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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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new medication
children of dune - leto 1
So question for the day. I was going to restrict this to my flist, but I'm not sure how many are on this, so.

I started Ritalin yesterday. So far, it's actually a lot less stressful than ephedrine and I'm not irritable or jumpy like I worried I'd be. And I do feel more energized adn more able to focus. But Im not sure I'm seeing a real change in concentration yet.

I'm also aware placebo effect is in force here, so I'm trying to be objective and track what's actually happening as opposed to what I really want to happen. I'm 20 MG twice a day.

So. Share? Please?

I'm not on Ritalin anymore, but when I was on it, it worked really well for me; my GPA skyrocketed and I was actually capable of paying attention to one thing for more than a moment or two at a time. The extended release version didn't really work as well for me, though.

Should it be an immediate thing or should I be waiting for build up? The only real side effect I'm feeling so far is a general raise in mood--less. Hmm. Like I'm overwhelmed. I'm trying to track if I'm actually feeling more focused, and I think so, but I'm also thinking it might be too soon to tell.

Thank you, btw, for dropping by!

I don't know about Ritalin, but a lot of mood altering meds you'll get the side effects right away but it may take a week or so to get the effects you're actually taking the meds to produce.

I was thikning that too. the only real side effect I've noticed is a--not euphoria, exactly, but feeling less overwhelmed and more positive.

I knew people who used to use it like they would speed because for people who aren't ADD it's a serious upper. (God, what does that say about the people I was friends with *facepalm*) So I'm not surprised you're feeling an energy boost. *G*

Also, I personally react very well and very quickly to anti-depressants because I don't take a whole lot of drugs in general, so you may genuinely be feeling the effects, for some people various medications just work really well and really quickly.

I don't have any experience in how it's supposed to work in adults though. :(

I had friends in college who sold their ritalin on weekends. *shakes head*

I was worried actually it would make me all--er. Overstimulated. So it was a pleasant surprise I wasn't like, peeling myself off hte ceiling or something.

I don't take Ritalin, but I do have some experience with swapping around slow-onset meds.

It's quite possible that the ephedrine had a potentially positive effect, that was being masked by its negative effects. And now the Ritalin is carrying forward the positive effect, and counter-acting the ephedrine's negative effect.

When I took ephedrine, the thing that always scared me was it *felt* like an upper--it improved my concentratoin and work somewhat, but it also was very jittery and fragile feeling, and led to a lot of irritabilty. So far, Ritalin is defintiely not doing that part, which is a huge relief.

I've seen people take their ridalin and within 20 minutes see the affect. So in that case it CAN be pretty direct, but he had been on it for a while, but it was a 'voluntary' dosage, i.e. for school and little else.

So-- it might be possible to feel something right away.

I was wondering if there was some kind fo build up at first or if it was instant-work.

Thank you.

Also, seriosuly, that icon is freaking me out. In a good way!

You don't know me; I'm a lurker who has been enjoying your writing for some time, but I had to jump in here.

I've been on various stimulants on and off for 8 years, since I was diagnosed with ADHD at 18. I'm also currently working as a pharmacy tech (I assist the pharmacist). So this is personal experience and a bit more.

Ritalin and dexedrine (and the other stimulants) aren't like the other mood altering meds like SSRIs. They don't take weeks or even days to work: they take effect immediately and wear off just as fast. I've noticed some decrease in effectiveness with long term use, actually, like I build up a tolerance, so I don't take my pills on the weekends. The only time I ever got jumpy because of the meds was the day I had just increased my dose and doubled my coffee that morning - my whole body shook for a little while. Also, if your doctor didn't warn you: stimulants can increase heartrate and blood pressure and cause other heart problems. If you feel your heart racing, take your blood pressure and if it's up, talk to your doctor. My mother (who was diagnosed right after I was) ended up in the hospital briefly.

When I was first taking Ritalin I lost a ton of weight (so much that my doctor took me off it) but did better in school than ever before in my life. I don't always notice that I'm more focused, but the people around me would sometimes ask if I'd forgotten my meds and I'd realize that I had. As for mood alteration, I seem to become much more serious, less cheerful, less jokey. But not depressed or anything - just sober. But that doesn't last beyond the meds wearing off.

The thing I'm most grateful to stimulants for is curbing my impulsiveness. Without, I'm extremely talkative and constantly embarrassed by what I just said (which leads to neurotic tendencies). With, I take the couple of seconds to evaluate if I really want to say that, if it's appropriate, all that stuff. It lets me get along a lot better with my co-workers.

Well, that was long-winded. Did it help? Is there anything else you want to know?

No, awesome, thanks for dropping in!

