View Full Version : Ritalin 'rational' advice


Pixelatedmind
01-14-16, 05:51 PM
Long story short, I feel like Ritalin is doing nothing for me. I started with 5mg for 2 days then 10mg daily last month and now I'm 20mg and 10mg 4 hours later. My problem is that, I'm not sure. The same way I've always been uncertain about many things.

So taking a rational look at things, I would like to lay my issue here:


I may feel less restless and more calm and irritated by my clothes, but I am not sure.
I may feel more focused and less distracted, but I am not sure.

I am not sure because maybe I had higher expectations, and maybe because my performance and energy/attention is always inconsistent and fluctuating already.


I could be more focused and motivated in the morning, or late at night, with fluctuations during the day, or some days off and some days on (without medication)
I could be more focused and motivated doing fun or new things (without medication)

High Expectations I had that are rational


Should feel calmer, move less, restlessness and irritation fades away
Be less impulsive, more rational and think before acting or reacting
Brain fog goes away, be able to focus and sustain attention on one thing at a time
Ability to switch my focus smoothly between things at my command
Be able to say no to myself, have control and focus on what's important

Less rational expectations?


I would clearly feel the Ritalin kick in
Sharp, laser focused
Feeling natural calm, self-confidence and well-being.
Tightly controlled impulses, maybe a zombie like state
I would feel the Ritalin come down
possible crash/fatigue/fog comes back

How do I compare my state on the medication, and the state when they wear of, with my natural states?
I take the Ritalin in the morning, and if it wears off 3-4 hours later before I got much done, how do I differ that from a natural morning buzz?

I have decided to stop reading online, building expectations and making comparisons, will just focus on myself and follow with my doctor until I get a hang of this.
But does anyone has good advice/experience to share with me?


Thanks :)

dvdnvwls
01-14-16, 06:02 PM
One thing you can do is ask someone who you trust, what kind of changes they've noticed in you lately. Don't push them, don't ask them if your meds are working, just ask them if they notice any differences. If they say "No, not really", then that's part of your answer. But only a part of it. Or whatever else they may say - it's all part of the data for your study.

Your study's hypothesis is "Ritalin helps with my ADHD symptoms". The purpose of your study is "OK, prove it".

If, let's say for an imaginary exercise, your study came to the conclusion that Ritalin helped you a tiny bit at work but not very much, and you also noticed that Ritalin was costing you a lot of money, then you'd say "Hmmm, I wonder if it's worth it".

Just look at the truth of your own situation back then and now, like a set of "before and after" pictures. Don't worry too much about what was supposed to happen.

Pixelatedmind
01-14-16, 06:26 PM
One thing you can do is ask someone who you trust, what kind of changes they've noticed in you lately. Don't push them, don't ask them if your meds are working, just ask them if they notice any differences. If they say "No, not really", then that's part of your answer. But only a part of it. Or whatever else they may say - it's all part of the data for your study.

Your study's hypothesis is "Ritalin helps with my ADHD symptoms". The purpose of your study is "OK, prove it".

If, let's say for an imaginary exercise, your study came to the conclusion that Ritalin helped you a tiny bit at work but not very much, and you also noticed that Ritalin was costing you a lot of money, then you'd say "Hmmm, I wonder if it's worth it".

Just look at the truth of your own situation back then and now, like a set of "before and after" pictures. Don't worry too much about what was supposed to happen.

Fair enough, but should I base such study on results/improvements in work/life/school in general on a slightly longer timeline, rather than an immediate symptom specific approach?

You can read things like,
Once you try the right medication, it's like glasses on your brain.
Taking ADHD medication (like Ritalin) is an immediate life lifting experience.
It's like shutting all the open windows on your mind... etc

These gives you high expectations that you stop and seek nothing but this relief. I'm not sure if the majority experiences this, but it could be quiet deceiving giving that not all people are the same.

Thank you dvdnvwls.

dvdnvwls
01-14-16, 06:45 PM
Fair enough, but should I base such study on results/improvements in work/life/school in general on a slightly longer timeline, rather than an immediate symptom specific approach?

You can read things like,
Once you try the right medication, it's like glasses on your brain.
Taking ADHD medication (like Ritalin) is an immediate life lifting experience.
It's like shutting all the open windows on your mind... etc

These gives you high expectations that you stop and seek nothing but this relief. I'm not sure if the majority experiences this, but it could be quiet deceiving giving that not all people are the same.

