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Generic Ritalin Making me sad, more scatterbrained


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Hi all,

I'm new here. I posted in introductions only a few minutes ago, but I'm anxious to get an answer from some of you on this question. I'm on day 5 of methylin. The 20 mg daily dose prescribed was way to speedy for me. I tried eating with it, cutting it in half, cutting it in half and eatingb with it, etc... but I was still too speedy, having waves of sadness, sighing lots, mild chest tightness, etc...I have finally cut the pill into 1/4 and though it doesn't last long at this dose (1 or 2 hrs), this is kind of doable. It does make me nicer to my son--more patient, no yelling. This was one of my main goals for going on meds, so I'm happy about that. But...the sadness on the higher doses is kind of bad. My son keeps asking me on any dose less than 10 mg why I can't smile and am so sad. I'm also disappointed about the increased forgetfulness (can't think of the words I want to say) and scatterbrainedness. I'm happy that I'm not completely tired all the time now--except that awful crash that lasts 1 to 1.5 hours after the methylin wears off.

Any input is greatly appreciated. I'm going back to my doc April 18th and of course will fill him in, but I'm wondering if any of these negative side effects go away with time.

I'll paste my intro here, for those of you who are impatient like me and don't want to go there:

Hi Everyone

I'm 48yrs old, female, single mom of 7yr old son, living with parents (I know, how parasitic and sad is that), finally diagnosed with ADHD and just starting to navigate the medication trail to find out what works best for me. Wish it weren't so darned individual and there was a one-size-fits-all Rx. I'm impatient to finally get started on regaining my life and being a better mom to my son and NOT being a parasite.

My goal here for now is to talk to folks who've been this way before and can help me, help my doc, to find the best med (if there is one) for me.

Then, I hope to pay it forward and help others as well.

I'm currently on day 5 of my trial of Ritalin 20 mg daily, and there are a few bumps in the road. That dose knocked my socks off, and after 2 days of it, I cut the pill in half and made sure to eat with it. Still seemed like Mr. Toad's wild ride with a tight chest and a tendency to want to chew my lip, so I cut it into 1/4's today. That seems much better, but still not that great. I'm still hopeful, by I confess that I was quite disappointed at first. I don't go back to my doc for 25 more days and that seems a long time to try something that doesn't seem to be working all that great, that is unless some of these nasty side effects go away with time. Which is why I'm here--to find out if the sadness that occurred for no apparent reason, increase instead of decrease in scatterbrainedness, slight annoying tightness in chest, will get better with time, or is Ritalin just not the one for me. I also wonder if a non-generic Ritalin would have been better. I didn't really realize that the pharmacy had given me Mallk generic until I got home. I read that night that sometimes the generics are not that great.

Anyway, didn't want to make this post long--just wanted to say "Hi" and am looking forward to talking to you all. Yep...I'm a southern girl...

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You started at 20 mg? Jesus, man. That's too much. 5 mg is a more appropriate starting dose.

Methylphenidate lasts 3-4 hours and can have a nasty crash. Lots of people do very well on it, though. I haven't heard of any problems with the generics. Ritalin LA (brand only) has an immediate-release phase and a 4 hour delayed-release phase, so you won't have to take a second dose, but you may still experience a crash. If you want to try brand, you may want to ask your doctor about it.

I'm going to move this to the Stimulants board.

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Thanks so much for your quick reply...I'm feeling a bit lost and alone in this new dx and tx. I don't have any insurance and can't afford the cash to go to a specialist. I'm very healthy otherwise, and this was my 1st visit to this general practitioner. I don't really know how much he knows about ADHD and meds for it (apparently not enough?), but I was really grateful that he didn't just dismiss me, as I was really feeling almost suicidal over continuing to live with the symptoms of the ADD without any relief. Yes, I agree, the crash is nasty on any dose that I've tried in the past 5 days. Thankfully, the bad feelings from the crash only last about 1.5 hrs. It feels like being thrown out of speeding car. I immediately feel wiped out, irritable, the whole nine yards of baseline sx kind of magnified. I don't know exactly what to try next, but I want to go to my next appt. having some idea and I don't want to go back to nothing again.

I hope I put in this reply properly as I don't know much about using message boards. I didn't realize that I should've put this on a different board. Thanks for moving it!

You started at 20 mg? Jesus, man. That's too much. 5 mg is a more appropriate starting dose.