Hmm. So far, there haven't been any problems with heart rate--i was kind of worried about that after reading up on the websites. I'm really not sure about focus and concentration--i feel clearer, but I'm worried I'm reacting to the fact I'm on this than actual effects.

And this helped a *lot*. Marking now for re-reading as I continue my adventures. *g* Thank you very, very much.

I took Ritalin as a kid, and while I didn't notice a difference, my parents and teachers noticed a *huge* difference in my concentration. Perhaps you could ask someone you trust to evaluate your concentration level for the next few weeks?

that would probably be the most practical thing. I may ask a coworker to evaluate me, now that I think bout it--he's close by and can check.

I've been taking Ritalin on and off for the last 14 years (I was diagnosed at 13), I got out of the habit of taking it recently and I can tell that I haven't been taking it. Everyone can tell when I take my meds, I'm much less tangental and easier to follow. I can tell my meds kick in because my brain doesn't feel as jumbled, murkey and overwhelmed by everything. At this point I don't know if I notice them kicking in because of a major change or if I notice them kicking in because I've been on the stuff for a while now.

I've also had the appetite loss effect, the weight loss effect and the sleep problem. I try to avoid taking it later in the day because it does make me less able to sleep.

Thank you so much.

I'm seriously marking this entry to read back later as I get more used to this.

Which is an extended release version of methy-whatever, same as Ritalin, works as fast as the pill coating breaks down. My version has a coating designed to put 36mg into my system within 20 minutes, by which time the slower disolving layers keep 36mg in there for an eight to 10 hour period.

The extended release protocol was to start at 18mg and increase by 18mg until one reaches the desired level of effectiveness.

Desired level of effectiveness, of course, varies wildly. I can tell you this: medication helped me with the ability to maintain focus only. It did not help me like the things I needed to focus on any better than when Not Liking equaled Instant Distraction.
end aside

I went from 18mg to 36mg after six months, not realizing that there's more to dealing with ADD than the ability to focus. The canaries in my coal mine are two: am I keeping my apartment clean, and am I getting to work on time? There was the initial honeymoon period where everything seems to be sharper, easier to finish, etc., followed by a slow returning to old ways. I noticed a slight improvement going from 18 to 36, so, after a year and promotion to a new job, figure the next bump to 54mg could only be better! whee!

Short version: Oh, hell no.

Longer version: At 54mg of Concerta, there was no appreciable improvement in my attention span, focus, or motivation (for want of a better word.) There were, suddenly, side effects, though I did not recognize it fully until I stepped back down to 36mg. The most noticeable side effect was an alarming increase in heartrate and facial flush whenever I got upset, which at my new job, was quite a frequent occurence. In hindsight, having read up on Concerta, I realize I was also suffering from anxiety and growing paranoia. It's a chicken/egg thing, because it turned out people in that group were talking about me behind my back, but would they have been had I not been feeling the effects?

I stepped back to 36mg at the same time I started taking 10mg per day of generic Prozac (side effect of the job was a two week period during which I always wanted to cry, and would do so at the drop of a hat. Again, chicken/egg. The job was a very bad situation for me, but would it have been that bad without the extra kick?)

I will never know if the subsequent improvement in my outlook resulted from reduction of my Concerta dosage, addition of a small amount of anti-depressant, or leaving those back-stabbing bastards to swim in their own cesspool or some combination of the above.

What I do know is that for me, there is some synergystic thing going on between the 36mg of Concerta and 10mg of generic Prozac that works better than 36mg of Concerta alone. For the eight to 10 hours the Concerta is effective, I can focus on the things I need to and suffer fools, um...if not gladly, then without gnawing off random limbs. In other words, the Prozac seems to give my motivation to do the things I can now focus on a little nudge to the better.

Where the rubber meets the road for me in identifying the placebo effect is the strong encouragement of my co-workers to refill when they find out I've let the prescription lapse (takes them about two days to notice,) and my overall productivity when comparing medicated days with days at Club Med-Free, as I like to call it.

Shortest answer: Even with extended release medication, I experience a "clearing of the fog" (everything sort of sharpened up) within about half an hour of taking my very first Concerta capsule. This is a fast acting drug. That you can't tell a difference could mean (1) you do not yet realize what the difference for you is going to be or (2) this may not be the ADD med for you.

They don't all work for everyone. Reading some ADD newsgroups, I now realize that I was staggeringly, gob-smackingly lucky that the first one I tried did anything at all with no side effects until I jacked up the dose too much.

I've never been on anything but extended release, but from what I've read? Beware the mid-day crash that comes when your first dose wears off.

*hugs* Thanks for the personal expereince.

