Study says Ritalin has no effect on ADHD

By Rio Fantastic · Nov 17, 2007 · Updated Nov 18, 2007 · ·
  1. Rio Fantastic
    SATURDAY NOV 17, 2007 ( -- Researchers have now found that treating children with [FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Attention [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Deficit [/FONT][FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Hyperactivity [/FONT][FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]Disorder[/FONT][/FONT] (ADHD) with drugs is not effective in the long-term.

    New research showed after three years of treatment, drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta did not work better than behavioral therapy.

    Even worse, long-term use of the ADHD drugs can stunt children's growth among other side effects.

    One study reported in 1999 showed medications are more effective than behavioral [FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]therapy[/FONT][/FONT] for ADHD for a period of one year. The study booted sales of the drugs.

    Professor William Pelham of the University of Buffalo, who studied the long term effects of the ADHD drugs, said in his report, "I think that we exaggerated the beneficial impact of medication in the first study."

    "We had thought that children medicated longer would have better outcomes. That didn't happen to be the case. There's no indication that medication's better than nothing in the long run."

    Dr Pelham said [FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif]ADHD [/FONT][/FONT] had "no beneficial effects" and in fact they caused negative impact on children's growth.

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  1. entheogensmurf
  2. rocksmokinmachine
    I personally think its the unethical behaviour of pharaceutical companies that are trying to create a new generation of addicts. To parents, methylphenidate and other amphetamines such as the (in)famous desoxyn (better known as methamphetamine) are acceptable. But what would the punishment be for a dealer selling a young child methampehtamine on the street?

    I think cognitive behavioural therapies and other such treatments are the best option, allthough most of the time I do agree with the medical model. But from an ethical standpoint. This is wrong.
  3. Alfa
    Studies have been done in The Netherlands with putting groups of ADHD kids on a special(organic food) diet which slowly builds up to normal food; identifying the food allergy that causes ADHD / ADD. Removing the food (additive) that causes ADHD also resolves a number of apparently related physical problems, like belly ache, diarrhea, tiredness, bloody noses, headache and sleeping problems. This method works most effective for kids that experience these physical problems.
    The studies have been successful, but have been plugged by politicians. Likely this has to do with the pharmaceutical lobby, which is very influential in the Netherlands. Recently the Lancet accepted a new study proposal that will include 200 kids being studies in relation to this.
  4. rocksmokinmachine
    Something to add that may not be relevant but I thought I'd post here.

    Hyperactivity and insomnia in adults is usually down to poor exercise and poor diet. I think this is something that should be tried first before putting the poor children onto amphetamine based medication.

    I totally agree there Alfa
  5. Each Hit
    here's an interesting tidbit i found on adhd:

    School troublemakers can make the grade
    Good news for parents: a pair of new studies finds that kids who act up or zone out in the early school years need not fall behind as they ascend to higher grades. An analysis of 16,000 schoolchildren found that those who routinely disrupted class or picked fights in kindergarten were reading and doing math as well as intellectually matched but more docile peers by fifth grade. More telling were math scores at ages five or six, which strongly lined up with academic success in fifth-grade boys and girls alike. A second study found that kids diagnosed with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) had brains that developed normally, but just at a slower pace than their counterparts—as opposed to showing some permanent deficit. Researchers cautioned that the results do not mean that troubled kids can succeed without specialized help, but rather that such help may be working. (press release, Developmental Psychology paper; New York Times)
  6. enquirewithin
    It makes sense that treating the cause of ADHD will be much better than treating the symptoms with a fairly toxic drug!
  7. Psych0naut
    Plenty of children chug sugar loaded drinks like coca cola like it's water, and they stuff themselves with other high energy sugar products, like snickers and mars candybars, or they drink a lot of energy drinks like AA, Extran and Aquarius. That's the reason a lot of them have ADHD like symptoms, they consume way too much sugar. A lot of them though, do really have ADHD/ADD unrelated to their diets. First put them on a normal diet, avoiding sugar and all other added crap, see if it shows any result, than continue with other therapy, and if needed, medication. For someone who really has ADD/ADHD and doesn't respond to therapy, medication like Ritalin or amphetamines can be a blessing, and brighten the rest of their lives. It did for me.

    At a young age, therapy is much more effective though, so this should get priority, at a older age is becomes much less effective, and this is the age at when it really proves if they need stimulants or not. ADD/ADHD is cause by a deficiency of dopamine in certain parts of the brain, which is corrected by taking dopaminergic stimulants, which often prove the most effective, even in the long run. IME I doubt it therapy is more beneficial than medication.
  8. Matt The Funk
    Exactly! All these kids have horrible diets and take copious amounts of caffeine and they wonder why they're jittery or can't sleep?
  9. rocksmokinmachine
    Good diet and excerise is also a good cure for insomnia. Aswell as ADHD. Theres still just badly behaved kids out there diagnosed with ADHD being treated with amphetamines.
  10. Triple7
    It is said that Ritalin has the reverse effect on ADHD kids, than on others. Well, I've asked two and they experienced there is no such effect what it is intended for. What I don't get, is why is it said that this treatment doesn't help adults? Or cannot adults have ADHD?

