New diagnosis, trouble with Ritalin dosing around my schedule

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    • #192704


      I am newly diagnosed with ADHD. I have started Ritalin IR twice a day. I love how focused and calm it makes me! My emotional regulation is better than it has ever been. My issue is, that the medicine lasts maybe 3 hours and drops off hard! All of a sudden I am scattered, anxious, disorganized… I even struggle to speak coherently lol. I work night shifts and usually I am doing skilled work requiring my attention for up to 16 hours at a time. The thing is, I also go to grad school during the day (never work a shift after school, promise!). So… my days range from 6 to 16 hours long.

      I really want to take a long-acting medication, but I want the flexibility of a medication that will meet my needs on a very variable schedule. I meet with my psychiatrist in a couple days, does anyone have any suggestions I can bring up?

    • #192705
      Pro crastina

      The reasons you brought up in your post should be enough for your psychiatrist to consider writing you a prescription for a long-acting methylphenidate alternative such as Concerta, which is supposed to be effective for > 8 hours.

      For many people the long-acting forms of methylphenidate won’t be as effective (long-acting) as advertised, so considering a normal circadian rhythm they usually take some long-acting form in the morning and then a shorter acting form (such as Ritalin) in the afternoon / early evening to stay functional as long as needed.

      P.S. Long-acting forms are often smoother when wearing off, meaning less of those unwanted side-effects like anxiousness.

    • #192819

      When initially diagnosed 19 yrs ago at age 35, I initially tried Ritalin twice a day. However, I needed to take it at the same time every day. Well, as a high school teacher on a rotating daily schedule, that was impossible. I couldn’t leave class to go take meds, and I would forget to take them. After about 6 months and in consultation with my psychiatrist, I was put on Concerta 54mg – I’ve been on it ever since. My days can get pretty long (esp during exam period with correcting) as well, and I seem to be able to manage. Good luck – I hope this insight helps…


    • #193041

      Hi Chris, I have three suggestions for you. Having experienced the ‘bottoming out’ when the half-day Ritalin (5 mg) stopped (and not feeling compelled to take the second) here is my strategy: 1) I now take the full day (10 mg) which DOES work wonders for me – after lunch I get right back in the saddle; 2) I am almost 2 months into taking Rhodiola Root Powder (a natural, unprocessed powder I drink in tea or coffee before breakfast; 3) I exercise heavily (yoga, band stretches, training for two upcoming triathlons). In my personal experience, research and experimentation, success is achieved with a more holistic approach. My biggest nemesis is my attitude — getting angry or disappointed myself for underperforming. The solution? Giving myself grace for my quirkiness (and occasional failures) and being grateful for the GOOD days. Best of success.

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