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Andy,

To answer the question can ritalin hurt you, well, in many ways yes. It is a stimulant; stimulants can have nasty effects on body's health. They are hard on the heart among other organs. If you download the drug prescription information, the lists of adverse effects on the body and brain will be there. They also cause irregular sleep patterns and mood swings. They have been linked in recent studies to depression in long-term users.

You may be able to see results with it, but if you then stop taking it, you will go back to the way you were because there are no permanent results...otherwise, everyone would only take them for a short time and then be done with them, but if you read up on this whole issue, it is recommended that the drugs are taken for life and alot of people do despite the dangers. I've never heard of anyones' ADD "cured" by a short run of Ritalin. These are meant to be drugs for life.

I read once that when drugs come in to control the brain, the brain has a built in defense of downregulating receptors to control the onslaught of the drugs over time....this means after awhile, the same dose of drug will no longer work because the brain has shut down the receptors for the drug in order to defend itself. This is called "tolerance", which literally means your brain has less working receptors then it did before you started the drug. Less receptors mean there will be an increased need for more drug to do the previous job.

Higher doses solve the problem but then tolerance can build again to those doses.....so long term use can result in less receptors working then when you started the drugs and the need for higher doses to get any results. Higher doses mean more danger to health and more side/adverse effects. And obviously, the brain will not be able to function very well without the medication at that point....

Receptor shutdown is a form of brain damage I think....but reversable from what I read, although it could take a long time to reverse depending on the damage.

Obviously, people taking Ritalin on as-needed basis (not everyday) and get off it for long periods will not run into tolerance as easily as they give the brain time to recover from the drug more. But eventually, they can develop problems as well.

Look, even smoking takes a long time to cause lung cancer or other lung problems. And there are lots of dangers in life to our health other than Ritalin. But isn't it a wise choice to avoid as many of these dangers as possible? For example, just because there is air pollution doesn't mean we might as well smoke too....

I would say Ritalin is a danger to health and mind; not the only danger but is one easily avoided by not taking it. One the other hand, we can't really avoid the air we breath....but, we can avoid smoking.

Maybe you could benefit from other ways of learning. Type in "Visual Spartial Learners" in your search engine to see that some people just need a different way to learn. Also, my brother-in-law who was diagnoised with ADD benefited from a tutor. There are all kinds of options besides drugs.

And remember, the chemicals in our brains are manufactured from the food we eat....so try to eat well too (fish is brain-food!) and that may help you some. Exercise is also a great help.

Good luck whatever you decide to do! :wave:
[QUOTE=UARebel]The biggest thing that bothers me is the fact that so many people do not want to consider ADD/ADHD a REAL disorder. And the fact that there is no biological examination to prove it is falce. The root is 3 nuerotransmitters that are insufficient in amount located in the brain: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Research, including PET scan, CAT scan, SPECT and MRI studies, have demonstrated that the brains of people with ADHD are measurably different than others. There differences are the bases for problems which place people with ADHD in a great disadvantage in many circumstances. If you do not believe that this is a provable disorder, i challenge you to go look up research and other information at the American Psychiatric Association and look at different results from different brains. And to add with that being a real disorder, it needs real medication. One shouldn't have to spend his entire life feeling a sense of emptiness, even though people around him are constantly saying, get motivated! Well, maybe he very well can't. If someone has diabetes, they should take insulin. Imagine how diabetics would feel if a group of people always went around saying insulin is not the answer you could die! So before so many people assume that add and its medications are a myth, do more research, and I assure you that you will find that it is very much so real.[/QUOTE]

But, you didn't ask me if I thought ADD was real. It's definately real in my opinion..... only I do not believe those differences in brain activity/learning processes is a real disease. Difference does not=disease. Biologically, we have many differences that sometimes run in groups.....shall we claim people who are left-handed are diseased individuals? Most ADDer's are visual spartial learners from what I've read; this collides with traditional teaching methods. It's probably alot like left brain/right brain users....different, not diseased. It just happens that ADD is not accomodated in our society. Hopefully that will change.

I also cannot tell you how many times I've read about the high IQ's these kids have.....certainly this is not disease in need of medication! And one of my issues is that stimulants are not medication....they are drugs that can speed up the brain....alot more powerful than caffeine which most people think is so horrible for health. Caffeine is incredibly weak in comparison yet we are warned by the medical community to watch for the smallest amounts of it in foods and drink...really now.

Well, I am interested in all this because my nephew was diagnoised with ADD. He first took Adderall. This helped him in school, but after awhile some personality changes occured. This normally sensitive, sweet boy was yelling/ordering at his dad in front of me one day; another day he didn't want to sit next to his mother(whom he adores). Also, after he started meds, he always had a stomachache(listed effect) But it was when he started crying for no reason(emotional lability) his dad went back to the doctor for advice.

Strattera was the magic answer. It worked well for awhile, his moods got better. But soon, the fatigue/sleep side effects kicked in, and would not go away. He was tired all the time. The doctor's answer was to try and up the dose and see. My brother-in-law decided no they won't see.....

Now he's off all meds. He is the sweet kid we knew before, and seems happier. School? Well, a new teacher seemed to connect with his needs and he is getting good grades, something that was supposedly impossible without meds. His younger brother started to have reading problems; instead of going to a doctor, the parents hired a tutor, which is working out beautifully.

