View Full Version : Effectiveness of Ritalin inconsistent


addn00b
05-20-16, 12:22 PM
Hi!

I've been browsing around this forum for quite a while now but, since I couldn't find the answer to my current issue, I finally bothered to create an account. I was diagnosed with ADHD (I don't actually know what type to be exact, my psychiatrist wasn't really specific but based on my symptoms I think I am a little hyperactive but mostly inattentive) late last year. Upon diagnosis I was prescribed a small dosage of Ritalin (starting with 5mg and increasing gradually until I "reached" a dosage I felt was right for me). As I am a student and I don't really have any other responsibilities - I live at home and do not work - my main issues with my ADHD are basically concentrating on my uni work. Since I was diagnosed during my finals exams, I was only able to "test" the effectiveness of Ritalin for a short period last year. After exams I did not test the medication as I felt it unnecessary as my symptoms are not really that much of a drawback outside of school.

At the beginning of this year, however, I moved to Europe to study abroad for a semester. I had an appointment with my psychiatrist beforehand, where I mentioned any side effects I got from the medication and gave my initial impressions on the medication. Initially, it was great. It took about a week to figure out that 5mg was much too low a dosage as it simply put me to sleep and did nothing to help with concentration. 10mg was great. In fact, I recall being really excited during my last exam - not because I thought I was doing well at all, but because I could actually see what was being asked, if that makes sense. Where usually my mind is all foggy and I'm thinking about a million random things at once while trying to describe what the mitochondria of the cell is, being on 10mg of Ritalin was nice and quiet. So I simply assumed that Ritalin would always work the same way and didn't bother to test it out any further.

Now being here in Europe it's quite difficult to get in touch with my psychiatrist to discuss anything. My main issues are as stated in the title of this thread: Ritalin doesn't always seem to be effective. Sometimes it's great, other times it's like I haven't taken anything at all. I know that some foods/drinks reduce the effects of Ritalin or whatever but even when I avoid caffeine and junk food, etc. and get a good nights sleep, I don't always feel it working. It's quite frustrating really because right now for instance I should be reading the two articles my supervisor sent me so that I could finally plan my masters project...

I am meeting with my psychiatrist the week after I'm home (in less than a month) and I was wondering if I should ask for different medication or if maybe there is some other reason the pills don't work consistently?

Sorry if this is all jumbled up, my thoughts aren't really lining up correctly right now (I'm usually able to make more sense when I'm on Ritalin but today's one of those not-so-effective days).

Any input will be appreciated! Thanks!

sarahsweets
05-20-16, 02:07 PM
Hi!

I've been browsing around this forum for quite a while now but, since I couldn't find the answer to my current issue, I finally bothered to create an account. I was diagnosed with ADHD (I don't actually know what type to be exact, my psychiatrist wasn't really specific but based on my symptoms I think I am a little hyperactive but mostly inattentive) late last year. Upon diagnosis I was prescribed a small dosage of Ritalin (starting with 5mg and increasing gradually until I "reached" a dosage I felt was right for me). As I am a student and I don't really have any other responsibilities - I live at home and do not work - my main issues with my ADHD are basically concentrating on my uni work. Since I was diagnosed during my finals exams, I was only able to "test" the effectiveness of Ritalin for a short period last year. After exams I did not test the medication as I felt it unnecessary as my symptoms are not really that much of a drawback outside of school.

No offense but do you really have adhd? I only ask because impairments MUST be beyond typical school and work.

So I simply assumed that Ritalin would always work the same way and didn't bother to test it out any further.
Which is why I am such a hard as* about consistent medication and treatment.

I don't always feel it working. It's quite frustrating really because right now for instance I should be reading the two articles my supervisor sent me so that I could finally plan my masters project...

See thats an issue. You shouldnt feel it in order to tell if its working. A lot of people get confused with this. But at the same time, for me, ritalin caused extreme mood swings so you could need a different med.

addn00b
05-21-16, 03:49 AM
Hi! Thank you for the response :)

Yes, I do have adhd. I do have issues outside of school/work but I worry mostly about my uni work (so I've pretty much decided to ignore my other problems).

Sorry, poor choice of words. I wasn't exactly thinking clearly yesterday but what I meant was that I don't feel its effectiveness. As in, when it works I am able to easily concentrate on work and other side-effects that are almost always present include excessive sweating and a dry mouth. Whereas when it doesn't work I can't focus at all and I don't feel any of the side-effects. I hope that makes sense.

What kind of mood swings did you get? I sometimes feel a little overly anxious/sad when the medication isn't "working" effectively (i.e. when it's not helping me concentrate). Is this similar to what you felt on ritalin?

sarahsweets
05-22-16, 05:46 AM
What kind of mood swings did you get? I sometimes feel a little overly anxious/sad when the medication isn't "working" effectively (i.e. when it's not helping me concentrate). Is this similar to what you felt on ritalin?

ok that makes sense now. I have never been someone who has the 'crash' that people talk about when stimulants wear off but with ritalin I would get sad and tearful, cry easily, agitated, etc. Even when I took my first dose, I would get a huge surge in mood, in a manic kind of way and then deteriorate the rest of the day. All it seemed to do was give me physical drive to get off my as* and start working on something but because of the mood issues, the minute something didnt go smoothly or perfect it was like my life was ruined. One thing to note is, when I took ritalin it was years ago. I have bipolar and for me, bipolar and any type of methylphenidate is a bad combo. Also I was still in the early stages of active, untreated alcoholism so maybe that had something to do with it.

Ive heard from many people that have bipolar or other mood issues that ritalin made them feel the same way I did and for me amphetamines have always been the best choice.

Question
06-01-16, 09:52 PM
If you are studying overseas, you should still be able to see a psychatrist there (helps if you can get a email or something from your current one as documentation). Universities sometimes have psychatrists that you can see at a on campus clinic as well (although theres typically a waiting list of several months before you can get an appointment).