Children on Ritalin: Long Term Effects

by | Jun 22, 2016

Seeing as psychiatrists have been drugging children with Ritalin since the 1970s, some long term effects have now been studied and confirmed. Psychiatrist and whistle blower Peter Breggin reports these possible tragic outcomes for the victim of long term Ritalin use:
•Early Death
•Brain Atrophy
•Drug Addiction
•Institutionalization in a Psychiatric Hospital
There are many reasons why children labeled with some form of hyperactivity and given stimulants suffer these consequences.
According to Breggin, when a child is first given a stimulant drug, he or she experiences the adverse side effects of anxiety, depression, agitation, insomnia, psychosis and even aggression.
Compounding the Tragedy
Unfortunately, most psychiatrists are unable to observe the obvious: that the drug he has given the child is causing these effects. So instead of weaning the child from the damaging pharmaceutical, their faulty science leads them to believe the drug has somehow uncovered additional mental disorders.
What follows is a veritable cocktail of drugs to fix these supposedly unmasked set of problems.
OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) can be one result of psychiatric drugging. A child becomes less social and his spontaneous behavior may be stifled.
Dr. Breggin reports, “The initial diagnosis of ADHD ruins the child’s sense of personal responsibility and self-control, so that the child no longer thinks he can control himself. This almost inevitably disrupts emotional growth and renders the child less able to grow up into a mature adult.”
Ritalin and Brain Changes
Lead researcher Joan Baizer of the University of Buffalo points out that “…[Ritalin] has the potential for causing long-lasting changes in brain cell structure and function.”
Other studies show that the long-term Ritalin side effects can cause the onset of depression as well as possible brain injury to the frontal lobes.
Ritalin induced brain damage is similar to frontal lobe syndrome, normally caused by head trauma. Frontal lobe syndrome can cause a person much difficulty in inhibiting inappropriate behavior.
Because youngsters’ brains are still developing, they are much more susceptible to Ritalin’s negative effects.
As of 2014, three million US children had been prescribed ADHD drugs. This equates to a 2,000 percent increase since the mid 1980s. Due to peer pressure, the abuse has spread beyond the children who have been diagnosed as having hyperactivity. It is common knowledge that Ritalin is now a popular street drug.
Experimenting on Mice and Children
The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that investigators funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed Ritalin could cause physical changes in neurons in reward regions of mouse brains – in some cases, these effects overlapped with those of cocaine. Although millions of kids are already on this drug, NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow states, “This study highlights the fact that we know very little about how methylphenidate [Ritalin] affects the structure of and communication between brain cells.”
Since researchers have determined that Ritalin can and does damage a mouse brain, why does it remain on the market, the drug of choice for treatment of rambunctious (many would suggest normal) children? The psychiatrists’ inability to explain how Ritalin affects the brain is no excuse for its continued marketing.
In fact, one suspects most parents would find the psychiatrist’s utter detachment from the possibility of damaging their child’s brain rather distasteful. In the words of Dr. Peter Breggin, “Psychiatry has never been driven by science. They have no biological or genetic basis for these illnesses and the National Institutes of Mental Health are totally committed to the pharmacological line… There is a great deal of scientific evidence that stimulants cause brain damage with long-term use, yet there is no evidence that these mental illnesses, such as ADHD, exist.”
Many parents have found it wise to heed the words of this leading  psychiatrist with no vested interest in the marketing and prescribing of Ritalin and similar pharmaceuticals.


  1. adhd moose

    I started on this garbage when I was in 4th grade and they still made me repeat 4th grade. My dad was dead set against it but mom forced the issue. I felt like a zombie on the stuff. Not living, just existing and doing what I was told without a single thought of my own or any ambition to have fun and be a kid but hey, I was a “straight A student”, just what mom wanted. I started to refuse to take it after 9th grade in high school, immediately my rage and violence started. Got arrested for felony assault of a classmate and expelled from school. I’ve spent the last several decades of my life always on some level of angry with violent outbursts over simple little things. Got me in a lot of trouble and almost killed once. To this day I still deal with the anger issues and anxiety that crap caused. Every day I wish it would stop and I could be a normal guy that doesn’t have to spend every single waking moment focusing on controlling his rage. Every day I wake up and hope this isn’t the day I lose control of the monster inside me. I have trouble keeping a job, keeping a relationship, keeping friends and just living a normal life exhausting… I know it’s an endless struggle that will never stop and frankly I’m tired of it.