    Is there any SWIY who can really confirm that these speed medications really calm down kids (and adults?) and make them more focused? Does learning curve incrase? Can one learn languages faster? Can one solve mathproblems faster?............... or is my question fucked up? Sorry, for seeing things in my narrow way, but I think these speed treatments are not good, it is just another cash cow.

    What I ask, is that SWIY confirms that this treatment works. SWIY should not point to studies or articles. SWIY should be a healthy person, not someone who crawl for speed (for example for use it against tiredness), and SWIY should not be a soldier. I ask for opinion based on SWIY only, not some opinion from some "experts". To me, SWIY opinion weights more than any experts opinion.
  11. Psych0naut
    Adults can have ADHD/ADD just as well as children or teens. Stimulant medication does indeed make people who have ADHD/ADD more calm and less compulsive, this is often the first effect they notice after starting with stimulant medication. Other effects usually take some longer before they are more noticeable, things like improved motivation and concentration. IME it usually takes a month to one and a half month before my medication reached it's optimum effect, this is with dextro-amphetamine. It really helps me on school work once the medication has reached it's optimum effect. If it were just for it's stimulant effects, it would be inmediately after intake, but for people who really suffer ADD/ADHD it works differently. It doesn't help me keep my motivation and concentration in a obsessive stimulant way, but in the same way as everyone else without ADD does. I don't make my homework just to keep me doing something like one would have on stimulants, not in a compulsive way, but because I know it has to be done, and knowing I have time left to do other things when I finished doing what I need to do, just like with everyone else, without ADD.

    When I had to do an exam, before I was on my medication, I would always be scatterbrained, I would look at the paper and a thousand thoughts would cross my mind, making it very hard to concentrate on the one thought I needed, what the answer would be. It's really frustrating if you properly learned for an exam, you know the answers, but you just can't keep your attention on the thing you need to keep it. It's like trying to keep a conversation in a restaurant with the person sitting opposite of your table, while everyone in the restaurant is talking very loud. As much as you'd like to follow the conversation, it's just impossible to focus on what the person opposite of you is saying, because of all the noize. This is inmensely frustrating, and can really drive you mad. When I've been taking my dexedrine for a while, I'm just a totally different person, much more relaxed, because I feel relieved from the load on my shoulders. I can do my daily tasks like everyone else again, it makes me feel human again.
  12. Nature Boy
    I guess they think therapeutic solutions are more effective than using Ritalin which, in truth, is probably too strong a drug to deal with what is required. A friend of SWIM's has ADHD and says that Ritalin is highly effective but its effects are a little more intense than they need to be. He finds that smoking a very small amount of cannabis half an hour before a class or a study session definitely helps his concentration. Apparently cannabutter, again in small dose, is possibly one of the best ways to deal with ADHD.
  13. Psych0naut
    Cannabis makes SWIM somewhat paranoid, and just fucked up in general, weed especially, and hash to a lesser extent. For everyone it's different though, some have the most benefit from Ritalin, other from amphetamines, and other from cannabis or other drugs.
  14. nleksan
    SWIM has been treated for ADD (with "traces" of hyperactivity) for 7-8 years now, and has tried every medication available. He is now prescribed 20mg/day of the "infamous" Desoxyn. It does calm SWIM down and "allow" him to focus, unlike other stimulant medication that "forces" one to focus. It is much gentler as well; very few side effects. SWIM started the medication as a child, and is now an adult, and the effects have remained the same. The only problem SWIM really has is that if he takes his medication for multiple months (3,4+) without a break, it causes a sense of depersonalization and social awkwardness. This sucks for SWIM, as he is normally a very social person.

    SWIM does not take his medication to get high, and never has. In fact, sometimes he can't even take all 20mg in a day, because it can be a little overpowering even. SWIM would equate (from much personal experience, and also from a disbelief of online amphetamine equivalence charts) 20mg of Desoxyn to 35mg Dexedrine, 60mg Adderall (racemic amphetamine), or over 100mg Concerta; but with fewer side effects than any of those.
  15. Rio Fantastic
    I agree with most of you. I think that the recent explosion of learning difficulties and disorders in children is due to food colourings and chemicals in children's diet. I have heard of extensive Ritalin use "zombifying" teenagers, and leaving them dependant on it in later life.
  16. Triple7
    Interesting to read that different brands/makes of speed pills give different effect. SWIM noticed that same pills (non drugs, but still medicines) from different manufacturers had very different effect to some disease. SWIM thinks it could be related to pill-binding material and how the pills were pressed. I'm not relating this binding material to speed pills, just pointing out how "no difference" can make a difference.

