March 24, 2023

Near the start of my ADHD journey, long before I got officially diagnosed, I wondered what it felt like to take a stimulant like Ritalin. And so if you are someone who thinks they might have ADHD and has wondered about the benefits of stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall, I thought I’d explain how they effect me and what benefits I have seen.

Now like most people who get diagnosed with adhd later in life for diagnosis the road to that diagnosis begins with us we make a discovery ourselves we read something or we get talking to somebody and something sets the the cogs turning and we start putting two and two together it’s not the sort of disorder where you sort of be walking through a medical practitioner’s

Office and they go oh my god look at him he’s got adhd somebody pull up a couch let’s diagnose him it’s actually much more mundane than that and in fact it’s one of the reasons why lots of adults never get diagnosed in the first place because people are not looking for it and one of the questions that i asked myself as soon as i had this inkling in my brain that

I had adhd before i was officially diagnosed with it was what the hell is it like to take these drugs that are used to treat it ritalin and adderall are of course quite famous drugs and they were the two brand names that popped into my head when i started thinking about the medication and i honestly wondered what on earth it was like to take these things and

How they helped and so that’s what i wanted to talk about today so if you’re at the start of your adhd journey and you’re thinking about going and seeing somebody to find out for sure then allow me to explain uh how it is taking a stimulant from my perspective so a little caveat of course at the start everybody is different we’ll have different physiologies

Different blood types all sorts of stuff going on that i really have no great understanding of now it’s funny of course that we take a stimulant for a disorder which has the word hyperactivity in the name it doesn’t make a lot of sense when you think about it but the truth is that hyperactivity is the result of understimulation in the brain and so we take a

Stimulant to raise those stimulant levels to sort of baseline average brain levels our adhd brains are not producing enough dopamine which is the drug that provides this stimulation it’s a neurotransmitter a really really important chemical messenger in the brain and if you have adhd you just don’t make enough of it and so the stimulants help you with that

Now the first time i took ritalin i honestly had no idea what to expect i didn’t know if i’d get sort of high or i sort of bounce off the walls i didn’t know it would make me sick and that’s for this reason that when you start taking a medication like this the medical professionals do a process called titration where you start on a very low dose and you work

Your way up and up and up in dosage until it stops having further beneficial effects so on the momentous day when i sat down at my work desk and for the first time took a uh stimulant drug ritalin with my morning coffee i have to say i was distinctly underwhelmed and so actually i felt absolutely nothing there was no kind of buzz i didn’t sort of start bouncing

Off the walls or anything and it wasn’t until about of 90 minutes or two hours later that i realized that what it had done very subtly was kind of tuned down the background noise the distractions around me and when i looked at my computer screen after that time i realized i’d basically just been plowing through my work for about sort of an hour straight which

Is absolutely unheard of for me now over time my dosage of ritalin has increased i didn’t stay on 10 milligrams for very long let me tell you because i found it ran out expired finished working pretty quickly and now i’m on getting on for sort of 80 to 90 milligrams of ritalin a day i take my ritalin in 10 milligram pills and i really like this method of taking

Them because it means i can tweak the dose according to what i’ve got going on in my life so for instance if i’m just going out for the day and there’s no great need for me to be super switched on and clued in and focused on a task then there’s really no point in taking them and i don’t bother however when i do take them and i’m now sort of a year into my little

Adhd journey with ritalin i’ve found that the way it works is it enables you to concentrate on singular thoughts in your mind instead of multiple ones but of course it’s not just the focusing on a task that uh ritalin helps with it’s also beginning the task in the first place and this was a huge one for me uh because endless times you know i would be asked to do

Stuff and it just wouldn’t get done because with the adhd brain the unstimulated adhd brain with the very low dopamine levels it’s just impossible to summon up this magical willpower to do a task if it doesn’t interest you and those of us with adhd know that when something does interest us we have absolutely no problem in getting stuck into it in fact people talk

A lot about this hyper-focused state where we’re super interested in something and we kind of zone in on it and there’s this so-called adhd superpower and so there’s this two-fold positive effect from the ritalin for me which is firstly that i can begin a task if it doesn’t interest me overly and secondly it means i can persist at the task hopefully until it’s

Done now the ritalin doesn’t make you suddenly enjoy jobs that aren’t interesting but that’s never really been the problem for any of us with this issue we understand that there are things that we have to do we’re self-aware i know that i have to do some work that may not necessarily be the most interesting thing in the world because i’ve got a mortgage to pay and

Bills to pay and groceries to go and buy and all that kind of stuff and so we have to do these things we know that that has never been the issue we’re self-aware the issue has been this in ability that we’re incapable of just getting going and powering on through it and so if i was asked you know what it was like to take written and i’d say it was just the most

Normal thing in the world what it does is make an adhd brain much more like a sort of typical average human brain it just lifts us up to the baseline level so basically for the duration of the time in which that medication is having its effect we’re exactly like everyone else or pretty close to it and so feeling constantly distracted by stuff and being unable

To apply myself to stuff it’s just normal for me that’s the way i was for the vast majority of my life i got diagnosed at the age of 53 which was about 18 months ago and taking ritalin is weird for me in the sense that i’ve never been able to tune out those distractions and i’ve got an insight now that i take this medication into what everybody else has been

Able to enjoy all their lives so when i take my pills i don’t hear the air conditioning unit quite so much i don’t hear the rain on the roof quite so much i don’t hear the car horn blaring in the street as much uh i don’t hear a overheard conversation as much don’t get rid of it all it’s not magical you don’t get into some sort of tunnel zone where only you and

The thing you’ve got to do are sort of present it doesn’t do that it tunes it out uh it turns it down now not long after i got my diagnosis i went back to seeing my psychiatrist and uh had a sort of follow-up conversation about how i’d been since taking the ritalin and we talked about upping my uh dosage because i told him that you know it wasn’t lasting long

Enough to have a sort of meaningful effect on my working day and he laid a little trap for me during that conversation because he said to me you’ve got to be careful that you don’t take too much because it might affect your sleep patterns and i said to him that actually i’d never slept since i’ve been taking these pills and i could take them before going to bed

And sleep like a baby and he said well there you go that kind of proves the diagnosis because somebody who does not have this chronically unstimulated dopamine deprived brain if they take ritalin it would kind of take them up over the top they would be over stimulated they would be hyperactive they would be bouncing off the walls and they certainly wouldn’t be

Getting much sleep so if you’ve been thinking about getting yourself diagnosed and you’re wondering what it was like to take ritalin that’s my take on it as i said it’s my personal view and the way it affects me it affects everybody slightly differently i guess but the the core of it is simply that it boosts dopamine levels in the brain it’s not an evil thing and

If you’re a parent and you’re looking at this video because you’re thinking about getting this medication for your child then i can only say to you that this is a non-addictive and largely benign drug that will only have beneficial effects on somebody with an adhd brain so that’s it for this video guys um i did actually start this once already and found myself

Heading off down this rabbit hole talking about stimulants in general and i’m gonna do a video about all that kind of stuff there’s so much to discuss about this subject well anyway i’m banging on hope you enjoyed the video if you did please like comment and subscribe and i’ll see you on the next one thanks guys

Transcribed from video
Ep.4. What it's like to take Ritalin if you have ADHD By ADHD Army