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Taking Adderal, Ritalin or Concerta for Cognitive problems?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by BEG, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. BEG

    BEG Senior Member

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    My physician gave me a script for Adderal for for my cognitive problems. This is becoming my worst symptom, no short-term memory, word searching is exhausting, can't complete sentences, hard to concentrate. The drain is overwhelming -- like I've been running for hours. It's very wearying and requires as much rest as a physical expenditure.

    I just wondered how these meds have worked for others? If they haven't, what have you tried?

    I'm feeling pretty badly about this symptom right now.:tear:
  2. Otis

    Otis SeƱor Mumbler

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    BE G,

    I've used ritalin, provigil and one other.

    I used them more for energy (at first to be better able to work and later in a last-ditch effort to keep working) and I found two drawbacks. The first was the fine line between energy and getting a bad jittery "buzz" that definitly doesn't help one think or focus. The second was getting pushed into PEM due to pushing beyond what I should have tried to do.

    So that's not a direct answer but a couple of things to watch for.

    Otis
  3. jessjb79

    jessjb79

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    I'm on adderrall now and at first it helped with concentration but now it's kind of like Otis says, and my racing mind certainly can't focus on or complete any task. I continue to take it because without it I would be way too tired to work. It's saved my life in that regard, but probably does make me have 'false' energy and do more than I should. But I doubt my laundry would ever get done without it. If you take it beware of weight loss. Keep eating! It killed my appetite for sure.
  4. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    Take it, but try to be vigilant in respect lowest effective dose and if an opportunity arises where you can do without some days. I know that with Adderall there are some discussions claiming that it is neurotoxic, but everything that I have found that supported this claim was based on doses 4,5 and even 10 times a typical daily dose. The initial studies were also based on methamphetamine.
    Be very cognisant of the amount of sleep your getting and might be a good idea to take Omega 3 Fish oil or something along those lines to support good brain and nerve functon (Good multivitamin or B-Complex).
    Adderall can also be sensitive to acidic environments, in that a very acidic stomach and duodenum(?) make lower absorption, so don't take iit with orange juice. It's also best taken on an empty stomach.
    Take it and hope it works, but if it doesn't try Ritalin. I have heard nothing good about Provigil or Nuvigil
    Good Luck!
  5. HopingSince88

    HopingSince88 Senior Member

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    My worst symptoms are short term memory and unrefreshing sleep. I used ritalin for a while. It worked really well for about a week, but it seemed to build up in my system (although it has a very short half-life, so I don't understand how this happened) - and I was completely unable to sleep and started to feel very 'wired' during the day. So I gave it up by the end of the 2nd week.

    I have total empathy for you. it is very difficult when you can't recall what was just said, or who said it, or you lose your way in the middle of a sentence (for lack of a word, or because you have forgotten what point you were trying to make altogether).

    My part-time job is sedentary, and requires analytical thought (which I surprisingly have no difficulty there), and my interaction with others is minimal...thankfully...I would not be able to work at most jobs and consider myself lucky to be able to have the one that I do. In order to make it out in the world I have adapted by developing coping skills. Here are a few I use for help in memory/cognitive problems:


    • I write everything down. I carry a small notebook with me as well as a cube of post-its.
    • I avoid social situations where there are more than one or two persons. When I can't avoid a group I sit in a corner or at the furthest geographic extreme from the main conversation. If I am at the end of the sofa I only have to deal with the one person next to me.
    • I try to avoid the cocktail party (standing/mingling) type of event, and if I am stuck at one I find a way to sit down someplace, and then I don't move from there. I let others come to me instead.
    • I never answer the phone and let calls go to voicemail, then return them when I feel I can handle it.
    • I use texting on my cell phone instead of making a phone call.
    • My office at work is plastered in post-it-notes (which I transfer into a Franklin Covey planner to keep track)...often I just tack the note to the page instead of writing stuff down again.
    • I noticed that I process info better when the sound comes to my left ear, so I position myself properly when I am in a conversation. I also only place my phone to my left ear when I do talk on the phone.
    • I learned how to read lips (somewhat). Somehow this helps my 'hearing.'
    If you do decide to try meds for this, just be aware that they may affect your sleep.
  6. Rockt

    Rockt Senior Member

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    My experience with Ritalin is similar to above reports: worked well for about 2-3 weeks, over-did it, got PEM, never worked as well after.