    One SWIM said concerta made SWIM want. No other improvement, it was just that SWIM wanted to complete something (for example reading/writing a text). This SWIM doesn't suffer from ADHD/ADD.

    My thought was that the speed pills makes one tense and unfocused, therefore by logic for example cannabis, should be better help than any kind of speed. Quite interesting how things work the reverse when comparing individuals. Makes me think of certain addict who got awake and alert from benzos.

    What could be the mechanism that makes certain persons calm down from speed?
  17. helikophis
    My sister was a part of this study. It was horrible. The ritalin actually seemed to make her behaviour worse. Eventually my parents pulled her out of it. I say eventually but actually it didn't take long. The gorilla who lived under my bed was really happy about this because there was lots of left over ritalin. I'm glad they found that this stuff doesn't work. Recently my five year old cousin was put on the stuff. Does my aunt not remember what happened to B? It has, predictably, led to much worse behaviour, which apparently his psychiatrist views as signs of improvement. I just don't get it.

    I have a lot of trouble "believing in" ADHD. I feel like it is a cover term for various social problems, including caffeine, television, and sugar addiction, poorly disiplined/improperly socialized children, and bad parenting. Children have trouble because of the breakdown of community and functional social support structures, and for this they are treated as though they are ill or somehow defective. I think that the process of labelling people who are psychologically non-mainstream as "sick" is thematically related to the criminalization of the drug user.

    The fact of the matter is that ritalin and amphetamine don't make people better. They do make people _feel_ better, but this is not the same thing. I have seen several cases where use of ritalin and amphetamine resulted in serious energetic/neurological problems, as well as long-term addiction. Trouble paying attention in school? How about we replace it with life-long pain, uncontrolable spasms, nervousness and abnormal behaviour? There are better ways to deal with it.

    This is not to say that there aren't children with trouble paying attention, but that the problem is a social/societal one, not a medical one. We really need to re-evaluate our social structures and the way we raise our children.

    Also, I believe that there are legitimate uses for ritalin and amphetamine, but these need to be de-coupled from the belief that they are somehow theraputic. I suspect that a major part of the reason they are so commonly used is that people who are prescribed them find them useful, not necessarily for direct treatment of the symptoms they are prescribed for, but useful nonetheless. In order to ensure their continued access to the drug, they tell their psychiatrist that they are effective, leading psychiatrists to believe that they are clinically effective.
  18. Potter
    Nobody was put on Ritalin in kindergarten, went from being 5 months behind in class to caught up in a week. The effects were so profound the teachers went to the counselors thinking their parents were threatening nobody or some other form of abuse (they were not told about nobody taking meds). Nobody was able to attend honors classes through high school despite being in resource room. Their test scores regularly put reading comprehension and theoretical math at high school and college levels while practical math hovered around 2nd-3rd grade. When nobody would stop their meds, their grades and school work would immediately slip something fast.

    At the age of 17.5 nobody developed Tourette's Syndrome. One day they noticed their arm twitching a little bit and knew something was up, next night they were experiencing full body convulsions, hours at a time. The doctors thought they were faking it, they were on drugs, all sorts of crazy things. Test results all came back negative (except for morphine, which was weird, as nobody had taken a few codeines in attempt to stop shaking, they claimed this wasn't from that, at the time nobody was not a user of anything besides prescribed stimulants) They were put on haldol for a few days, then klonipin, clonedeine, orap, then nobody's memory gets a bit more the fuzzy. This would lead to an eventual psychotic break, paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations, psychiatric hospitalization and a whole pharmacy of rotating drugs...

    Been a decade, and they still have tics, though not as bad as they once were. Most people have no idea nobody has TS, they can control it in public, for the most part. Those who know, see some of the weird things they have integrated into gestures, ways of releasing the energy in a less spastic way.

    Few years ago nobody decides to get stimulants again to help with school, they had taken a few from friends an knew they didn't make things much worse... Started with Ritalin, that caused a new tic, all the musckes in their chest and stomach would contract and hold till the lack of oxygen was unbearable, few times a night, reduced them to a crying weakling. One week of ritalin and the worst of it didn't clear for another six months. Adderall on the other hand has been wonderful, nobody can sit down and write for hours, study, go to class, not get tired. Doesn't seem to effect the tics at all.

    Nobody went through hell because of drugs, the surface was barely scratched in this post, things were bad for a number of years. Dear reader, you're probably in shock that nobody would go back to the drug that started such torments... Yet nobody did, they knew it saved them from being a failure. Nobody was so far behind in school, they would have been relegated to a life of stupid classes for stupid people. If nobody knew then, what nobody knows now, they'd still take a chance and roll the dice, those little yellow pills saved their life.

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