I'm thinking of trying to track what's going on with me to see if I notice any patterns like that. So far, honestly, I don't feel any side effects at all except that initial bit of euphoria.

(Deleted comment)
Ooh, that is a good idea, the questionairre. *g* My doctor is always getting frustrated with me because I'm always like "Okay, I think, but this could be my imagination,,,," Or "I'm not sure if I really feel this way becaues it's been a bad week...."

He's just started at me and kind of tried not to go crazy.

Thanks so much for the personal experiences. I'm going to mark this entry so I can read it later as I get used to this stuff.

Hmmm. Side note here, I've never been on Ritalin, or taken it recreationally. I know Jenn is completely uninterested in pot, but I've spoken to a couple people on this, and if you're on Ritalin, DO NOT use pot. It apparently does really bad things to heartrate.

I've known at least a couple people who take Ritalin only at work, or only at school. The effects are fast, and when it wears off, it's off (though I've sometimes wondered if there's a "crash" effect). People do develop tolerances, however, which is something to keep in mind.

I did notice a definite crash--not horrific, but noticeable.

And yeah, I'm scared to take *antyhing* with this. I've even stopped my vitamins until I've been taking this at least a week so I know exactly how I'm supposed to feel on it.

I couldn't speak for Ritalin, since I'm on Adderall (40mg/day) but the energy and focus come first, and the concentration comes when you actually ... buckle down and do something. The trick is in doing the right thing; I've concentrated on color-coding my calendar for the next six months instead of, you know, writing papers.

*facepalm* You know I'll be reorganzing my del.icio.us stuff, don't you?

Oh God. *giggles*

It's been years since I've been on it, but I remember it helping. The problem is that any medication is just a tool to push you in the right direction. My problem was that I didn't get diagnosed with ADD until I was 17 or 18. By then, I had learned all sorts of bad behaviors regarding my work ethic. So yes, it helped, but it didn't solve my problems. I often wonder if I would benefit from it now, but as I am trying to get pregnant, I'll have to wait. Also, it took a little while before my doctor and I settled on the right dose. If it doesn't seem to be doing anything, you may need a higher dose.

I only got diagnosed in the last couple weeks, and I've been trying to keep track of my bio-feedback, too. My doctor actually told me to experiment with the Ritalin dosage and scheduling, to see what worked for me. It might be that you need more--or even less than what you're taking now.

The thing I didn't like about Ritalin was that I did get tired once it wore off in about 2-3 hours--I crashed hard a few times--and then being in a coma for twenty minutes until it kicked in again is. Not cool. I'm trying Adderall now, which is working much more smoothly--I can tell when it wears off, but it's more of a mental awareness (a re-fuzziness?). Adderall lasts a lot longer for me: 5 mg will do me when I needed 10-15 for the same effect. And I'm surprised by how normal I feel--clear, alert, no cobwebs. I do have to keep myself hydrated, though--it's a liquid sucker.

I'm assuming you're taking time-release, which I never took, but I've taken most of the ADD meds except Strattera and Concerta (including old school things like Cylert), and I can tell you that the first time I took 5mg of non-time-release Ritalin I felt fairly euphoric... not too wired, but a little, but that effect quickly wore off after the first couple of doses. Like all amphetamines it is an upper and definitely always had an antidepressant effect on me as well, but it wasn't like suddenly my concentration was normal--and even if it had been I wouldn't have had any frame of reference for that because I had never experienced "normal" concentration in my life. (Even now, with drugs, I can still only approximate it sometimes).

Which brings me to the thing I think a lot of people don't get about ADD and ADHD--it isn't just about the inability to focus, but the inability to selectively control attention with the same ease non-ADD people can. Far from having no ability to focus, a lot of ADD people can hyperfocus; not everyone with ADD can do this, but it's common. (By hyperfocus, I mean sitting at the computer reading or writing fic--just to pick a relevant example *g*--or playing videogames or whatever for hours and the house could be burning down and you'd be like, "I just need to finish this bit"... which also answers the frequently asked question, but if you have ADD how come you can concentrate so intensely on stuff you're interested in?)

It's like there's an on switch and an off switch for concentration and nothing in the middle, so if ON=hyperfocused and OFF=complete inability to focus, the middle state or "normal" concentration may initially feel like you're not really that focused... because to you, all concentration has ever felt like is hyperfocus. Does that make sense? So when you say you feel more able to focus now, I actually read that as the drugs working. It may just take you a little while to get used to.

I'm on the short one? Plain Ritalin.

I *can* feel a difference when it ends, though I'm not sure--hmm. Kind of a downward feeling and eerything gets a little more confused.