    • Bo Stevens

      Me too. Similar circumstances and outcomes. Crazy, it was like reading about myself (almost). So sorry you went through it too, I feel you. The ONLY things that seem to help me now are God and some good, consistent meditation (breathing exercises, eyes closed; thinking of places that bring me solace and peace from God). God bless you, I will pray for you too.

    • Wood808

      My son names his mom as the person responsible of introducing him to the world of drugs. While in intermediate school he read the label of his ADHD medication and noticed the word amphetamine. He said he felt since he couldn’t be accepted for who he was and needed the drug to be accepted then he might as well take crystal methamphetamine with others as part of a group. I was like your father. His mom on the other hand is now trying to force Invega Sustina on him. My son is now in his thirties. Does this make any sense? What ever happened to simply loving a child for who he or she is? We need to band together and sue the American Psychiatric Association and pharmaceutical companies for damages done to families!

    • Evan Villamonte

      I’d swear I wrote this …. Can you email me and maybe we can share stories? names Evan, nice to meet ya! Crazy how similar our stories are ?!?!?

  2. person19

    If you’re a parent contemplating whether you should put your child on any ADHD stimulant please read this. Although these are just anecdotes, I feel like I’m reading my own story. This drug really is awful. I’m 19 now, was put on adderall at 7, and continued taking it until the end of middle school. I absolutely hated it. I was underweight, as a result of not eating, was constantly nervous (high heart rate), anti social, and all around a mess. I remember crying in the morning because I didn’t want to take the drug. It was a huge issue and sometimes I would get pulled out of class so the nurse could force me to take it – my parents supplied my teachers with a stash in case I refused in the morning. I never had friends, was always an out cast, and to this day still considered an eccentric odd ball – facial twitches, OCD, obsessive personality, impulsive ,etc.. What hurts me the most is it’s impact on my sexual characteristics. These stimulants are proven to restrict blood flow in the penis and testicles – it’s called vasoconstriction. For a child to experience this all day while still growing is terrible. My father and male siblings are all extremely endowed. It’s something that’s runs in my family, yet I feel as if I have the package of a 12 year old. This is enough for some men to kill themselves. It’s sad that before I went on it I was a normal, social, good looking, and smart kid who everyone liked. If only I wasn’t forced on a schedule 2 controlled substance as a 7 year old boy. I don’t think I can ever forgive my parents.

    • Nick Patuto

      My parents put me on this at 11 years old and my life has been a wreck ever since. I’m anxious all the time. How have you coped ?

    • Julia

      Holy sh*t. That sounds like child abuse. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I have add but was never put on medication thanks to my parents knowing better. They went the difficult route of homeschooling me and changing their parenting tactics to fit my personality better. I know not every parent has the ability to do that though, so I guess I’ll just be grateful I was one of the lucky ones.

    • Marco del Monte

      Yea I was put on it at like 10 years old. Lost my appetite and energy making things worse. Luckily at 14 I was taken off but yea, so stupid to put kids on this stuff.

  3. Jim

    Ritalin made life better for my teachers but wrecked my health. On was on it from about age 10 to 13. It delayed puberty till I was 14 years and 5 months old and caused heart problems I deal with to this day. Back in the 70’s much of this was not known but at 56 my health and life were hurt by this drug.

