What bad things have you read or heard about Ritalin (methylphenidate)?
Many of us with ADD or ADHD function much better with help from Ritalin. It helps us focus, which is a primary issue. It also helps with motivation and with getting started. It doesn’t work for everyone.
The net is full of horror stories about Ritalin, but these are anecdotes and pronouncements, not good scientific studies. Ritalin is not really dangerous. It should be used with some caution with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or substance abuse, but still can be tried. It is not addictive. It can be abused, most often by young people, but the rate of abuse doesn’t seem high, and it is not often abused by those who actually have ADD or ADHD, although there is a problem with younger patients sharing or selling it. However, and this just in, Anon informs me that Ritalin abuse is rampant on college campuses, and I have no reason to doubt that; it is concerning.
Ritalin, like all medications (and like water, for example) can have side effects. These are not serious in the sense of harmful, and generally are managed by changing the form of the medicine, the timing of taking it, taking it with food, and/or reducing the dose. Some people however cannot tolerate it and then it needs to be discontinued (and the side effects will go away).
Probably some of the horror stories contain some element of truth; most any medication will cause some weird effect in someone, but it appears that often it was just assumed that some problem was caused by Ritalin when it is unlikely.
Ritalin does not turn people into ‘zombies’ nor stifle creativity – the opposite in fact. (One of the anti sites asks what would have happened to Einstein if he had been medicated? – I suspect he would have been even more productive, if in fact he had ADD or ADHD.)
As for children ( not my field), probably there are children placed on medication when it is not appropriate, and more who need it and are not getting it.
Do you know of other issues about Ritalin that I didn’t address here?
oh yes, and the brand name is obscenely expensive, but not the generic (methylphenidate).
clik myths re adhd
clik does ADD exist? good discussion