet and drink plenty of water (for the hot flashes).....The side effects that I experience are mild with the exception of the neurological issues and the hot flashes. Those side effects are moderate for me. They are tolerable. Not to mention that a lot of these Cons were happening while I was on the Corepharma brand of Ritalin. On Watson Labs and Sandoz, you can eliminate all of those side effects except for the hot flashes. Again, that's an easy fix. The only thing that I simply could NOT fix was the cloudy brain. I think it's time for me to either up my dose...or switch back to either Strattera or Adderall.

In my opinion, I believe that Adderall is the better medication. On that I barely had any side effects except for the tremors, which I easily fixed by taking magnesium. Not saying that Ritalin doesn't work. It does, believe me, I just had a less messy time on Adderall than Ritalin. I do recommend trying more than one medication to see what works for you and pay close attention to which brands work well with your system. Certain brands, like Mallinkrodt (again in my opinion), won't fair too well with your brain/body, as opposed to others.

10-07-14, 11:40 PM
What dosage are you on? Sometimes the dosage whether high or small matters significantly.

When it boiled down to Adderall vs. Ritalin....Ritalin greatly potentiated my anxiety and heart rate compared to Adderall.

Also, are you considering IR (instant release) or XR (extended release)?

10-08-14, 04:25 AM
Ritalin gave me very bad mood swings. Amphetamines work better for me.

10-08-14, 08:58 AM
I took Ritalin and it felt like a sugar pill, did absolutely nothing so I quit it and switched meds.

10-09-14, 05:23 AM
It worked well when the dose and timing was right. Otherwise it can be a rollercoaster.

I worry a bit about the heart risks, but they haven't been shown to be significant at theraputic doses.

12-31-14, 10:07 PM
Long term it can cause brain atrophy. Don't start it at a young age.

01-01-15, 04:39 PM
Who says this? Any sources?

01-01-15, 06:02 PM
Studies seem to show that on average ADHD people have smaller brains than control groups. However that is not what the studies are looking for in their studies. In many studies with ADHD vs Non-ADHD the medication intake of participants is not taken into account. So results are skewed. Here is a study that found ADHD people to have smaller brains, on average, and most of the ADHD participants were on some kind of medication for ADHD at some point in their lives.

"In his textbook, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Russell Barkley, an advocate for the use of methylphenidate in the treatment of ADHD, notes that there is little improvement in academic performance with the short-term use of psychostimulant medication. Barkley also acknowledges that the stimulant medications can affect growth hormone but at present there is not any knowledge of the long-term effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary growth hormones. Barkley (1995, pg. 122) also states, at present there are no lab tests or measures that are of value in making a diagnosis of ADHD

"Dr. Sidney Walker, III, (1998, pg. 25) a late board-certified neuropsychiatrist comments that a large number of children do not respond to Ritalin treatment, or they respond by becoming sick, depressed, or worse. Some children actually become psychotic�Ehe fact that many hyperactive children respond to Ritalin by becoming calmer doesn't mean that the drug is treating a disease. Most people respond to cocaine by becoming more alert and focused, but that doesn't mean they are suffering from a disease treated by cocaine.�EIt is interesting to note Walker's analogy of Ritalin to cocaine. Volkow and his colleagues (1997) observed in their study, �EMP (methylphenidate, like cocaine, increases synaptic dopamine by inhibiting dopamine reuptake, it has equivalent reinforcing effects to those of cocaine, and its intravenous administration produces a high�Esimilar to that of cocaine.�E Walker (1998, pg. 14-15) that in addition to emotional struggles of children leading to ADHD-like behavior, that high lead levels, high mercury levels, anemia, manganese toxicity, B-vitamin deficiencies, hyperthyroidism, Tourette's syndrome, temporal lobe seizures, fluctuating blood sugar levels, cardiac conditions, and illicit drug use would all produce behaviors that could appear as what would be considered ADHD�Ehowever Walker feels that these issues are most often overlooked and the person is considered to be ADHD. F. Xavier Castellanos states at the 1998 Consensus Conference that those children with ADHD had smaller brain size than those of children who were considered to be normal. However, Castellanos reported as well that 93% of those children considered ADHD in the study were being treated long term with psychostimulants and stated that the issue of brain atrophy could be related to the use of psychopharmacological agents. Dr. Henry Nasrallah from Ohio State University (1986) found that atrophy occurred in about half of the 24 young adults diagnosed with ADHD since childhood that participated in his study. All of these individuals had been treated with stimulants as children and Nasrallah and colleagues concludes that cortical atrophy may be a long term adverse effect of this treatment.�E Physician Warren Weinberg and colleagues stated, a large number of biologic studies have been undertaken to characterize ADHD as a disease entity, but results have been inconsistent and not reproducible because the symptoms of ADHD are merely the symptoms of a variety of disorders.�EThe Food and Drug Administration has noted (Walker, 1998, pg. 27) that ee acknowledge that as of yet no distinct pathophysiology (for ADHD) has been delineated.�E "

What sucks is brain atrophy in areas that stimulants effect will likely cause symptoms of ADHD in the user of said stimulants. Therefore the user ends up self fulfilling a diagnosis (adhd) that seems to be based around medications instead of medications based around a defined disorder.

01-17-15, 03:04 PM
After a long time, thanks for answering me! I will finally know what my mother feels since she is in the menopause era... :lol:

However, I don't have a choice in medication. Ritalin is the only one authorised in France. I have my prescription on monday and I am really impatient. Can't wait anymore to feel better!