    I worry that with these kinds of sitmulating drugs, (Ritalin is an amphetamine right?), might do more harm than good, long term. You're stimulating a beleagured brain - I don't think that's a good idea.
  7. BEG

    BEG Senior Member

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    Thanks so much Hopingsince88, Otis, August 59, and jesseb79 for your very informative comments. :Retro smile: I noticed a theme running through them and will certainly take that into consideration.

    Yes, Rockt, Adderal and Ritalin are stimulants which require a new written prescription every month.

    HopingSince88, those are very good coping mechanisms for those trying to work and for coping at home, too.:victory: You might consider a separate thread.

    BE G :sofa:
  8. Jerry S

    Jerry S Senior Member

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    Hi BE G,

    I lasted on Adderal only for a day. There was some increase in the ability to focus, but I still wasn't able to do anything with what I was focussing on. I could read a few more lines at one time, but I couldn't make much sense of what I read.

    The stimulant effect was very unpleasant. I don't even use caffeine anymore. I loved coffee.
  9. BEG

    BEG Senior Member

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    Thanks for the input Jerry. I'm sensitive to stimulants, too. I mix my coffee, 2/3 decaf and 1/3 caf. How do you manage with cognitive problems now? Have they lessoned for you?
  10. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    This is just my two cents Brown-eyes, but I would think that that last thing that a doctor should prescribe is a stimulant like Ritalin or Adderal, when the body is shouting at us to slow down, and when the adrenals are possibly overtaxed.

    And why your doctor would prescribe it for concentration problems is confounding, unless he's using the ADD, ADHD model that has so many kids overmedicated today (instead of looking at all the artificially flavored/colored frankenfoods they're eating/drinking with all the MSG, Nutrasweet, etc..). :confused:

    I'm just a dumb schmoe, but I guess I would try and address the source or the cause(s) of the brain fog...which of course could be many...but others above have listed some possibilities.

    The toxins (aldehydes) from candida or other infections can cause huge brain fog issues, and some people have found different types of b12/folic acid to be helpful. JanisB posted a thread on the Vinitsky protocol, that uses a specific ratio of b12/folic acid that she says has helped (so far) eliminate that overstimulated feeling for her and a few others she's in touch with.

    The trace mineral 'molybdenum' helps some with brain fog, because it helps process the aldehydes from a candida/yeast/fungal infection.

    Also, manganese (not magnesium, although that can be helpful for some) along with b-6 is supposed to help convert glutamate into it's cousin, 'gaba', the calming neurotransmitter.

    Just my two pennies. :Retro smile:
  11. Jerry S

    Jerry S Senior Member

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    I don't manage very well. I use some of the tips Hoping suggested. (Thanks, Hoping!) I never see people anymore, so conversations aren't a problem. I don't answer the phone unless it's a trusted friend or unavoidable. I have talking caller ID so I don't have to get up when the phone rings. Mostly, I stick to a routine and try to do as little thinking as possible.

    I listen to audiobooks rather than trying to read. I often have to repeat a passage three or four times to understand what's being said. I find it helps to use closed captioning when I watch TV. The multiple inputs give me a better chance to understand dialogue. And, I can keep the volume lower.

    When I'm having a better day, I do the more difficult things like writing checks or ordering groceries online. Almost all my bills and money matters are on automatic payments.

    My doctor told me giving up all caffeine for six months would improve my sleep. It hasn't. Then, he was the one who prescribed the Adderal.

    Best wishes,
    Jerry
  12. BEG

    BEG Senior Member

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    Frankenfoods.:D I do try to avoid the neuortoxins. Thanks for your info, dannybex. It's duly noted. In the past, I've had luck with acetal-L-carnitine for the brain.

    BE G
  13. ramakentesh

    ramakentesh Senior Member

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    yeah that is me to a tea - I have POTS but I think its starting to be accepted that many CFS patients have OI or POTS - and reduced blood flow to the brain seems to be a common theme.
  14. BEG

