Patients who have been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) have several medications available to them to treat their symptoms. Ritalin is one of them. It is a slow-releasing form of methylphenidate, a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Developed in 1944 and approved by the FDA in 1955, methylphenidate is one of the oldest medications used to treat ADHD. Typically marketed under the name Concerta, Daytrana or Methylin methylphenidate is an effective treatment option. While Ritalin is available in tablet form and must be taken three times a day, Concerta is a specially formulated capsule that slowly releases its ingredients over time so that the patient doesn’t have to re-administer the medication throughout the day.
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Like all methylphenidate prescriptions, Ritalin works by affecting chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. First, it blocks the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters) at the synapses. Because of this Ritalin behaves like other stimulants. Secondly, this medication promotes the release of more dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Because of the two pathways working together, the increased amount of neurotransmitters are present at levels that improve the symptoms of ADHD but not high enough to induce the euphoria associated with amphetamines and opiates. This means that even though Ritalin is a stimulant that can be addictive when abused, the risk of developing an addiction is low when it is taken correctly.
How to Take Ritalin?
Ritalin is an extended-release medication that is used to treat ADHD in patients age 6 and older. This medication should be taken in the morning with or without food to prevent disrupting the sleep cycle. Be sure to follow the directions on the label. Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet or capsule. Doing so may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time, an action that is potentially fatal.
While using Ritalin, routine visits to your physician are necessary to check your progress. As with any medication, consult your surgeon several weeks prior to the procedure. Because of the effects of stimulants on the body, you may need to suspend use.
Ritalin Side Effects
All medications have the potential to cause unwanted side effects. Some of the more common that can be seen with Ritalin are:
- Mood changes
- Nervousness or irritability
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Loss of appetite or weight
- Excessive sweating
- Stomach pain
While this is not a complete list of possible side effects, some patients may experience others. Signs of a severe allergic reaction such as swelling of the face, tongue or throat, hives, or itching may occur and should be treated by an emergency facility.
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How to Get Prescribed Ritalin?
In San Francisco, patients should seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional. During your examination, your provider will review your medical history and discuss your symptoms and how they affect your day-to-day life. Because other conditions can have some of the same symptoms as ADHD, your doctor will need to determine if those conditions are present as well.
Typically, patients are asked to rate their symptoms as well as a loved one. Once the doctor reviews all of the information, a determination of diagnosis is given. If appropriate, your doctor will prescribe Ritalin or one of the other medications available for ADHD, such as Adderall.
Often, ADHD doctors will also suggest that patients seek the help of a qualified therapist who can offer beneficial coping techniques as well as an outlet for the emotions that can accompany this disorder. Though many patients are hesitant to see a counselor, most doctors find that a combination of pharmaceutical treatment and therapy results in better outcomes than just one treatment alone.
It is not uncommon for patients who have ADHD also to have an anxiety disorder or suffer from depression as well. Treating the whole patient will help to alleviate the emotional symptoms that can impede treatment.
Ritalin Treatment in San Francisco
Individuals who live in the San Francisco area that are concerned with the symptoms of ADHD can find help at EZCare Clinic. Our staff is made up of doctors and therapists who are dedicated to working with you to find the best plan of treatment for your specific needs. Our doctors are trained to determine the subtle differences between ADHD and other health issues. If a diagnosis of ADHD is appropriate, they can work with you and the therapist to ensure all your needs are met.
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We are open seven days a week from 11 am to 7 pm. Although appointments are appreciated, they are not necessary. Walk-ins are excepted. You can schedule an appointment online or call us at (415) 966-0848. Don’t wait for the symptoms of ADHD to ruin all that you’ve worked for, call EZCare Clinic today. We can help you feel normal again.