ADHD - Research on Ritalin

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Tess Thompson



As per the estimate of Surgeon General of the US, ADHD occurs in three to five percent of school going children. It is more common in boys than in girls. One of the most common ADHD treatments is the use of pharmaceutical drugs, though more and more people are willing to try out natural medicines for ADHD. Experts opine that for a maximum benefit, ADHD treatments should be have a combination of drugs with behavior modification techniques.

Ritalin (Methylphenidate) is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs and it is also one of the most extensively studied drugs prescribed for children. It has been around for more than fifty years and it is estimated that seventy to seventy five percent of children who are administered this drug benefit from it. Ritalin is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It is supposed to amplify the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, thereby improving ‘attention’ and ‘focus’.

What this means is that the brain can then focus on one thing at a time, thus reducing distraction. It is also supposed to improve the motor skills. It is a short acting medicine, which begins to work within fifteen minutes and its effect lasts for about four hours.

One apprehension that people have with the use of stimulants is that they suspect it can become habit forming. However, studies have shown that it cannot become addictive if taken in the right dosages. On the other hand, studies have shown that ADHD people when treated with stimulants like methylphenidate, when compared with ADHD individuals who were not treated with this formulation, are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol when they grow older.

A pharmaceutical drug will always have side effects. It is for this reason that natural remedies for ADHD are becoming popular with people across the world. Ritalin is supposed to cause loss of appetite, difficulty in sleeping headaches, blurry vision and dizziness. Most of these problems are reported when the physician or the parents are not careful with the dosages. It is prudent to first start with a trial dose to understand the response of the child to this medicine and then increase the dosages to the required levels.

Monitoring the diet has also shown to have a beneficial effect. In one of the clinical studies, Ritalin was compared with food supplements in children diagnosed with ADHD. The dietary supplements used in this study were a mix of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, amino acids, essential fatty acids, phospholipids, and probiotics that attempted to address the biochemical risk factors for ADHD. It was found that the benefits of dietary supplements were equivalent to the benefits of Ritalin.

Hence before putting your child on a treatment regimen that is focused on drugs, it is prudent to evaluate alternative treatments like natural remedies for ADHD that can benefit your child.

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