View Full Version : Questions about what to expect from Ritalin


BeaMags
04-29-17, 11:06 PM
Hello, thank you for this forum. I am 51, a first time college student and struggling.
One of my professors recommended I see someone because of my struggles, so Wednesday I did, and lo and behold, I was diagnosed with ADHD. While I'm relieved that there is a reason for my struggles, I was shocked.
I have questions about the medication, I was prescribed 10 mg ritalin once a day. Actually the bottle says take one-half to one tablet once daily. I took the first one the day I got them because I was at home and needed to do homework and felt it would be better to try it in a "safe" place in case I had an issue. I really did not see any difference. I was not able to focus any better than before and I had a "lurking" headache. I tried the next day at school, with the same result.

I called my doctor and was unable to reach him but I anticipate hearing back from him Monday. So the thing is, its finals week, I really need to get passing grades on all of my exams and can't seem to focus or remember anything I'm reading. Today I was home all day and tried again, I feel I was a little more successful, not necessarily because of the meds, but because I sat down and went through all of the tasks I needed to complete and listed them by priority, and stuck it to the computer in front of me. I forced myself to block everything out, headphones to block noises. I again have a headache and am feeling a bit discouraged.
Sorry for the long post, I do run on sometimes. :o

Letching Gray
04-29-17, 11:25 PM
Hello, thank you for this forum. I am 51, a first time college student and struggling.
One of my professors recommended I see someone because of my struggles, so Wednesday I did, and lo and behold, I was diagnosed with ADHD. While I'm relieved that there is a reason for my struggles, I was shocked.
I have questions about the medication, I was prescribed 10 mg ritalin once a day. Actually the bottle says take one-half to one tablet once daily. I took the first one the day I got them because I was at home and needed to do homework and felt it would be better to try it in a "safe" place in case I had an issue. I really did not see any difference. I was not able to focus any better than before and I had a "lurking" headache. I tried the next day at school, with the same result.

I called my doctor and was unable to reach him but I anticipate hearing back from him Monday. So the thing is, its finals week, I really need to get passing grades on all of my exams and can't seem to focus or remember anything I'm reading. Today I was home all day and tried again, I feel I was a little more successful, not necessarily because of the meds, but because I sat down and went through all of the tasks I needed to complete and listed them by priority, and stuck it to the computer in front of me. I forced myself to block everything out, headphones to block noises. I again have a headache and am feeling a bit discouraged.
Sorry for the long post, I do run on sometimes. :o


You said you have a question about your meds. For example?

BeaMags
04-29-17, 11:42 PM
Oh sorry, I didn't actually ask the question..
focus.. so yeah, it seems from things I have read here that its a trial and error process to get the meds right. I'm a little anxious about the uncertainty, and frustrated with how it has gone so far. I realize its only been a few days, but so far I haven't experienced anything resembling hyperfocus (I think that's how I've heard it described) Is this normal?
Is there anything specific I should ask about when I speak to the doc?
Oh, and do the dosages have anything to do with weight?
Thanks :)

lexmark10
04-30-17, 01:41 AM
Just to give you an idea how the process of finding the right medication could look like:

First appointment with doc in January 2017, tried Wellbutrin for some time, then Strattera, then adding Ritalin. At the moment finding the dosage for Ritalin. I expect to be on "final" medication at the end of May, alltogether 5 months and 8 appointments plus emails / phone talks with my doc.

Letching Gray
04-30-17, 04:16 AM
Oh sorry, I didn't actually ask the question..
focus.. so yeah, it seems from things I have read here that its a trial and error process to get the meds right. I'm a little anxious about the uncertainty, and frustrated with how it has gone so far. I realize its only been a few days, but so far I haven't experienced anything resembling hyperfocus (I think that's how I've heard it described) Is this normal?
Is there anything specific I should ask about when I speak to the doc?
Oh, and do the dosages have anything to do with weight?
Thanks :)


"Normal" is a setting on a dryer. Just foolin. Everyone's different. I was blown away on first dose of Ritalin. Others don't respond to Ritalin. Trial and error. Tell doc everything relative to your experiences. You'll be pleased. Relax and you'll see it unfold nicely.

sarahsweets
04-30-17, 06:01 AM
What do you hope the medication will do?What are your expectations?

BeaMags
04-30-17, 11:34 AM
I guess my expectations are to be able to focus when I'm doing homework or in a study group and not be distracted by any little sound or fleeting thought. I don't really have any expectations for the memory bit, just hopes that I'll be able to retain information a little better. My exam scores are really bad.

BeaMags
04-30-17, 11:38 AM
"Normal" is a setting on a dryer. Just foolin. Everyone's different. I was blown away on first dose of Ritalin. Others don't respond to Ritalin. Trial and error. Tell doc everything relative to your experiences. You'll be pleased. Relax and you'll see it unfold nicely.

