Addicted to Ritalin?


"I take 20 mg of Ritalin three times a day, but I think each dose lasts less than two hours. Am I addicted? What other treatment do you recommend?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

Ritalin usually lasts four hours. However, it may not. If you find that you now get only one or two hours of help with each dose, other options are possible.

You are not becoming addicted. For some, Ritalin loses its length of action over time. You might change to Dexedrine or Adderall to see if you can get closer to four hours per dose, or you might try another type of medication, such as Imipramine or Wellbutrin. You can also combine medicines, such as Wellbutrin with Ritalin, to see if that helps. Ask your doctor.

Wellbutrin alone works for many people with ADHD. This medicine is long acting; you take it in the morning and possibly at night. It takes about a week or two to start working. Once it does, it lasts 24 hours each day. If it works for you, you will not have to worry about taking it frequently during the day.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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