Thank you dvdnvwls.
You are right.

It takes time to get the dosage right. In fact, it takes time to find out if you're even taking the right drug. It takes a lot of time to develop new habits. If you have "dug yourself a hole" in terms of how your life is going, it can take significant work and time to get turned around.

So you have to look not only for great results, but also for things that seem to be a good sign, flashes of new capability even if they aren't long-lasting, and so on.

To put it bluntly, there is guessing involved. It isn't dramatic for everyone. In those people for whom the dramatic "A-Ha!" moment never comes, then laying out the benefits on one side, and the costs (not just money, but side effects etc too) on the other side, is a useful exercise. But for that you need data, and collecting data takes time.

Lunacie
01-14-16, 06:54 PM
I knew the Omega 3 was helping me quite a bit, but when I ran out and didn't get more right away I was shocked at how foggy I was.

If you take a med break for a few days you may notice how much the meds have been helping you.

dvdnvwls
01-14-16, 06:59 PM
One problem I've had in the past is that I can lack the self-awareness to notice certain symptoms getting better or worse, or perhaps lack the awareness to attribute things to medication because I thought a symptom reduction or a side effect "just kind of happened for no reason". That's why I suggested asking others.

Pixelatedmind
01-14-16, 07:18 PM
But for that you need data, and collecting data takes time.

You make a great point, but one of my biggest struggles, which I think is symptomatic of many people here with ADHD, is working with anything slightly long term. Maybe I don't lack the intelligence, but I lack the patience and persistence, I just to conclusions and get frustrated. I know it's wrong but I can't help it.

You might not be surprised to know that today was the first day I take 20mg and tomorrow I should take 30mg, and I pushed the doctor to up my dosage from 10mg x2 to 20mg + 10mg.

If I were ever able to stick, observe and be patient. I'd say the drug is actually working.

I knew the Omega 3 was helping me quite a bit, but when I ran out and didn't get more right away I was shocked at how foggy I was.

If you take a med break for a few days you may notice how much the meds have been helping you.

If I had something lasting more than the IR, I would say I would experiment with medicated me and non-medicated me. But to me they are the same so far. Maybe I should do it on alternating weeks?

One problem I've had in the past is that I can lack the self-awareness to notice certain symptoms getting better or worse, or perhaps lack the awareness to attribute things to medication because I thought a symptom reduction or a side effect "just kind of happened for no reason". That's why I suggested asking others.

Exactly! I have the same problem (even with any non-hardcore substance I have consumed) and that's what I told my doctor when she asked me to update her on the effects of Ritalin, It's hard for me to tell. If I'm not having and intense experience, I would never know which is which.

dvdnvwls
01-14-16, 07:28 PM
Pixelatedmind, I think you are on the right track and that maybe the best thing you can do for yourself that you aren't already doing is to take detailed notes, and to repeat to yourself "It takes time". :)

Pixelatedmind
01-14-16, 07:31 PM
I also want to add, that I even questioned my diagnosis before this, although I was 80% confident with my condition even before the official diagnosis.

When I brought this to the psychiatrist, she assured me to be confident about the diagnosis, that she bases her diagnosis on her work and not on my conclusions, they would get people claiming to have ADHD or misleading themselves. That still didn't comfort me because I've been seeking "immediate relief"

No one I know was surprised or opposed to the diagnosis. Clearly my ADHD is as clear as the sun, but my response to medication is not, or to be more rational it's just my impatience. which is frustrating for someone who's easily frustrated.

dvdnvwls
01-14-16, 07:41 PM
There is a possibility that this medication might not be the perfect one for you. But you have to give it a fair chance, which is to say you have to let the doctor mess with your dosage multiple times until she is frustrated.

Pixelatedmind
01-14-16, 08:10 PM
That I will do, thank you :)

Pixelatedmind
01-15-16, 08:33 PM
Is it possible for a 10mg redose, 4 hours after a 20mg dose, to feel more potent while the first 20mg didn't do much? That was unexpected.

Also, is it common to feel more calm and rested than focused?

dvdnvwls
01-16-16, 01:16 AM
Is it possible for a 10mg redose, 4 hours after a 20mg dose, to feel more potent while the first 20mg didn't do much?
Yes. Even if you felt nothing, some of the first dose was still in your body, to be added to the second dose.