Jumped the Synapse: Thoughts without sponsors!

These are my thoughts that don't fit in my other blogs. They'll eventually cover a large range of topics.

Friday, July 21, 2006

ADD/ADHD: Does stimulant therapy (i.e. Ritalin, Adderall, etc.) help?

Does stimulant therapy (i.e. Ritalin, Adderall, etc.) help?

Given that a study by Washington State University researchers showed that physician-diagnosed ADHD children will be prescribed stimulant medication between 63% (girls) and 72% (boys) of the time, it’s important to know whether this is helpful.

The answer is, yes, and also, no. The NIH put it this way in their consensus statement:

“As measured by attention/activity indices, patients with varying levels and types of problems (and even possibly unaffected individuals) may benefit from stimulant therapy. These studies … have established the efficacy of stimulants and psychosocial treatments for alleviating the symptoms of ADHD and associated aggressiveness. … Of concern are the consistent findings that despite the improvement in core symptoms, there is little improvement in academic achievement or social skills.”

The largest study of ADHD children ever, the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA study), first reported after the release of the NIH statement, echoed this finding, relating both to the improvement of symptoms, and the lack of improvement in academic or social settings.

It also isn’t known as to whether or not stimulant medication improves other social outcomes, such as arrest rates and drug abuse.

... another random musing


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I am 51 years old. Have been on Ritalin for 9 years now. I began taking it for depression after my marriage ended, and also in a misguided attempt to lose weight! I lost about 15 pounds at the beginning, had tons of energy, felt great...but the weight loss stopped within a few months.. I currently feel focused and motivated after I take it and am able to get a lot done. As well as the generic ritalin, I take 6 - 12 Tylenol 1 tablets a day. I know how bad this is, but can't seem to stop for more than a few days. The last nine years seem to be a blur...it's like I have lost those years....I hardly remember anything about them. I find this sad and frightening. I take what my doctor prescribed: three 10mg. tablets a day. I have tried many times to completely get off this drug but I now realize that I am truly addicted to it. If I stop taking it for more than one day I become extremely depressed and have very negative, hopeless thoughts and ideas.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
very irritable when it wears off; sometimes difficult to fall asleep, memory loss, hear music in my head that won't stop.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
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