Methylphenidate lasts 3-4 hours and can have a nasty crash. Lots of people do very well on it, though. I haven't heard of any problems with the generics. Ritalin LA (brand only) has an immediate-release phase and a 4 hour delayed-release phase, so you won't have to take a second dose, but you may still experience a crash. If you want to try brand, you may want to ask your doctor about it.

I'm going to move this to the Stimulants board.

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Hi,

I am also new to this site. I am around your age and was diagnosed with ADD at least ten years ago. It explained A LOT. It was probably more than ten years ago, because when I had my son, who is

now 16, I was alert to the fact that he might also have it (and he does).

I started with different trials of meds. Concerta, Adderall, Wellbutrin.

I gave up on it because I think I didn't really know what to expect and my life was fairly uncomplicated then. But when I got divorced and had to take over for myself all these functions that are hard

for people with ADD, I tried some meds again. At first the concerta was great. But after a week I would have an emotional crash and be sobbing. Same with the others.

I don't think it was the crash from it leaving my system, I think it was the pent up emotions (that's what my shrink said) coming out. So sadly it doesn't work for me. The feeling while ON them is

awesome, calm, focused, motivated. No switching radio stations all the time, when I drive, I drive, I don't feel all charged to get somewhere. I can't take the emotional backlash though. I have too

much sadness in my life as it is.

My son took adderall and it was an amazing drug for him. Unfortunately he has a *tic* syndrome and this drug made it so bad we had to stop giving it to him. Just on occasions when he has

testing at school or lots of homework.

You can keep trying different things if you can afford to. Sometimes the higher dose causes the bad feelings and sometimes the lower dose causes sleepiness. IT's like with anti-depressants,

you have to find what works for you. (Also fish oils are supposed to be good).

Don't feel bad about living with your parents, geeze, you are not a parasite. This freaking world is hard enough as it is. Many people are in your situation. You are raising a child, and he has

people in his home. And if it's peaceful and uplifting that's good. For ADD, connection is the most important thing (got that from Dr. Hallowell)

Good luck.

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ImNotOk, there are very few GPs who are qualified to medicate someone for a mental illness. They have a general idea of what the drugs do, but it really isn't their area of expertise.

If you can't afford to see a psychiatrist, could you check to see if the local Mental Health Association has doctors with a sliding scale fee schedule? Or check with the county Dept. of Health. You really REALLY need to see a psychiatrist because your GP is not going to be able to counsel you and prescribe the appropriate medications for you.

olga

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just had to reply "ImNotOK". First off let me say, I am in an eerily similar situation to you. I'm 41, living with my Mom & her husband with my nearly 2 year old son. Although it is obvious to me now that I have been ADD my entire life, I just got my official dx last summer, and didn't get to finally be prescribed any meds for it until January - my pcp didn't want to do any prescribing until I'd gotten a psych to figure out the meds with me ...

I agree with the other responder who said that starting out at 20mg all at once is rather high. Although it was a huge pain in the @$$, my psych started me out at 5mg (3x/day) then weekly increases up to 20mg (3x/day). I was going in once a week to get a new scrip.

However, I knew even on the 5mg it was not the drug for me. I kept telling myself I just wanted to try Adderall because I never had (I had sampled an exbf's ritalin) or that I just needed to get used to the drug, or that the side effects would go away, or that the side effects were from lack of sleep, poor eating, stress, whatever. I kept trying the Ritalin in different ways, spacing the doses out or trying them closer together, I tried halving it & doubling it, it just sucked.

I felt a horrible crash as it wore off (the actual main way I knew for sure it was doing something), no noticeable improvements in focus while on it, irritability at higher doses, tingling/numbness in my hands & feet, and the EXACT SAME depression symptoms you described. I actually had myself convinced last week that I needed to go back to the Psych & start trying all the depression meds again, something I felt no need for whatsoever BEFORE the Ritalin trial.

I feel really bad for you, but at the same time I have to tell you I am just incredibly relieved to see that someone else is experiencing something similar.

I will freely admit that I have had recurrent bouts of depression & God knows there's plenty for me to want to be upset about when I look around at my current living conditions, but none of that changed, what did change was the Ritalin. Oh yeah, I even tried several different brands since I was paying out of pocket for the trials until we figured out the meds, but while I did find one to be a bit smoother than the others, the lack of focus and increased negativity was still there.

The fact is Ritalin was just crap for me. I knew this for sure the very first day I tried Adderall. I was prescribed the 10mgXR to start (not much of a dose) but I can tell you that I literally felt 100% better from the very first dose. Now, let me not overstate it. 100% better than the RItalin, not a sudden cure all for all my problems.