Ha Ha! yeah, I guess that's right! :p

sarahsweets
04-30-17, 12:30 PM
So the thing is, its finals week, I really need to get passing grades on all of my exams and can't seem to focus or remember anything I'm reading. Today I was home all day and tried again, I feel I was a little more successful, not necessarily because of the meds, but because I sat down and went through all of the tasks I needed to complete and listed them by priority, and stuck it to the computer in front of me. I forced myself to block everything out, headphones to block noises. I again have a headache and am feeling a bit discouraged.
Sorry for the long post, I do run on sometimes. :o

Medication will not suddenly enable you to do well in school. If you are expecting that then you are looking at meds as performance enhancers rather then as treatment. Many college kids take these meds illegally to do well in school which is why they are so popular on college campuses.
Meds do not necessarily give you motivation to do specific things. You have to start them yourself and hopefully if its the right medication at the right dose, you can get down to business.
The idea of meds is to minimize the impairments that adhd has caused in all areas of your life.
I know you are not using them as a performance enhancer I was just trying to explain what I mean.

sarahsweets
04-30-17, 12:33 PM
I guess my expectations are to be able to focus when I'm doing homework or in a study group and not be distracted by any little sound or fleeting thought. I don't really have any expectations for the memory bit, just hopes that I'll be able to retain information a little better. My exam scores are really bad.

It still sounds like you are looking for meds to replace bad school habits. Yes school can be brutal to handle with adhd. But meds would be helping that part a little and all the areas of your life that are unmangageable like: distraction, anxiety, losing stuff, emotional regulation, executive function issues etc. The school part is always emphasized due to the fact that they are abused.
And I dont mean that you are being accused of "educational doping", I just mean that having expectations leads to being disspointed. ``

BeaMags
04-30-17, 01:40 PM
Medication will not suddenly enable you to do well in school. If you are expecting that then you are looking at meds as performance enhancers rather then as treatment. Many college kids take these meds illegally to do well in school which is why they are so popular on college campuses.
Meds do not necessarily give you motivation to do specific things. You have to start them yourself and hopefully if its the right medication at the right dose, you can get down to business.
The idea of meds is to minimize the impairments that adhd has caused in all areas of your life.
I know you are not using them as a performance enhancer I was just trying to explain what I mean.

Oh yes, I understand, I am not expecting some kind of miraculous change, just maybe to have some better ability to ignore distractions. I definitely have motivation, I am doing all of the things they recommend at school. I get help from the professors, I go to tutoring for every subject, and I often stay at the school to do homework so that I can ask questions when I'm in the moment. I mean, I'm aware that I procrastinate, and have to study harder and longer than most of my classmates. At first I thought it was because I was trying be a student for the first time since I graduated high school, over 30 years ago.

I have read that sometimes these medications can help you to stay focused when you need to. I already try to clear my desk and put my phone away and put my ear buds in to physically block as many distractions as possible, I guess I just had hoped that I would notice a difference when I'm working or maybe after I finish an assignment. I know that I have the ability to learn, I just haven't been able to stay focused long enough to really absorb the information being presented.
In addition to lack of focus, I have short term memory issues caused by being hypo thyroid due to having my thyroid removed a few years ago.
So while I realize no drug can fix me, I was just hoping for aid in suppressing some of the tendency to wander away from the task at hand.
I am resigned to the fact that I will have to repeat classes to get a grade higher than a D, it just takes me a couple of times through to retain enough of the material to pass the exams. So far I haven't failed any of the classes, but it is quite discouraging to never pass a test.

I don't really know what to expect, but it just seems that I am not noticing any effect at all, could it be that I'm hyper aware? I don't know, I'm just an old broad trying to follow a dream! haha!:D
sorry I rambled again.

BeaMags
04-30-17, 02:07 PM
It still sounds like you are looking for meds to replace bad school habits. Yes school can be brutal to handle with adhd. But meds would be helping that part a little and all the areas of your life that are unmangageable like: distraction, anxiety, losing stuff, emotional regulation, executive function issues etc. The school part is always emphasized due to the fact that they are abused.
And I dont mean that you are being accused of "educational doping", I just mean that having expectations leads to being disspointed. ``

Yes! School is very difficult I am fortunate that it is the only thing I have to focus on at the moment, my kids are grown up and gone and my husband is overseas, so I can just go to school and come home and do homework. I would just like to be able to focus better and get my work done a little more efficiently so I can have time for some leisure activities. I haven't done a drawing or spent time with friends or anything for months.

ToneTone
05-02-17, 11:57 AM
I echo the others ... it takes time to find the right med or med combo .. .at the right dosages ....

Call your doctor, report that you are not noticing any differences ... He'll probably increase the dose and you'll go from there.

In the meantime, as others are saying, there are a host of things that can get in the way of concentration ... Lack of sleep, chaotic eating, just having a chaotic life .... old family pain and wounds ... pursuing a path you don't really want to be on ... Habit ...

Go for walks ... get some kind of exercise in ... exercise is great for the mood and for the ADHD brain ... walks in nature also help ... and addressing any other mental health issues, like anxiety and depression, is important ... whether through meds and/or really good therapy.

You're at the very very start of the process.

Good luck ... I know you want the help as tests are coming along ... But unfortunately it usually takes longer to find the right med and dose ...

Tone