Ritalin How safe
My son has
problems with focusing on doing anything, and I am sad
to say, is last in class academically. He also has
problems getting along with people. He is 14. He is very
self conscious and does not know how to start a
conversation. We are worried. We have heard of Ritalin
but are not sure if it is safe. We read somewhere that
it may impede growth and physical development (height).
We think that perhaps with a better focus on things, his
academic results will improve and along with that, his
self confidence and ability to relate to people. Any
suggestion will be good.
He is good at
painting. He swims and plays basketball but does not
excel at it though. He goes to painting lessons every
week. We encourage him because that is his interest, but
at the same time, we wondered how he could make a living
from it some day. He has one or two good friends and
they get along well, though they are not going to the
same school. I feel that those who know about his
academic performance somehow kept a distance from him.
That's the way things are.
He recently came
back from his 3-day graduation trip and was in tears
when we picked him up. He said that he had been going
solo those three days because his classmates didn't want
him to be a part of their group. It was painful to hear
that. Incidentally, my daughter is having the same
problems academically and relationship wise. But she is
on the other end... talking incessantly and sometimes
off topic. I am beginning to feel that this is a curse
of some sort.
Don't put your
kid on any drugs, can lead to bad health problems and
other problems down the road. We over medicate way too
much. People don't realize it. Do the best for your
child, no drugs. If he needs to be on drugs, it is very
harmful long term, or may be, to keep him off.
My cousin is now
36. Many years ago, he was on Ritalin from 1st thru 6th
grades and then he went off from 7th grade through
junior year. He kept up grade-wise in 7th and 8th but
then by the time he was a frosh everything blew up and
he got in trouble with the law. His mother got
remarried, and that can be a tough thing for kids now,
and this was in 1988 or 1989.
He was put back
on for senior year, too late to help his grades. He is
smart but by that time his attitude was "out to lunch."
He has been in and out of dead end jobs and he has done
some minor time. He is married and divorced twice and
has three kids. He is not a bad person at all. Very
passive and will not get in a fist fight. It is just
that he has self-medicated so much with mary jane that
he is either stoned or wishing he was. He really loves
his kids, and he wants to get it together. It has just
been so hard. I think he needs rehab.
Ritalin is not
the only option today. There are several drugs including
one that it not a stimulant. But you need a diagnosis
from a child psychiatrist- you should not just go to a
GP and ask for ritalin. If you are against drugs period
you can try Faingold diet, yoga, tai chi, mixed martial
arts, art therapy, music therapy, talk therapy.
Is he good at
anything, like guitar or painting? You may wish to
encourage this. Is there someone he likes and can trust,
like a pastor or a coach? Someone who is not a teacher?
Maybe this person can help.
14 is kind of
late. I think intervention is better much younger. But
people with worse problems than this have turned things
around. I wouldn't put him on medicine. Almost all
medicine has side effects, and some can be very
There may be
alternatives to medicine, maybe therapy or something.
You should talk to someone about other options. Medicine
should be a last resort, and far to many people put
children on medicine that could be helped without it and
without the dangerousness. I agree that we over-medicate
today. Popping a pill may be easier but not always best.
I urge you to seek professional help for your son -
start with the family doctor.
Alright so im
17. freshman year i believe it was i started Ritalin i
moved up to Adderal because it wasn't strong enough for
me but it definitely helps.....it will help your son be
more social, confident, and better academically, he will
most likely be motivated and interested in things but
the negative effects are he may have a lose of appetite,
and he may also lose sleep. but other that that the
(common) short term effects are not to serious but long
term effects may be worse....if i where you i would
consider starting your son on it and just watch him and
see how he does if he has any side effects or anything i
would take him off of it immediately and try to find
another alternative. Ritalin has a safer record than
asprin. I have been on stimulant medication for 16 years
and these people don't know what they are talking about.
they are scare mongering. There is nothing wrong with
popping a pill to make life livable. A 1999 adhd study
showed that stimulant medication was the ONLY thing that
had any impact on the adhd symptoms. Unmedicated adhd
can turn dangerous for your child an increase in drug
abuse has been reported in untreated adhd along with
higher school dropout rates and higher unemployment.
Firstly it is
true that Ritalin (methylphenidate) can reduce his
growth but IF it happens it is only temporary. It has
been proven than even if there is a slump in growth he
WILL catch up and will grow to his full size (even if he
would continue to take the medication). So that is not a
long-term concern and most people grow perfectly
normally but if they don't they will end up exactly as
recommend you get an appointment with a psychiatrist,
ideally a child/adolescent psychiatrist. Also sometimes
doctors may recommend vast amounts of testing (and
typically it costs a small fortune). If that happens I
would see another doctor. Every evidence based treatment
guideline in the Anglophone and Francophone world I have
read clearly states that tests are not needed, none are
universally recognized, and that a perfectly accurate
diagnosis can be made without testing (and I'm not
taking about a short 15 question paper evaluation type
There are a lot
of treatments for ADHD, in The US the most prescribed
medication is currently Adderall XR (mixed amphetamine
salts extended-release). The use of extended-release and
amphetamine medication is more common. So it is more
likely something like Concerta (methylphenidate
extended-release) would be prescribed than Ritalin would
And with an
evaluation from a psychiatrist you may find that your
son does not have any illness, or that he has something
other than ADHD, or that he has multiple things (which
often more common than not).
what you describe it sounds like you son really does
need an evaluation and if there is a problem there is a
very good chance he can get better. It also sounds like
you are great parents- concerned enough to consider that
he may end up needing medication (some refuse to allow
medication even when it is clearly needed) but not
jumping at the chance to get your child on meds (some
parents are like that when they don't need to be).
And Ritalin has
been in use for something like 50-60 years and
amphetamines are well over 100 years old. So these
medications, which are the most effective ADHD
treatments, are very old, and are among the most studied
substances in history. They are old enough that the name
for ADHD has changed about a dozen times and the
indications for amphetamines and methylphenidate have
changed many times. Every medication has some risk but
stimulants are among the safest medications and are
among the best studied in children and adolescents.