I felt like myself, just a little better. I didn't feel like a disembodied spirit. That was the other problem I had with Ritalin, I just had this disconnected, almost brain fog on it. A zombie like feeling. Like I was inside myself still, but this thing was controlling me. Oh, and the worst, for me (until the depression built up) was that I kept forgetting what I was doing. It was like once I'd thought of something, like "go change luvbug's diaper", then something in my brain would check it off like it'd already been done & 2 hours later I'd go, hmmm, did I change his diaper? This is something I've NEVER done before. Forgetful, absentminded, irritable, even depressed, sure ... but not in 2 years, not in any sleep deprived state, had I ever FORGOTTEN to change his diaper. Knew I ought to get up & change it but was too tired, fell asleep feeling guilty & woke up feeling guilty & had to go run & do it, yes, but not forgot.

Sorry, it's just that the RItalin trial was so godawful for me & that experience about the diaper epitomizes it for me, but I'm just not sure anyone who doesn't know me or who hasn't experienced something similar can really get the significance of it. ;-}

Anyway, the Adderall may or may not be the right drug for me, I'm trying 15mg XR this week and I get a great 2-4 hours from it, but by hour 5-6 I swear it wears off, I've read that other people have a drop then but then the 2nd dose kicks in, but I've definitely never felt that 2nd spurt from it ( and no, I don't just mean some kind of high or revved up feeling, I mean any kind of effect other than possibly being tired). But at least I feel like myself. And at least I get some benefit. I definitely feel WAY less cranky, I'd even go so far as to say mellower, even when it wears off. I get a couple of productive hours (even if so far I've used them up helping around the house & playing with luvbug versus working on my massive to do list ;-} ). I have yet to do the Forget the diaper thing, in fact, I'd say its best quality is that I tend to do stuff right away even when my normal urge is to procrastinate. (I can even procrastinate putting a dish in the dishwasher), not on the Adderall, I just do it, no biggie. And NO depressive thoughts.

It really hit home to me when you said that, how I'd actually started wondering if ANYTHING made me happy. Gee, I smile at luvbug but it felt fake on the Ritalin, like I couldn't feel joy on it. Now, I laugh, I smile, if nothing else, I am myself.

Sorry if that was tmi, your post just really hit home to me & I had to share. I hope something in it helps you or someone else, at least to not feel alone.

I strongly urge you to trust yourself, even with your symptoms & with or without the meds, if this med or another one is making you feel worse, DON'T keep taking it thinking it's going to get better. I even told my Psych that all the physical symptoms (the cold, a bit of the others) wouldn't have stopped me from taking the Ritalin if it had HELPED at all with my focus or concentration. It didn't. But I kept taking it, thinking it had to be somehow my fault or that it MUST work better than this, just persevere... And I have yet to find anyone else who says they tried it, it made them feel like crap & then was okay once they stuck it out.

A bit anxious or speedy, even some nausea, sure, that can happen & lessen with time. I even think the comedown is something many people just accept as the price of admission, but not an actual feeling worse. Not 2,4,8, 10, whatever hours of NOT focusing, NOT concentrating & then feeling depressed or scatterbrained, as you put it, on top of it. See if your doc will try you out on Adderall or Dexedrine, hell even Provigil or something depending on all your issues, but trust that Ritalin just is not the right drug for everyone. I know some people swear by it & great for them, but we aren't one size fits all & sometimes that sucks, but in the end, I doubt you'd really trade yourself for some cookie cutter robot ;-}

Oh, and (as if I haven't gone on too long already) I'm of the mind at the moment that Ritalin is WAY better for those who are truly adHd, for inattentive types it seems the amphet/methamph are better. I have no scientific proof of this, nor have I even asked around at the boards to see if it seems to hold up, but it's my current theory since the methylphenidates seem to have more physical effects.

Good luck !

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow...You have described the way I feel to a tee. The 'disembodied spirit' thing and the 'fake smile'... the thing about saying you are going to do something, then the brain checking it off as if it had been done (maybe just because you thought about doing it?). That's it. I couldn't have said it better myself.