    BEG Senior Member

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    Is reduced blood flow the reason for cognitive dysfunction? I'm not up to date on the research of our brains. Does anyone know something more recent than punctate lesions/holes, loss of IQ points, and shrinking of grey matter? Perhaps there is a thread on this?
  15. pamlady

    pamlady Guest

    I've been on adderall for several years now, and it helps keep me functional. I haven't noticed any truly adverse effects, including so-called "false energy" -- with energy, I either have it or I don't, and adderall gives me enough energy to get through the day. (I am 62, have beeen ill for more than 35 years). I do have a bit of shakiness, as with too much coffee, but it's a minor effect given the benefits I get. One problem is that over time you may need to increase the dose. I started with 20mg tabs 1x day, then after about 2 years increased to 1.5 tabs/day and now after about 4 years am up to 2 tabs/day. I don't have any trouble resting or napping, and I constantly monitor myself to keep for pushing too much. If I need to go out and do things where I can't lie down or nap, I take an extra 1/2 tab and it keeps me going. So far, I cannot attribute any "crash" to use of adderall, but as usual to doing too much. If you have trouble sleeping I suggest you ask your doctor about clonodine, which basically turns off the action of adderall in your brain. Prior to taking adderall, I was on a drug called Cylert for more than 20 years, with no ill effects. It was an alternative to ritalin, but unforturnately is no longer made. Anyway, I would say adderall is worth a try, you won't get addicted, if you need it. My doctor says adderall replaces a deficit of one of the neurochemicals (can't remember which). Although it is amphetamine salts, it is not the same as methamphetamine and should not be confused with it. Good luck.
  16. BEG

    BEG Senior Member

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    pamlady, I'd say for a first post, you are off to a super start. And a great big welcome, too. :Retro smile::Retro smile: Thanks for a thorough review of your situation with adderal. My doctor prescribed 10 mg tablets. I read that the capsules can be opened and the contents put on a spoon with applesauce and swallowed whole. I may start with half the dosage taking it slowly to begin with.

    BEG
  17. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    That could be a reason, but it could also be due to reduced blood -- i.e., low blood volume. If a majority of PWC's are about a liter low -- then blood goes where it absolutely needs to (say digestion for example) and then might be reduced to the brain at times.

    ?
  18. Katja

    Katja

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    Ritalin works for me

    Since january this year I'm on Ritalin. I was very reluctant, but I'm glad I've given it a try.

    I want to tell you about my experiences with this drug, but at the moment I'm pretty tired, so I think there will be a lot of misspellings etc in my narrative. :ashamed:

    Well, seven years ago I was at my worst, I became bedridden for some years, and couldn't tolerate daylight, noises, or other incentives (I even couldn't tolerate bright colours anymore - while I'm a painter).
    When I recovered a little bit, I could tolerate more, but not much. For example: when I'd seen a friend or family, I needed some days alone to recover from it. Another thing was, I was very chaotic. Most of the time it was impossible for me to keep my house tidy, just because of this. Same problem with my bills etc, my administration was a chaos too and I couldn't help it. I felt powerless. It seemed like my brain didn't work anymore.
    I thought I was so chaotic and intolerant because I was to exhausted.

    In january I tried Ritalin, and within a few days a lot of these symptoms disappeared! No chaos anymore, I could clear my house and do things that needed to be done. I became much more practical.
    I can tolerate much more, so I can see more people. I can do more things a day.

    Ritalin doesn't make me hyper. Maybe it gives me more energy, but I think I save a lot of energy because I'm less chaotic and don't get ill from noises etc anymore.

    I still don't have the energy I would have without cfs, but my energylevel is maybe 250% of the energy I have without Ritalin (I still often need rest in the afternoon). And still my immune system doesn't work good.

    My boyfriend, who didn't knew me before I had cfs, almost didn't recognize me when I'd started with Ritalin. Need I say more? :D For him it felt like he had another girlfriend. He's also very happy with the healtier and happier me.
  19. HopingSince88

    HopingSince88 Senior Member

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    Katja,

    Does the ritalin interfere with your night-time sleeping at all? What does are you taking, and is it time-released?
  20. Katja

    Katja

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    Hopingsince88, I take the methylfenidaat (Ritalin) which is not time-released. There's a time-released methylfenidaat called Concerta, but my insurance doesn't pay for that. They do for Ritalin.
    I take every 4 hours 10 mg, so 3 or 4 times a day. It's a low dosage. My doctor said I could have troubles with my sleep, he told me that's why most people with adhd take at 16.00 the last dose. I found out that it doesn't interfere with my night -time sleeping. Before I took Ritalin I used 1 gr melatonine, and I still do. Sometimes I take the last tablet Ritalin at 20.00
    But when I'm tired in the afternoon, I sleep less easily on Ritalin. This afternoon I didn't took my second 10 mg because I had to get some sleep. When I woke up I took a tablet.

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