Ritalin Trial - Questions
I have been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome with "attentional dysfunction" in December last year (initial diagnosis)/January this year (confirmation and follow-up).
My problems with attention seem to be predominantly with shifting attention, both away from something that preoccupies me and towards something new.
In particular switching back and forth is something I struggle with (which leads to trouble with switching from talking to brief eye contact in conversations, checking the mirrors when driving etc.).
The consultant decided that a trial of Ritalin should be worthwhile, so I organised a visit with my GP and I started yesterday on a very cautious course as follows:
5mg mornings (5 days)
5mg mornings & midday (5 days)
10mg mornings, 5mg midday (5 days)
10mg mornings & midday (5days)
With a potential for adding another dose (first 5 them 10 mg) around 4:30 pm.
The first reactions have been very positive, I felt calm, as if that eternal "hamster wheel" had quietened down a bit (I had been worried about anxiety side effects) as opposed to the usual restlesness (inner, mostly, with quite a bit of fidgeting but no overt hyperactivity) and for once it seemed my conscious thoughts were not limping two steps behind my actions and movements.
No "speedy" or "high" feeling (as I often heard people report when first starting on meds), just calm, collected, able to get into my work without the usual fogginess or constant self-distraction, and most importantly able to shift attention without getting stuck or lost. (And holding a conversation without constantly changing subjects or forgetting what I want to say halfway through a sentence)
However, the noticeable effects only seemed to last for maybe 1 - 1 1/2 hours max., starting about 20-30 minutes after taking the medication.
This seems awfully short, although I realise this may just be due to the low starting dosage.
Although at least through the low dose there was not much of a rebound effect - however I did become a lot more aware of the inner restlessness once the dosage wore off! Ironically, once the initial rebound had settled, I still felt more relaxed for the rest of the day, and for the first time in many weeks I actually slept through!
So my questions are as follows:
- How normal does this suggested course sound? It sounds very cautious to me (I guess this is due to the AS diagnosis) but then I prefer that to the side-effect fuelled full-on approach
- Is the duration (as opposed to strength) of the noticeable effects likely to increase as the dosage is increased?
- Is it normal to feel generally more relaxed at the end of the day when on medication, once the rebound has passed?
- Are these effects as I have described them indicative of the medication working, or is it impossible to tell on this dosage?
Thanks for any input!
25, female, AS with attentional dysfunction