    • Daniel McLaughlin

      I too was forced this between the age of 7 and 14. I want my life to be over. I can’t deal with day to day life because of the long term side effects. My life is hell

    • TJ

      Daniel, please don’t do anything about taking your life as i just lost my brother almost 2 months ago from depression and he left behind his wife and 4 kids…I have the highest fear possible of death…but i hate my life at the same time….what long term side effects did you suffer from?

  4. Larry Miller

    Born in 1983. Started taking ritalin via school via doctor saying I had adhd. I took it tell I was about 14 when I realized I was thr only kid going to the school office after lunch to take his drugs.. other kids made fun of me for it. I dont remember much from those years. My son is now turning the age I started to take this drug. It brakes my heart but also makes me happy knowing I won’t put him through anything like this.

    • Aaron

      My goodness, thank you so much for waking up and not putting your son on those awful drugs. Psychiatry is evil. They have a lot of blood on their hands and in their wallets.

  5. Stephanie

    How interesting to read. I made straight As in school but was constantly talking and disruptive and bored, so easily distracted. I had to do 1 problem on homework, get distracted by something do that for a while and then come back or I would have to finish my homework in the class period before it was due. It was maddening. I was finally diagnosed as an adult and it was a life saver for me. I can finally attack things that seemed like mountains when they were small tasks. It’s extremely frustrating to not live up to your own expectations and I was severely depressed prior to my diagnosis. I got my BS in molecular genetics and bioinformatics, 6 years after I had started because of depression and finally an accurate diagnosis. My husband has his PhD in molecular genetics, also has ADHD and has taken medication since he was a child. He is able to focus his energy to his work on medication without getting lost by distraction. He had been put in special education classes prior to his diagnosis as a child. There are indeed genetic markers involved in ADHD. As much as I understand & think ADHD is over diagnosed and really misdiagnosed. There is also a great misunderstanding on what to expect. A medicated person should never feel like a zombie. They should be themselves with a little more ability to focus, that’s it. Any more than that and the person is on the wrong dosage. I am deeply sorry if you were negatively impacted or wrongly dosed or felt like you didn’t have a say in the matter. Some people do benefit.

    • ron kallungi

      THEY GAVE IT TO MY SON, and now he is on anti depressants for years now, and just got arrested for first degree murder. I tried to stop it, but dads have no power in family court. Its one of the reasons america is going down the tubes

    • Helpme

      Thank you for the reply . I truly don’t know what to do. My 11-year-old daughter needs some thing. The doctors recommend this. We have done everything over the years brain-based therapy Nuro feedback spec scans. She’s just kind of down and down hill and our life is a mess. But then I read these comments and it scares me. But your, finally made me feel good. There’s so much stigma about mental health and drugs. But when you have a Nuro diverse child what are you supposed to do ?

  6. Derek

    Wow, I thought for a long time that I was alone in my own struggle from being on this horrible drug. But as I read these comments from you all, I am not surprised at what I am hearing. Its all to familiar with my own story. My parents allowed the school system/childrens daycare/prison to coherce them into making me take this “mind control substance”.
    Amphetamines are some of the most powerful drugs a human being can take. From the age of 7 in 1st grade, to the age of about 15 in 8th grade I too took this horrible drug. It caused much destruction both emotionally and physically, from which I still suffer today more than two decades later at age 38. Like many of you, it stunted my growth, suppressed my appetite, and gave me an “addictive personality”. Not to mention always thinking there was “something wrong with me”.
    This drug will destroy your child. If you hate your own seed, hate yourself, and want to destroy your families trust for one another, then Ritalin is the drug for you. Doesn’t that sound great? No, it sounds absolutely insane. Because it is. Drugging your child because you are to lazy to raise them is not the answer. Don’t have kids if you can’t be there to raise them! This is common sense people!