My return appt. is not until 4/18, so I'm still dutifully trudging along on the methylin. I currently take 10 mg about noonish for 3.5 hours of a slight improvement in focus and impulsivity (I was interrupting my family lots and making snarky comments to my son). My affect is still flattened, but I'm not quite as sad. It is not good, but it is a bit of an improvement over no meds because of these things and because I don't feel an uncontrollable urge to go to bed in the afternoon due to exhaustion from trying to focus all day. The crash remains bad most days--like being tossed out the window of a moving racecar.

I am so appreciative for your reply. It is so hard to know whether what you have is as good as it gets, or if it is worth it to put your body/mind/family through another trial of something else. Maybe my doc will let me try Adderall.

Thanks again :~)

just had to reply "ImNotOK". First off let me say, I am in an eerily similar situation to you. I'm 41, living with my Mom & her husband with my nearly 2 year old son. Although it is obvious to me now that I have been ADD my entire life, I just got my official dx last summer, and didn't get to finally be prescribed any meds for it until January - my pcp didn't want to do any prescribing until I'd gotten a psych to figure out the meds with me ...

I agree with the other responder who said that starting out at 20mg all at once is rather high. Although it was a huge pain in the @$$, my psych started me out at 5mg (3x/day) then weekly increases up to 20mg (3x/day). I was going in once a week to get a new scrip.

However, I knew even on the 5mg it was not the drug for me. I kept telling myself I just wanted to try Adderall because I never had (I had sampled an exbf's ritalin) or that I just needed to get used to the drug, or that the side effects would go away, or that the side effects were from lack of sleep, poor eating, stress, whatever. I kept trying the Ritalin in different ways, spacing the doses out or trying them closer together, I tried halving it & doubling it, it just sucked.

I felt a horrible crash as it wore off (the actual main way I knew for sure it was doing something), no noticeable improvements in focus while on it, irritability at higher doses, tingling/numbness in my hands & feet, and the EXACT SAME depression symptoms you described. I actually had myself convinced last week that I needed to go back to the Psych & start trying all the depression meds again, something I felt no need for whatsoever BEFORE the Ritalin trial.

I feel really bad for you, but at the same time I have to tell you I am just incredibly relieved to see that someone else is experiencing something similar.

I will freely admit that I have had recurrent bouts of depression & God knows there's plenty for me to want to be upset about when I look around at my current living conditions, but none of that changed, what did change was the Ritalin. Oh yeah, I even tried several different brands since I was paying out of pocket for the trials until we figured out the meds, but while I did find one to be a bit smoother than the others, the lack of focus and increased negativity was still there.

The fact is Ritalin was just crap for me. I knew this for sure the very first day I tried Adderall. I was prescribed the 10mgXR to start (not much of a dose) but I can tell you that I literally felt 100% better from the very first dose. Now, let me not overstate it. 100% better than the RItalin, not a sudden cure all for all my problems.

I felt like myself, just a little better. I didn't feel like a disembodied spirit. That was the other problem I had with Ritalin, I just had this disconnected, almost brain fog on it. A zombie like feeling. Like I was inside myself still, but this thing was controlling me. Oh, and the worst, for me (until the depression built up) was that I kept forgetting what I was doing. It was like once I'd thought of something, like "go change luvbug's diaper", then something in my brain would check it off like it'd already been done & 2 hours later I'd go, hmmm, did I change his diaper? This is something I've NEVER done before. Forgetful, absentminded, irritable, even depressed, sure ... but not in 2 years, not in any sleep deprived state, had I ever FORGOTTEN to change his diaper. Knew I ought to get up & change it but was too tired, fell asleep feeling guilty & woke up feeling guilty & had to go run & do it, yes, but not forgot.

Sorry, it's just that the RItalin trial was so godawful for me & that experience about the diaper epitomizes it for me, but I'm just not sure anyone who doesn't know me or who hasn't experienced something similar can really get the significance of it. ;-}

Anyway, the Adderall may or may not be the right drug for me, I'm trying 15mg XR this week and I get a great 2-4 hours from it, but by hour 5-6 I swear it wears off, I've read that other people have a drop then but then the 2nd dose kicks in, but I've definitely never felt that 2nd spurt from it ( and no, I don't just mean some kind of high or revved up feeling, I mean any kind of effect other than possibly being tired). But at least I feel like myself. And at least I get some benefit. I definitely feel WAY less cranky, I'd even go so far as to say mellower, even when it wears off. I get a couple of productive hours (even if so far I've used them up helping around the house & playing with luvbug versus working on my massive to do list ;-} ). I have yet to do the Forget the diaper thing, in fact, I'd say its best quality is that I tend to do stuff right away even when my normal urge is to procrastinate. (I can even procrastinate putting a dish in the dishwasher), not on the Adderall, I just do it, no biggie. And NO depressive thoughts.

