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Old 08-12-2008, 01:12 PM   #1
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If Ritalin makes you tired....

hi all,

I was just diagnosed with Adult ADHD. My doc started me on the generic form of Ritalin. I am SO tired on it. It is so sedating for me.

My doc told me that being tired on a stimulant indicates that ADHD is the correct diagnosis for me. But I feel like I've heard that is not true.

Has any one out there heard....from a doctor (not another source on the internet) that if you're tired on Ritalin that you definitely have ADHD?

I want so badly to finally have a proper diagnosis. And I'm just wondering what other people's experience is with being sedated on a stimulant????

 
Old 08-13-2008, 01:11 AM   #2
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

A couple of questions to start off: How much sleep do you generally get? Do you sleep at regular times, or is your schedule somewhat chaotic?

A small caveat too: You can't be diagnosed simply by your reaction to medication. There are a lot of factors in play regarding how you, as an individual, react to a certain medication, so it's impossible to say that you definately have ADHD based on your reaction to Ritalin. If you're worried about the diagnosis, I would spend some time researching ADHD and other various disorders that can imitate the symptoms of ADHD, and if you don't trust your doctor's diagnosis, seek a second opinion.

All that aside, It's not uncommon for ADHD adults to feel tired when taking stimulants. Generally, however, this effect is related to sleep, or lack thereof. Many ADHD adults don't get the 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep that the human body craves because we don't do well sticking to schedules thanks to our ADHD. We don't always feel tired though, because the part of our brain that regulates schedules and cycles is underactive, and as such we don't realize that we're chronically sleep deprived. Then, we take a stimulant which causes that part of our brain to become more active, and it says "gee, I haven't had enough sleep, I'd better get some" and we get tired (this is a poor paraphrase of what Jane taught me when I first came to this board ). It's the grand irony of ADHD that stimulants often bring us down, and the calming effect of stimulants on ADHD individuals is well known.

You may have heard otherwise because if your dose is too high, the stimulant will begin to affect you the same way it affects everyone else, it gets you wired. Again, if you're feeling wired, you need to reduce your dosage.

Assuming that you're not getting proper sleep and regular exercise, spend the next couple of weeks to a month trying to establish a good routine. Try to get 8 hours of sleep a night, and make sure you're exercising, even if just a short brisk walk during the day. Together, those should make your sedation problems a thing of the past. If you are doing those things already, try coffee in the short term, and consider talking to your doctor about trying different meds/different doses to see if the side effects are less pronounced.

 
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:06 AM   #3
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

I agree with everything Thunor said. Fantastic explanation.

There is no one test for ADHD, it's best identified after various assesments and an interview with a psychologist or psychiatrist experienced in ADHD. If you doubt your diagnosis, you try a more detailed evaluation. More easily if less definitively, read some of our stories on this board, and see if it sounds like you.

 
Old 08-13-2008, 07:05 AM   #4
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunor View Post


1. You can't be diagnosed simply by your reaction to medication.

2. You may have heard otherwise because if your dose is too high, the stimulant will begin to affect you the same way it affects everyone else, it gets you wired. Again, if you're feeling wired, you need to reduce your dosage.
Thunor's point number 1 is absolutely correct - always, all the time.

Point number 2 is correct most of the time. I appear and feel very sedated by a stimulant overdose but am in reality in a wired trance. A sizeable minority of others react simularly.

Another option is to try LESS Ritalin and see what happens.

Bob

Last edited by addprogrammer; 08-13-2008 at 07:06 AM. Reason: ADHD moment

 
Old 08-13-2008, 07:32 AM   #5
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

Thanks all for your responses.

I am not necessarily questioning my diagnosis. That is to say, I wouldn't question it randomly, on my own, because I do believe I have ADD. But when my doctor said that people with ADD respond to stimulants by being relaxed, even tired, it made doubt creep into my head regarding HIS abilities. Mainly because I thought I had heard somewhere that the whole "paradoxical" effect was a myth. But perhaps I'm wrong and my doctor is right. That is my main point of asking the question....determining my doctor's validity for making a statement like that.