    • Jasmine

      I understand this ..I was proscribed concerta in the 2nd grade …the teacher said I couldn’t pay attention when she needed me to…the lady even called me stupid in front of everyone….I was taking add meds till I reached 16…I had no idea my body became dependent on( methylphenidate) till I stated going to jail for acting out around authority figures…now I’m turning 24 and I can see the hate it out on my mind and body it’s been 4 years since I noticed my addictive personality and and sassy attitude…I need help I hope I can find a cure…hitting myself when I’m mad is not good …I have 2kids now…I’m very hurt and disappointed my parents never paid attention …now I suffer every morning and my parents wake up happy…there father doesn’t love me I’m mad I can’t hold a relationship …sometimes I wanna stab myself in the brain…but I always stop…I hope I never keep going…I have social anxiety where I feel people are listening to me or judging my thoughts…im angry they didn’t give me anything to help with my pain…I have no insurance and I’m sure my parents hate me…this a sad thing to be living with.please help me

    • David Wardell

      This is so true to my own life at 59. I was a Ginny pig. I payed for it all my life.

    • Ohyeah

      Kinda freaky reading all these comments since you guys pretty much cover all of my symptoms.

      Tdlr: i finally understand that being given ritalin from 6 to 12 destroyed me.

      The constant anxiety, ocd, sexuality confusion, lack of self esteem. I now understand it was due to my drug regimen. How could a child and a teen understand that his mind is being split between his sober self and his ritalin self. I was uncontrolable in school so at 2nd grade back in 1996 was put on ritalin 2 times a day, 5 day a week for over 6 years

      My english suck, but thx for all of your guys replies!

  7. TJ

    well on the bright side at least none of you have to deal with being 41/single with a bad temper, hard to get along with, can hardly keep a job or a woman in my life with a juvenile felony for which i won’t get into and a really small “package” from long term usage as a child. Thanks Ritalin.

  8. jocelyn marie hofstede

    i was on this drug from the age of 6 to 15, im 29 now and have had a crap ton of issues growing up, anger kicked out of school paranoia you name it, i now have a eating disorder stomach problems and was recently diagnosed with fibromyalga, at 29, i did some research and noticed that ritilan can cause frontal lobe damage and the frontal lobe plays a part in pain processing to the spinal cord as well as something called GABA which has been shown ritilan reduces, im wondering if they are connected? has anyone else had this issue??

  9. Joyce

    This drug ruined my beautiful, smart sons ability to lead a normal life and he Is 50 years old soon. He was forced to take it for over 10 years as a child and he has to live with us to this day. His hands shake uncontrollably, he is suspicious of everything, he has OCD, he can’t follow conversation, gets angry easily, and so much more. I was told by his kindergarten teacher, in the 70s, that he was her smartest kid. And he was very smart and learned things quickly. That year, his abusive father and I split and on the first weekend visit, my ex and his parents disappeared with my 2 children. It took over a year to find them and many years court battles ensued. I didn’t learn till years later that the old judge presiding had been a fishing buddy to my kids grandpa in their youth. I was just frustrated at the excuses he gave for leaving my kids with these people. By the time my son was in the 5th grade, I realized he was slipping in his learning ability…he could barely write his name! I petitioned the court to have him taken off the meds because the grandparents refused to do so. My son said that when he refused to take it, they would force it in his mouth and hold his mouth shut till he swallowed it…tears 😢. The judge did send him to counseling to be evaluated, not once, but twice at my request. The counselor wrote on the 2nd report that they felt like he should be re-evaluated for the need of this drug. I still have these reports. Yet, the judge still refused to have them to quit giving him Ritalin. He was on it till 18 years old. His brain does not process as it should, avoids crowds, needs things to stay the same daily routine, has no hobbies, avoids doctors, and so many more unusual behaviors but is so loving and protective that my heart aches for what this drug did to his ability to lead a normal productive life. He now takes risperdal to function at the level that he does. If you are reading this..DO NOT let your children take any mind altering drug just because a teacher don’t want to deal with a hyper child or take a little extra time to teach those who need a little more help. Trust me, you will regret it.

