Ask the Experts

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?”

Close up of ADHD medication
Close up of ADHD medication

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.