"Ritalin for depression? Is that possible?" I have heard this statement from many clients with ADHD who also suffer from depression. The quick answer that it may be effective for some people, but the whole truth is a bit more complex.
What Is Ritalin?
Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a prescription medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is a stimulant that works by interacting with the areas of the brain and brain chemicals that contribute to ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity, lack of impulse control, and inattention.
Ritalin is also gaining other off-label uses such being utilized to treat the symptoms of depression. Off label use occurs when doctors prescribe medications for other conditions other than what they were originally intended.
How Ritalin Works In Treating Depression
As a stimulant medication, Ritalin can be a mood and energy enhancer for those suffering from depression. This is similar to traditional antidepressant medications.
The real answer is more complex however. Because medications, particularly psychiatric medications such as Ritalin and antidepressants, affect everyone differently, what works for your neighbor may not work for you. Often, there is a bit of trial and error in determining what works best for each individual.
As a result, try not to become impatient or frustrated. Work in conjunction with your doctor in order to determine the best treatment plan. Over time, you will discover a nice balance - the healthiest and most effective approach to relieve your ADHD symptoms.
However, although Ritalin is sometimes used in the treatment of depression, depression may also be a side effect in a small number of people taking Ritalin. Keep in mind, however, that such side effects typically occur in only a small percentage of those taking this medication.
If you or your child is taking Ritalin and you notice symptoms of depression, consult with your treating doctor right away in order to discuss other treatment options. Also, depression may also be a sign of Ritalin withdrawal.
If you experience any serious or debilitating symptoms while taking any psychiatric medication, seek emergency medical attention. Report any symptoms or unusual reactions to your prescribing doctor.
As always, remember to only take your prescription medications as directed by your doctor. Do not skip or alter doses, or take any mediation that is not meant for you.
Get Dr. Kensington's FREE ADHD Newsletter!