It really hit home to me when you said that, how I'd actually started wondering if ANYTHING made me happy. Gee, I smile at luvbug but it felt fake on the Ritalin, like I couldn't feel joy on it. Now, I laugh, I smile, if nothing else, I am myself.

Sorry if that was tmi, your post just really hit home to me & I had to share. I hope something in it helps you or someone else, at least to not feel alone.

I strongly urge you to trust yourself, even with your symptoms & with or without the meds, if this med or another one is making you feel worse, DON'T keep taking it thinking it's going to get better. I even told my Psych that all the physical symptoms (the cold, a bit of the others) wouldn't have stopped me from taking the Ritalin if it had HELPED at all with my focus or concentration. It didn't. But I kept taking it, thinking it had to be somehow my fault or that it MUST work better than this, just persevere... And I have yet to find anyone else who says they tried it, it made them feel like crap & then was okay once they stuck it out.

A bit anxious or speedy, even some nausea, sure, that can happen & lessen with time. I even think the comedown is something many people just accept as the price of admission, but not an actual feeling worse. Not 2,4,8, 10, whatever hours of NOT focusing, NOT concentrating & then feeling depressed or scatterbrained, as you put it, on top of it. See if your doc will try you out on Adderall or Dexedrine, hell even Provigil or something depending on all your issues, but trust that Ritalin just is not the right drug for everyone. I know some people swear by it & great for them, but we aren't one size fits all & sometimes that sucks, but in the end, I doubt you'd really trade yourself for some cookie cutter robot ;-}

Oh, and (as if I haven't gone on too long already) I'm of the mind at the moment that Ritalin is WAY better for those who are truly adHd, for inattentive types it seems the amphet/methamph are better. I have no scientific proof of this, nor have I even asked around at the boards to see if it seems to hold up, but it's my current theory since the methylphenidates seem to have more physical effects.

Good luck !

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I am really grateful to have everyone's input. It seems that Adderall may be the thing to try. Some of the methylin side effects are lessened now, but I'm just not getting much improvement and the side effects are still there.

I do hope that something will help me!

Ritalin at 5mg 2X a day caused me a lot of problems as well. I was jittery, very depressed, fast heart rate, and unable to go to work. I've found Adderall to be much more effective with fewer side effects.

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I got prescribed methylin last month as well. 5mg tablets, up to 4 per day. I got the same result as you. Your experience sounds to me like a failed med. It's worth trying it at different doses to see if it can be made to work, but it sounds like a failure. The wait for the next appointment after a failed med trial can be excruciating.

valkyrievaljean: Your theory about inattentive ADHD is interesting. I have only inattentive symptoms. Ritalin has not been helpful. I tried Adderall/Dexedrine a few times in college and it was much more helpful then. With luck I can get Dexedrine at my next appointment, as Adderall had horrible side effects.

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MorningDew, would you pls share what the horrible side effects were with Adderall?

I got prescribed methylin last month as well. 5mg tablets, up to 4 per day. I got the same result as you. Your experience sounds to me like a failed med. It's worth trying it at different doses to see if it can be made to work, but it sounds like a failure. The wait for the next appointment after a failed med trial can be excruciating.

valkyrievaljean: Your theory about inattentive ADHD is interesting. I have only inattentive symptoms. Ritalin has not been helpful. I tried Adderall/Dexedrine a few times in college and it was much more helpful then. With luck I can get Dexedrine at my next appointment, as Adderall had horrible side effects.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yay!!!!

Day 2 of Adderall (Barr generic) and the difference between it and methylin is like night and day.

Man, I hope it continues to be helpful. I feel balanced--maybe for the first time in my life except for those rare occasions without meds when all the planets just happened to align.

I don't feel that my affect is flat, I don't feel sad, disconnected from my body, foggy, jittery, or any of the negatives I experienced on the methylin. I just feel like me--only balanced.

So far, the only negative I've noticed is that I'm perspiring more--strangely just in my armpits. I can live with that. Sorry if that was TMI for anyone ;~).

Again, I'm so grateful for everyone's input. Without it, I'd probably be on Ritalin SR or methylin ER or one of those similar to it and sitting around wondering if that's as good as it gets. That's what my doc suggested, but I asked if we could please try Adderall first. Too bad it isn't as cheap as methylin.

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