  10. connie pickard

    I feel for all of you, it’s so sad, I am so confused. My daughter was on Ritalin for 2 & half years, it was like a wonder drug, she finally was able to concentrate and finally learning, but she wasn’t gaining weight, my Dr said that with Ritalin a child needs a time off. Like with school, he said the only time a child should take it is during the time they are in school and then take a break for the summer. But because she started doing better, but her teachers kept insisting she needed other drugs, I decided to take her off all meds. She still had some mild problems but nothing like everyone else her is describing, she has a much more normal life and healthy attitude towards life. I sure hope you all well. And maybe it only works for certain mild problems. Like it did her idk. But it’s a scary world out there especially when the government and doctors, and pharmaceuticals, are all working together no matter what the cost to you. Just remember as parents you have the right to say no, and same as with adults. Just because you’re Dr says you need it ,isn’t always true. Most really are out for the money. Unfortunately. Good luck everyone.

    • Loretta Roberts

      Well, my son now in his 40’s is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, He took Ritalin from 3rd grade to 16yrs. Wonder if any connection to drug,,,

  11. Steve

    Wow! I’ve been reading everyone’s comments. It’s as if I wrote them myself. I took Ritalin from first grade until 7th grade. I have to say it definitely helped me focus in school but now I’m faced with challenges. If I lose my temper it takes a lot to calm me down. If someone gets me angry I want to fight instantly and if we fight I go somewhere else. I was charged with a felony at the age of 21. I got into a bar fight and hurt 2 guys pretty badly. I’m 42 now, I’m not socially challenged, I’m married and have 4 children. I love my kids and my wife but there’s things about me that I hate! I’ve suffered from anxiety since the age of 24. I take a drug called proaxitine to help increase my sarotonin levels. The drug works but I believe Ritalin is the reason I have this issue. I think it permanently damaged my frontal lobe and now my brain lacks proper chemical balance. The thing that upsets me the most is the way I’ve physically developed. I believe I’m under developed, I took Ritalin during puberty and was embarrassed in the locker room. I never knew why I was smaller and was to embarrassed to say or ask questions. It always took me time to get comfortable with a women but my wife and other experiences I’ve had said I was good in the bedroom, so I’ve been able to live with it but I wish things where different. Also, I’m 5’8 and deep down in my heart I think I should’ve been taller. My dads 6’5 and my moms 5’8. It’s a true disappointment looking back. If I only knew what I know now I would’ve never taken Ritalin. Even knowing it helped me concentrate I never would’ve sacrificed long term frontal injury or physical growth not to mention a very addictive personality. I’m glad I found this page and read everyone’s posts and was able to share

    • Helpme

      I’m just curious how you don’t know you didn’t have the frontal lobe damage prior. My daughter has all of these issues and she’s never been on Ritalin . Anxiety, lose his temper, not focus, frontal lobe issues GABA issues . I know this because we have had brain scans . I’ve tried everything over the years except meds . Nuro feedback, diet, supplements, talk therapy, social groups. What if you had these issues and that’s the reason you were on Ritalin ? I would imagine everybody that goes on this drug has some type of issues.
      How do we know the long term damage wasn’t there to begin with ? Except the part about being smaller .
      I feel bad that you beat yourself up with the what if’s and could haves . When maybe this is how you started and your parents were just doing anything to help you .
      I’m at a crossroads . I feel like I need to have my daughter try it , because of all of her issues . It’s so hard to make decisions like this .
      I’ve been putting medication off for six years.
      I think God made you the way you are and if you have children and a wife and her extremely articulate , you are blessed .

  12. Steven

    I want to point out that the first “authority” cited by this article is Peter Breggin, a questionable source who denies that ADHD is an actual medical condition.
    In the case of Schellinger v. Schellinger, the Judge said “Dr. Breggin’s observations are totally without credibility. I can almost declare him, I guess from statements that floor me, to say the he’s a fraud or at least approaching that…” see here
    I am not qualified to judge how safe ritalin is or isn’t. However, some commentators are acting as if taking ritalin ruined their lives, and I want to make sure they realize at least one of the sources cited here may not be credible.

