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Ritalin (methylphenidate)

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  #1  
Old 09-13-04, 11:53 AM
Kostics Kostics is offline
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Tom Wolfe on Ritalin?!

Yes! (on the subject,that is).

This must belong here somewhere, I thought, but I didn't know where. So I started a new thread:

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"..all across America we have the spectacle of an entire generation of little boys, by the tens of thousands, being dosed up on ADD's magic bullet of choice, Ritalin, the CIBA-Geneva Corporation's brand name for the stimulant methylphenidate. I first encountered Ritalin in 1966 when I was in San Francisco doing research for a book on the psychedelic or hippie movement. A certain species of the genus hippie was known as the Speed Freak, and a certain strain of Speed Freak was known as the Ritalin Head. The Ritalin Heads loved Ritalin. You'd see them in the throes of absolute Ritalin raptures...Not a wiggle, not a peep...They would sit engrossed in anything at all...a manhole cover, their own palm wrinkles...indefinitely...through shoulda-been mealtime after mealtime...through raging insomnias...Pure methyl-phenidate nirvana...From 1990 to 1995, CIBA-Geneva's sales of Ritalin rose 600 percent; and not because of the appetites of subsets of the species Speed Freak in San Francisco, either. It was because an entire generation of American boys, from the best private schools of the Northeast to the worst sludge-trap public schools of Los Angeles and San Diego, was now strung out on methylphenidate, diligently doled out to them every day by their connection, the school nurse. America is a wonderful country! I mean it! No honest writer would challenge that statement! The human comedy never runs out of material! It never lets you down!" (from Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died[/i] by Tom Wolfe 2002)
I showed this once to a woman who indignantly objected when I used the "S" word in referring to the drug. ("Ritalin is NOT 'speed'!")

k
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Old 09-19-04, 09:08 PM
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Tom Wolfe doesn't impress me. His observation of people 'on' Ritalin seems to be inaccurate - what he describes as 'Ritalin Heads' sounds more like people on acid unless the composition of the drug has changed much since 1966. Personally, I have never experienced a high while on methyl-phenidate or on Ritalin and I have yet to hear of anyone who does. Wolfe and many others who never experienced Ritalin, assume it works like speed.
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Old 09-20-04, 01:45 AM
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Tom should stick to spy thrillers - he seems to know about that, anyway.
And Ritalin is not "speed" - which is a commonly used name for methamphetamine (not the phamacuetical variety - the "clandestine lab" variety)
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Old 09-27-04, 01:58 PM
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There's a difference between people who take a drug recreationally and those who take it in a controlled manner. Some people just don't understand that.
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Old 09-27-04, 05:15 PM
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I read The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test in which he wrote about Ken Kesey and the LSD scene in SF. I remember him talking about Ritalin in the book. In 35 years he still has a weird sort of outsider's insider tone to everything he does. He's entertaining as a stylist, but he has the old-fashioned attitude about drugs, and uses what are actually very narrow observations to express even more narrow-minded opinions. He hangs out with Ken Kesey and his followers, for example, and sees a bunch of them taking Ritalin recreationally, therefore, anyone who takes Ritalin is doing it recreationally and getting high, even today. He can't fathom the idea that maybe people have mental problems that are actually improved by this drug in the correct doses. He comes to the subject with his opinion already preconceived, his comments prepackaged.

Cops are infamous for specious reasoning of this sort, though less articulate. They will say anyone using amphetamine will turn into a speed freak, because that is their experience in the street. But they arrest only those whose behavior is obviously "out there." The vast majority of those who experiment or party or "use as prescribed" if they are ADD, they never meet. So what is the value of that opinion?

The same as Mr. Wolfe's opinion. Wolfe is selling himself. Cops want to keep the fear factor high. The rest of us need to keep an eye on them.
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Old 09-28-04, 02:27 AM
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Yeah that seems a rather sensationalist depiction but I disagree that ritalin is different from "speed". It is pretty much the same thing. The effects on a hippy are similar to those on a straight-laced ADHD sufferer. The difference is that at high doses, it turns your brain to mush & produces more "high" than benefit but the abuser does enjoy the same benefit & properly prescribed patients do often feel some euphoria at least initially. I don't believe anyone who says they never felt high on ritalin. If they are serious, they must not know what it's like to be high or are just seeing the same thing from a different perspective. Again I'll emphasize that below a certain dose, the effects are beneficial and above that dose, they cause "cognitive impairment" but still, the essential effects are similar: euphoria, increased sense of pleasure & mental stimulation. Those are all things that LSD does also so it's not so far fetched to compare.
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Old 09-28-04, 08:06 PM
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I agree. I've tried them all and while there are differences, among the meds available Ritalin is not that different from any of the others. Almost all medications have some value to somebody if the condition and the dosage match up. The mentality that sometimes gets momentum here is when the specter of drug abuse causes the baby to be thrown out with the bath water.
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Old 09-28-04, 10:13 PM
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To the best of my recollection what Wolfe said in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was that "…it was well known that you could trip on the right combination of Ritalin and grass…" or words very similar to that.

Shortly after becoming aware of the book the government reclassified Ritalin, moving it to the same federal drug list as narcotics. That's why we can't get a refillable Ritalin prescription. Thanks a lot, Tom Wolfe.

Wolfe's take on the subject was limited to that, back when the book was published. His memory seems to have deteriorated quite a bit between the seventies and 2002, judging by the quote in the original post.

I guess that answers the question we all had when we originally read Acid Test. It seems he did inhale…
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Old 07-29-09, 10:05 AM
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Re: Tom Wolfe on Ritalin?!

whatever
I have never stared at a manhole cover....
Call it what you will, I call it a tool to help me navigate through the fog...
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Old 07-29-09, 04:40 PM
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Re: Tom Wolfe on Ritalin?!

well it never fails,

when will anybody learn that those with adhd take the med for total different reason. Pediatricians and school teachers of all ages know the difference between those with and those without adhd. Its not even close and it is a very real developmental neurological disorder. The fact that these guys are speaking of ritalin in terms not applicable to adhd is fine, sometimes your dose can be wrong even with adhd , but honestly it's nothing like the post describes here and I'll tell you why... Well it's because we have adhd , the med is a necessity otherwise alot would end up in prison or doing risky things that land you in places where the mind can only think of.
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Old 07-29-09, 06:42 PM
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Re: Tom Wolfe on Ritalin?!

For many of us, we use it -- at therapeutic doses -- to avoid stepping into open manholes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickster View Post
whatever
I have never stared at a manhole cover....
Call it what you will, I call it a tool to help me navigate through the fog...
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Old 07-31-09, 09:43 AM
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Re: Tom Wolfe on Ritalin?!

The difference is clear. "Speed" to a adhd person works the opposite. "Speed" to a person without adhd keeps them going for days. So the need for the meds is so obvious once it is started. I hate all the talk in the press about this subject.....it is clear they know nothing.
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Old 08-03-09, 09:23 AM
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Re: Tom Wolfe on Ritalin?!

That is sensationalist drivel, unworthy of your attention. The man is a paperback writer, speaking off the cuff, in order to entertain, not to inform. His opinion is inexpert. Medical science catagorically supports the use of stimulants for ADD treatment.
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