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Questions re: Methylphenidate

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Questions re: Methylphenidate
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Kevin R BrownPosts: 69Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:51 am

Post Questions re: Methylphenidate

...Or, as it's more commonly branded, Ritalin.


Is this a good thing to be prescribing to children - or, perhaps more to the point, so many children, in the United States in particular? As I understand it, the drug is similar to Methamphetamine (though less potent), triggering a cascade release of dopamine in the brain. We know from autopsies of long term Methamphetamine (crystal meth) users that these dopamine releases eventually become neurotoxic, burning out the brain's reward receptors and inflicting permanent brain damage. Now, I've only done armchair research myself and I instinctively distrust any semi-populist rejection of medication, but I'm furrowing my eyebrows at this one a little bit. It appears that (and correct me if I'm wrong) double blind testing with a placebo control group has not been done to establish the effects of Methylphenidate on anyone (much less children) beyond a 4 week period. If that's true, I find it very disappointing that such a substance is so readily prescribed; Benzoylmethylecgonine (cocaine) also has many profound medical benefits when used in the short term - it's after the first few months of heavy use that the first signs of damage really start to appear.

I'd don't have a horse in this race, so to speak, and am not part of any type of ridiculous crusade to STOP TEH BIG PHARMA!!!!, so be nice if my armchair research (I stuck largely to academic literature, though obviously I could only read so many papers and, well, I'm not sure I understood half of them) has led me astray - what's the overall consensus on the use of Ritalin (particularly pertaining to children) in order to control ADHD? (....Or, at least, the overall consensus aside from that of the American Psychological Association, which is quite positive. I'll be up front about a personal bias of mine: I don't trust the APA, at all, and I do not consider them to have proven themselves to be a dedicated scientific body. They pay lip service to parapsychology, they to this day refuse to fully accept that lobotomies were an inappropriate way to treat mental illnesses, they to this day insist on the medical effectiveness of electroshock therapy (which, by it's very nature, cannot be subjected to double blind clinical analysis), until only very recently considered homosexuality to be a form of mental disorder, support extremely dubious experiments & findings (Zimbardo's infamous Stanford Prison 'Experiment' is the first that springs to mind), etc. Now, that doesn't mean I think that their opinion on the issue of Ritalin is wrong here - I don't have enough information about Ritalin and it's use in treating ADHD in order to form my own opinion - it simply means that I don't consider any consensus they present as any more credible than that of Hollywood celebrities).
Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:24 am
obsidianavengerPosts: 840Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:44 am Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

not an expert by any means, but my understanding is that while Ritalin is extremely effective, it is also extremely overprescribed. that some "normal" childhood behaviors are being construed as ADHD, especially in boys, and that they are medicated when behavioral interventions could just as easily do the job.

that seems to be the general consensus.
Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:38 am
Logic-NanakiUser avatarPosts: 98Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:54 pmLocation: Norway Gender: Male

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

Young boys might tend to behave in such a matter, that it seems that they are affected by ADHD.
i have heard stories from my parents that one day while visiting a cousin of mine (incidentally affected by ADHD)
hid a little ritalin in my jam-sandwich under the suspicion of me allso having the disorder.
i did not have ADHD as most will know that ritalin have an opposite effect on those not needing the medication.
i myself do not know what was happening. but apparently i spent the rest of that day running about and waving a stick around.

just a little justification for the suspicion of young boys might be diagnosed with ADHD.

and a little warning to not give the young boys ritalin to see if they have a disorder....
Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.
-Carl Sagan
Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:16 pm
FingerUser avatarPosts: 354Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:13 amLocation: California

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

I was rightfully diagnosed with ADD as a child, but I still say Ritalin shouldn't be used to "treat" it. First of all, it's not a disorder. What makes our minds wander is exactly what makes us creative and intelligent. As cliché as this phrase may be, Ritalin turns us into robots. It inhibits our ability to solve complex problems creatively. I, for one, am glad my parents didn't keep me on the drug.
Artist for Red Oasis
Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:20 pm
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nasher168League LegendUser avatarPosts: 2518Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:34 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

I only found out about the practice of giving drugs to unruly kids recently. No such practices exist in the UK and I was shocked, to say the least. If such a thing were to occur here there would be outrage and an immense public backlash.
A great Charity
Apologies for my absence of late.
Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:04 pm
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Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

People with ADHD suffer from a deficit of brain activity in the area that allows the rest of us to focus our attention. They suffer from reduced frontal lobe activity especially in the area that results in executive function. This means they are unable to inhibit their urges resulting in hyperactivity. CNS stimulants like Ritalin are given to increase brain activity allowing ADHD patients to focus their attention and to control their urges resulting in a decrease in hyperactivity. As had been mentioned, if you give CNS stimulants to someone who doesn't need them it results in a even further over-hyping of brain function resulting in hyperactivity. It should be very obvious when you have given Ritalin to someone who doesn't need it. As to how much it has been tested, I have to say that I don't know.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:28 pm
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obsidianavengerPosts: 840Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:44 am Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

Aught3 wrote: As had been mentioned, if you give CNS stimulants to someone who doesn't need them it results in a even further over-hyping of brain function resulting in hyperactivity. It should be very obvious when you have given Ritalin to someone who doesn't need it. As to how much it has been tested, I have to say that I don't know.


i know a lot of people in college who take ritalin or adderall to help them concentrate on their studying around finals. they tend to focus better, not become hyperactive, and i am pretty sure they don't all have ADHD.
Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:00 am
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

obsidianavenger wrote:i know a lot of people in college who take ritalin or adderall to help them concentrate on their studying around finals. they tend to focus better, not become hyperactive, and i am pretty sure they don't all have ADHD.
Well I suppose it can depend on how much you take but hyperactivity doesn't necessarily mean running around waving your arms and screaming at the top of your lungs. I presume that some of your acquaintances also take these drugs because it allows them to stay up all night completing an assignment or cramming for an exam?
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:16 am
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FingerUser avatarPosts: 354Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:13 amLocation: California

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

Yeah, the whole "opposite effect" thing is a myth. Probably because we think of Ritalin as a "calming" drug even though it's actually a stimulant. It just stimulates a specific part of the brain, as opposed to caffeine which stimulates all of it. When I was on Ritalin, I couldn't take it in the afternoon otherwise I would be kept up all night. I suspect College students use it for both effects.

EDIT
Although, since I'm here and not working on an essay that's due friday, perhaps I should get some? :D
Artist for Red Oasis
Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:07 am
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Kevin R BrownPosts: 69Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:51 am

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

People with ADHD suffer from a deficit of brain activity in the area that allows the rest of us to focus our attention. They suffer from reduced frontal lobe activity especially in the area that results in executive function. This means they are unable to inhibit their urges resulting in hyperactivity.


Do you have a link to paper(s) detailing this information? Most of the academic literature I read suggested that, much like schizophrenia, ADHD was only diagnosed through symptoms - not looking for specific brain activity via MRI or CAT scan.
Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:33 am
AndroidARUser avatarPosts: 46Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:34 pmLocation: Somewhere with a Mawile

Post Re: Questions re: Methylphenidate

I myself suffer from ADD, and have been on Concerta (a time-release meythlphenidate pill) for.... about 8-9 years now. I can say that I do focus a lot better when I'm on it.
Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:12 am
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