    • Philip Clinton Thompson Jr

      Just because the source here is not credible doesn’t mean that the meds didn’t ruin their lives. I was out on ritalin at age 6 and have been taking adderall from age 22 until now (34). I was an incredibly confident, creative, and talented kid and was bored as hell in the classroom. I use evoke emotion from other kids that would pop in my head and knew I had something special.

      They out me on ritalin to focus on what other people wanted me to focus on (mandatory education is a human rights violation in my opinion – some kids are not meant to be students and already have an amazing talent and should be allowed to manifest that and focus on their strengths)

      I was out on ritalin and I felt my soul dying but I was too little to advocate for myself. This is probably the greatest human rights violation ever perpetrated on mankind. Because it is considered OK and it not only ruins a person’s life because you never get that brain chemistry back, it changes forever and becomes part of who you are. It can ruin their spiritual life and their next life. It is insidious and accepted in American society.

      Shame on the reactive medical community in my country who prefers drugs and surgery to preventative pediatric care. Shame on teachers for recommending kids be put on drugs. That should be against the law. Our education system and medical system are both laughing stocks and the American people are the ones who pay the price.

      I am 34 and don’t know who I am a y ore, live with my parents, travel the world seeking instant gratification and empty pleasures trying to find a job when Im not even interested in anything because I don’t know who I am. I’ve tried rehab and coming off the meds but it’s too late when you have developed on them as a child and adolescent.

      It’s so sad. 😥

    • Jordan R Newsome

      You are wrong, The people telling their stories here are all frighteningly similar in experience and consequence. The common factor here between all of these strangers is one thing, RITALIN. I went through the same diagnosis at 6 years old, I was given this medicine and have had life-long ramifications as a result.

  13. rhonda

    I married a man that told me after the ” I do’s” he had taken this drug as a young child. Pros: He is a musical genius. Cons: Adult drug addiction, aggression, lack of self control and social skills, gullable and indecisive.
    I doubt he needed the meds as a small child. I am certain he was a normal active intelligent young man whose older adopted parents were trying to mellow him out so they could keep up with him.
    I am not certain but I believe at some point in his third marriage he may have received pyschiatric treatment.
    The oddest thing I recall was when he knew I loved him because he saw two lizards on a rock after he ran off two states away to New Mexico.

  14. Eric

    Can it be reversed? How do you cope or recover? With huge tears I ask.. a regimen of several years.. I knew it messed me up.. only recently have I confessed to my wife, that things just dont fire correctly.. and I am or have been the sum total of every negative circumstance or condition listed per the studies.

  15. JP

    Why can’t we sue Novartis? What is being done to prove this drug has effected the long term cognitive abilities of thousands of adults? Where are the studies???

  16. Chad Fodness

    This is a drug that should never be put back on the market it rueins lives and destroys dreams worse off is that what the doctors fail to tell you is that add or adhd is controllable its not easy but it is contollable threw gaining the childs intrest and challenging his or her mind lets see i was vary smart when it came to school i didnt aply my self it was that eazy for me then i went from eazy to harder then i could imagine when i was in my teens becuse hormones come to play and they were the thing that when combined with the add or adhd i was uncontroolable and thats what ended my schooling

  17. Chaf

    I am 40 years old i was on the strongest dose of ritalin from the age of 6 to the age of 16 i was kicked out of all public schools by the age of 16 as i was an uncontrollable child quote un quote i sence have had bad glitches in my facial exsperssions i have major mood swings i cant controll my anger i snap and it is like the lights are on but no ones home and people get hurt when i come back from it i no i am on my way to prison or jail its an uncontrollable black out so to speak i find that if i let my anger controll the outcome i lose so i try not to get angry i no that ritalin has given me some bad side affects yet i dont no to what exstent when stoped taking it i fond my self self medacting on the sreet with another drug called methanfedamine that maid me feel normal and allowed me to be a funcationing part of society i tried to get put on adderall but they say there is no such thing as adult adhd well i am here to tell you they are wrong live with me for a week and then say that and if this is so then what the hell do i have and what meds can make me normal i am already a convicted felon from the meth so i am prety much screwed for life as far as ever having anything i cant hold a job i have a son who is the same way i was and i no you cant save me but please i beg tjat you help me save him