My ADD nephew is fine; he plays sports, is learning violin. Yes, it's possible without meds. And yes, his ADD was quite real. I don't disagree about it's existance at all....just it's definations according to the psychiatric community and the use of unhealthy drugs.
[QUOTE=brainf0g]Nothing is addictive unless you have the addiction gene. If you have the addiction gene you shouldn't be taking stimulants to begin with. If you are, and you live in California, it is illegal.[/QUOTE]

I find the whole addictive gene thing questionable as some believe addiction can be learned behavior.....of course I am not talking about physical dependancy. THe learned behavior thing can also apply to things other than drugs, for example, abused children have been known to become abusive parents. There are no "abusive genes", but that behavior is an undesirable, compulsive and destructive behavior, much like drug or alcohol abuse. It is learned. Addiction itself is defined by drug-seeking, compulsive behavior.

Take me for example. Not one alcoholic or drug addict in the family. I don't drink, smoke, do any drugs. A few years back, I took my doctor's advice to take benzos for symptoms I later discovered was a reaction to codiene, a drug prescribed for me when I had an illness and which I did not abuse nor was even familiar with.

So, I developed tolerance to the benzo and suffered tolerance withdrawals with physical dependancy. Did I become addicted? No, only physically dependant....when I found out what benzos were, I quickly tapered off them despite the doctor's insistance I was not addicted....well, he was right, I had no compulsions for euphoria, but the dependancy caused me horrible withdrawal-like symptoms......couldn't sleep a wink without them, and even on them I slept very little. Pre-drugs, I slept full nights with no interuption.

I went through withdrawals and it took a long recovery to get off that 2 mgs. Ativan. Had I known beforehand what they really were..."downers" as they are called on the street, I would have never taken one...but I was told they were "medicine", (as Ritalin and other ADD drugs are called) and that's what I thought it was.

I was deceived, and I believe most people are being deceived by the medical establishment on drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall as well.

I don't personally attack anyone on these drugs, by the way. I hope some will simply consider that there is alot of potential , serious damage that can result from these drugs to mind and health.
[QUOTE=brainf0g]Dependency and addiction are two completely different issues. Both go through a withdrawl, but the person with the addiction gene cannot stop thinking about the "drug of choice". Even after they're completely detoxed.

Having withdrawls doesn't mean addiction. Addiction is defined by consequences.

People abused as children have a higher chance of becoming abusers themselves, not because it's learned per se, but because they are affected by this abusive environment during "critical periods" of early development. The way they are affected during these critical periods becomes part of their actual biology.

Therapy can 'fix' this somewhat, but once it's "hard-wired", you're looking at no less than a decade of work to "rewire" these connections as an adult. It isn't a matter of just unlearning behaviors, it's part of your brain's biology.

AD/HD is a biological disorder and can be diagnosed biologically, like I've told you before via SPECT scans.

People with AD/HD have an abundance of Dopamine Transporters compared to someone with a "normal" brain. These additional transporters ADDers have, reuptake dopamine within the synapse, leaving a less than sufficient level for cell communication.

In a basic sense, Ritalin doesn't stimulate the release of dopamine, like Adderall. This is the reason Methylphenidate isn't dangerous like amphetamines *can* be in high doses. Ritalin binds to dopamine transporter proteins, thus blocking the reuptake of the brain's normally released Dopamine in the synapse. This 'naturally' leaves more Dopamine readily available.

Amphetamines can be dangerous if they 'excite' the brain to release more Dopamine than their "threshold". If this happens, free radicals can form and brain damage sets in. This is why antioxidants are key with people taking questionable doses of amphetamines. The limbic system is particularly damaged in high doses of amphetamines. This is why depression is prominent with methamphetamine abusers.[/QUOTE]

Well, at least you know the difference between addiction and dependancy. Lord, the doctors that told me I couldn't be in withdrawals because I wasn't addicted!!! Now, they surely can't be that dumb, they were all board-certified at a top establishment in our area. I think they either were that brain dead, or were given misleading info from drug reps, or simply in denial. Perhaps they believed addiction and dependancy were not separate issues. Perhaps they believe in fairies and goblins too....

I get you on the whole re-uptake thing vs. releasing thing.....yes, no doubt the amphetamines are worse, but re-uptake bothers me too, from what I've learned about it. Reuptake interfers with what is normal metabolism of these chemicals...I'm also referring to AD's and serotonin too. This can cause adverse effects and wear out the receptors, so to speak, over time. The new research on AD's found a damaged serotoinin system from the reuptake serotoin drugs, the SSRis' in rat studies. I know we are different than rats, but those are the same rats that we found got cancer from cigarettes(well, not those exact rats, literally; their heirs perhaps :D )

So if reuptake from SSRi's can damage serotonin receptors after long term use, what about reuptake of other receptors, like dopamine? I think it's worth a thought, you know?

Those brain scans are a good idea, but I still think since all brains are not alike, as in we don't have the same fingerprints, it doesn't prove disease. Large groups of people obviously have this "defect" in common, but there is no proof it's a defect or disease, but rather a different response to learning stimulus. Also, brain chemicals are constantly changing due to growth, food, outside factors, sleep, necessary processing for body functions, etc.

Lots of ADD kids have high IQ's and when they are stimulated correctly, without drugs(tutors, different learning method,etc) they respond. I typed in Visual Spatial Learners and found a whole other view on ADD.

The drugs they give for ADD are questionable, in health and mind's well-being, causing OCD, mood-swings, aggression, sleep problems, stomach aches and fatigue. I know because my nephew was taken off Adderall, then Strattera, for such problems. Off the drugs, he no longer has such symptoms. And a new teacher, a new year brought him a better school year, without drugs....go figure.

So we still do not agree on most things, here, however it was refreshing to hear someone clearly have a hold on the whole addiction/dependancy thing and well put by you... :)





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