View Full Version : HELP!! SCARY side effects..hallucinations??.

02-26-10, 04:08 PM
Hi all!
My 9 yr. old son was just put on Ritilan 3 weeks ago. He was on 10mg for a week, then 15mg, then 20mg. On 15mg, he thought he heard his brother and sister laughting at bedtime. He came down from his bunk to tell them to stop and they were asleep. Obviously, he was spooked and slept with us. Everything was ok, no major changes visible at school.
Two nights ago, he heard a lot of differnt voices in various places in his room. I let him come in my room. He heard them in my room once, and fell asleep. Needlesss to say, we have stopped the meds. Has anyone ever heard of these side effects before? Any input is greatly appreciated!!

02-26-10, 09:57 PM
Magsmoll, auditory and visual side effects are listed as uncommon with Ritalin (less than 1%), but they are possible, according to the label info.

Have you called your pediatrician yet?

Sorry to hear of this; I'm sure it must have been very scary for your son...

02-26-10, 11:14 PM
I have told him and we stopped it. He said it wasn't something he has ever heard of before. I will call the pharmacy as that %1 is scary! He still doesn't believe it was the medicine. He thinks they were real. I hope, in time, the memories fade. I also hope it isn't a precursor to Bipolar. That is my biggest fear.

02-27-10, 05:58 PM
Bipolar has been my biggest fear for my 9 year old daughter as well.

Don't be too distraught just yet. Hearing things may be part of Bipolar, or it may just be that 1% mentioned, or since it happened at bedtime it may just have been the phenomenon of hearing things while drifting off to sleep that many people experience. Personally, I occasionally hear someone calling me, or the doorbell ring, or something "fall" as I'm drifting off. I have gotten out of bed to check, answered back, and sent my husband to investigate something I swore I heard! It can be very unnerving to figure out it wasn't real.

Are you familiar with signs/symptoms of Pediatric (or Early Onset) Bipolar Disorder, or is there family history of Bipolar? If you think it is a possibility it is really important to have your son assessed by someone who is knowledgeable about current research and data on Early Onset Bipolar Disorder (such as a child psychologist/psychiatrist who specializes in this area). Early Onset tends to be more complex and the prognosis is not so great if it is not identified and treated. Identifying it can be tricky as specific symptoms for kids are not officially listed in the current edition of the DSM used by doctors to make their diagnoses. This is why it is important to talk to someone who is up to date in their research and education in this area.

It is not uncommon in kids to be first diagnosed with ADHD because some symptoms do overlap and it takes a skilled person to differentiate symptoms. Sometimes ADHD is a misdiagnosis, and sometimes it ends up being a comorbid condition. In which case the treatment for Bipolar (or any other mood disorder) needs to come before treatment for ADHD.

Maybe ask the doctor to try a non-stimulant med for him instead. I would also ask to have him assessed by a psychiatrist who can either rule out bipolar, or confirm that it is a possibility. It is really important to do this as the wrong medication can make things more complicated (and scary for all of you!). You didn't mention any other symptoms that have you worried about Bipolar, and what you describe as possible auditory hallucination is not enough on it's own to worry about bipolar... there must be other factors/symptoms as well.

On a personal level, I completely feel for you. My daughter has been diagnosed with OCD so far, so we're working on that. I also know that OCD is fairly common among Bipolar kids, so Bipolar is not off our radar yet. I feel like we're heading in the right direction though.

You may have already visited these sites, but they have some good information on bipolar kids. The first has some information on differential diagnosis between ADHD and Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.

02-27-10, 10:56 PM
Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I never though the was bipolar. He has always had anxiety and separation issues. We thought they were getting better. The separation is sooooo much better. He isn't a behavior (total opposite). But I just discovered that mania can be seen as anxiety or impulsiveness, which is him. He also gets a little depressed at times, but it is always for a good reason (winter blues)...need to be moving.
We have had a whole battery of tests done on him for learning issues. He works soooo hard, has an average/above average IQ, and barely stays afloat academically. This is a great source of stress to him. It was done by a clinical psychologist. She thinks his anxiety will remit once his adhd is treated properly. His teacher has made great accomodations for him so ensure success.
We have a history of bipolar (1 diagnosis..who knows how many undiagnosed??) Both my husband and I have ADHD and have had full evaluations. It never occurred to us that he may be Bipolar until the hallucinations. My brother, who is bipolar, has hallucinations. I read that stimulants can trigger a manic state. He also has had horrific nightmares for years now, quite scary and gory.
His last hallucinations were a little more than falling asleep ones ( shhhh...he is watching you...quick, go hide) (many different voices at once) (and a girl talking in the closet in my bedroom, later on). It is the most heartbreaking thing I have gone through. I know what my brother's life is like and do not wish that on anyone, especially my son. He is a true angel.
I may call the psychologist who tested him and tell her about the hallucinations and nightmares. He already feels like he has something wrong with him from all the testing. Thank you for your response and insight. Good luck to you and your daughter.

03-01-10, 01:08 PM
Hallucinations are an indicator of Schizophrenia, not bipolar. The horrific nightmares are a symptom of bipolar I believe. Certain medications can really help with those bad dreams.

Sometimes the treatment of ADHD eliminates the anxiety, but sometimes not. Sometimes the stimulants make the anxiety worse. Sometimes the treatment of the Anxiety eliminates the ADHD. It is really hard to predict.

One protocol of treatment calls for the treatment of mood issues first, then anxiety, and only finally the treatment of ADHD/focus if necessary then.

There are other meds for the treatment of ADHD. Strattera, then things like Clonidine, Intuniv, Tenex.

03-02-10, 09:59 AM
Hallucinations *can* occur in mixed-states or in the manic portion of bipolar disorder. It doesn't always mean schizophrenia.

There's also some evidence that auditory hallucinations can occur in children with affective disorders such as anxiety and/or depression.