I am an ADD adult. My experience with Ritalin has always been a positive one.
My current situation is I am not on Ritalin or its equivalent, methylphenidate due to income and lack of health insurance, however I do believe that if the doctor has diagnosed your child correctly, then it is totally worth it.
I have been on and off Ritalin for 16 years, most “kids” outgrow the need for the medication (which there are other alternatives in the prescription end) but then there are some people like myself that will require it for the rest of my life. They call me an ADDult. It’s not a problem with me, I am totally functional, but with my meds I accomplish so much more than without…aka, doing nothing to being a normal contributing human.
If Ritalin or other similar medication significantly alters your child’s personality, then this is not the medication for your child, and the possibility should spark that your child is not ADD/ADHD. In that case, serious testing with a psychiatrist is in order. Adderall is the other medication that may be better for your child if the diagnosis is correct. In either case, a true ADD/ADHD diagnosis with the medications, your child should never “feel different” however the life effects are tremendous after about 4-8 weeks. Again I stress, you child should not feel different.
Ritalin may interfere with appetite, but in a true diagnosis should actually help your child sleep better. I have always been a night owl, but when I am on my meds, I tend to regulate my sleep patterns more to those around me and my schedule.
If one misses a dose, one will feel a little sluggish, at least from my experience, and usually with ADD/ADHD patients need more reminders with when to take the medication, the nature of ADD/ADHD. However, you shouldn’t fear a withdrawl, one tends to revert back to the same attitude, for lack of a better term, as before but there are no side effects that are significant with missing a dose. If there is, Ritalin isn’t the answer. Since I am ADD (no hyperactivity) I tend to be more mellow. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible. All psychoactive medications are this way…I hate that word, psychoactive, because it’s not a psycho thing…
When I am on my medication, I take it 2 times per day, once around 8:00 in the morning and again around 2:00. For me personally since I am a night owl, I don’t need to have it later, but they do state that one should not take it after 6:00 pm at night.
I have to mention that with ADD, those around them need to understand that the drugs that are taken are not a total cure-all. There are so many things that need to be taken into consideration with an ADD/ADHD person that will affect most if not all in the household. I highly recommend “Driven to Distraction” by Dr. Hallowell. He wrote this book with another doctor, he is ADD and writes this not only for parents but for adults with ADD/ADHD. He explains the ADD/ADHD person in great detail and how to cope with things even after meds are introduced.
As you can tell I am totally passionate about my ADD diagnosis. I have many reasons including, I realize why I turned to self destructive behavior in my life. In my younger days, ADD/ADHD was not well known and I was always considered a loser, lazy, smart but can’t seem to get her life together, dadada. Once I learned about my ADD, I realized why I have an IQ of 135 and ended up getting my GED. Why I am such a computer nerd and never had any formal training. A lot of WHYs where answered.
I hope that I have helped one person learn more about ADD and ADHD…we are slightly different, but without the correct medications it really can screw up one’s life.
Peace – techchick68
BTW, Rysdad, if you would like, I can email you more about my circumstances and why I am so passionate about my diagnosis…mostly because had they caught this early in my childhood, God only knows who or where I would be…but I suspect much better a person than I am at 31.