I am not very trustworthy of physicians anymore.

I probably do not get as much sleep as needed, but mostly because I have two younguns who wake me up at night. I have inattentive ADD, so my problem is not hyperactivity. I can generally get to bed at a decent hour.

My doc just upped my Ritalin (generic form) to 40 mg (20 twice per day).

On a positive side of the medicine:

1. I no longer chew on my tongue. I would bite it til it bled EVERY stinking night!!! That stopped after starting ritalin.

2. I have started "noticing" the world around me. I saw a bunch of paintings on the wall at my primary doctor's office and I said, "Those are beautiful, did you guys just get these?"

The nurse looked at me strangely and said, "No, we've had them for a year or so now".

And that has been my number 1 complaint....that I can't "see" the world around me. So I'm hoping upping my dose will help with that and that the fatigue will diminish over time.

 
Old 08-13-2008, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

I'm not a big fan of doctors and mental health 'professionals' myself, what with all the lack of understanding of adult ADHD out there, we're often on our own when it comes to research and treating ourselves.

I generally defer to Jane and Bob when it comes to knowledge of ADHD, so having their agreement can assure you that the info was good.

 
Old 08-13-2008, 01:46 PM   #7
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

Paradoxical effect is a myth. If you gave a theraputic dosage of ADD meds to a non-ADD person, most of the time there would be little to no effect. If you yank the dose up high enough to get the non-ADD person seriously wired, the ADD person will also be wired. (The only problem with this little model of mine is that theraputic doses vary widely from person to person, but you get the idea.)

It's not that we react backwards to stimulants, just that low doses of stimulants seem to calm us (In fact, they just allow us to control ourselves!) by bringing certain neurotransmitters up to normal levels.

All that being said, getting drowsy on Ritalin is common among ADD people and much less common among those that are not.

 
Old 08-13-2008, 02:54 PM   #8
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

Quote:
Originally Posted by janewhite1 View Post

It's not that we react backwards to stimulants, just that low doses of stimulants seem to calm us (In fact, they just allow us to control ourselves!) by bringing certain neurotransmitters up to normal levels.

All that being said, getting drowsy on Ritalin is common among ADD people and much less common among those that are not.
POW - ER - FUL Jane.

You are a smarty pants, arn't you?

Seriously - dead on traget.

Thu, don't defer to me. You got it, man.

Bob

 
Old 08-14-2008, 12:45 PM   #9
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

Quote:
Originally Posted by janewhite1 View Post
Paradoxical effect is a myth.
In a way I disagree. I suppose it's a question of definition. Paradoxical effect is a myth in that stimulants don't actually sedate us. Stimulants do, however, cause us to feel and in many cases to become more sedate.

Ah, I so love the English language.

My point is valid though, I believe. What one person calls the paradoxical effect, another would not. Medically it's a myth, but effectively it has a lot of merit.

I know, what Jane and I said sounds a lot alike, I'm not disagreeing with her, I'm simply trying to attack the roots of the paradoxical effect.

 
Old 08-14-2008, 01:34 PM   #10
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

You all bring up good points.

Maybe this is what is bugging me about my doctor's response. When I look at your responses, I realize that this is a very debated issue and my doc said it as a simple fact. Also he didn't go into detail and I think that's what's bugging me is that I'm an info gatherer. And it irritates me to have a doc make a statement and then not back it up. He kind of laughed at me and said, "Well, if you're tired on a stimulant, you probably DO have ADD." But that was it. Then when I asked, "So we can now assume this is the correct diagnosis?" He back-pedaled a bit and said, "Well, no, you have to respond positively to the medication first. Then we'll know."

Anyway, I'm just hoping that I can ride the effects of this med out. Because wouldn't it be wonderful to slow my brain down enough to really be present in the world around me? Instead of inside my head, stuck on the spin cycle.

 
Old 08-14-2008, 02:51 PM   #11
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Re: If Ritalin makes you tired....

Well, we like to debate, reconsider, and examine evidence, especially conflicting evidence. Most people most of the time want a simple answer.

 
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