  18. Bill

    I 100% agree with Sherry, where is the CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT??????
    These pharmaceutical companies DO NOT give a damn about what happens to
    people PERIOD! All they care about is profit from these complete chemical crap pills
    they are giving to young children. And then making it very profitable to the
    crooked doctors that convince parents to give it to there children. In my case my
    parents did not do one word of research before putting me on this crap, when looking back
    my only issue, if that’s what one wants to refer to it as, was I was dyslexic come to find out. Which was
    diagnosed at approximately 50 years old. I pretty much went through life thinking I was really dumb, major
    bouts of depression, anxiety, anger, late puberty, etc…….. Never once did I shower after Phys Ed class in school
    as I was way to embarrassed. And adding to that I had a VERY abussive father until I was in my late 40’s when
    I had finally had enough of him, and have not spoken to him since and never will again, as I am 63 now.
    If one notices any doctor that defends this CRAP most are on the pharmaceutical
    companies payroll.
    This needs to stop NOW !!! I do not want to witness one more person having to go through they lives feeling,
    and dealing with these side effects ever again! 😢😡

  19. Sherry

    I just heard about the connection of Ritalin use in childhood and effects on the adult brain. My son, who is now 26, was tested at a very high level 146 IQ, 99+ cognitive ability , qualified for mensa. His teachers pushed me every year to medicate him for adhd but we did not see this at home, that was the reason for the testing. The psychologist who spent 2 days testing him agreed that he did have add , and recommended medication , so against what we wanted to do, we tried the medication , went through all the types and doses until finally settled on concerta (Ritalin). They all make you feel like you are a bad parent for not medicating your child, they punish him at school, which causes the other kids to pick on him. I tried everything to avoid this – several therapists , he out smarted them honestly and lied to them, metronome therapy, read so many books. Things would work for about a week or two and then he was right back to his old self, not doing his school work, lying and so we had to do the meds, even though they really did not “fix him”, they just helped.
    Skip to now, remember how smart he is, he failed out of 3 colleges, 2 of them because he just did not attend class after week one. The third because after the 1st year, he stopped attending, he would drive out there, but sleep in his car and play video games on his phone. He is , no doubt, addicted to video games and the internet, he can not/will not hold a job (delivers pizza part time), does not take care of himself , we threw him out and he lived in his car for 6 weeks in front of Starbucks for the free WiFi , did not attempt to fix the homeless issue . He was picked up for shop lifting in Wal-Mart , spent the night in jail and is finally on the last step to expunge his case – 2 years later. He spends every dime he gets on his online games, his credit is very poor. We gave him a job at our business and had to fire him due to the many no call no shows. His behavior causes my husband and I to fight. I am afraid if I throw him out, he will turn to drugs, stealing again or suicide. I know there is a problem with him, he has an addiction to the internet, he is depressed .
    He is living in a very small apartment we built for him in our detached garage, so he has a safe place with a.c., toilet , shower, bed, frig. We provide him with a phone . Unfortunately, those are all he wants out of life, so he is not trying to better anything and this stuff was given to him to help him move ahead.
    Now I hear that Ritalin from his childhood could be causing this! Ok, give me an idea how to fix it now or where is the class action lawsuit for these kids to support them from the effects they are suffering because the teachers and schools push and push and then the doctors back them up and you trust the doctors. I don’t want to bury my son, I don’t want to see my homeless son begging for food or see him in jail! He is so smart! The psychologist won’t even talk to me because he is 26, I can’t make an appointment for him.
    If anyone knows of any help I would love to hear it. I do know that he is not taking any drugs. We did have a counseling session not that long ago and he was asked to submit blood work, I personally took him myself because I needed blood work done from a different doc, so he was caught off guard and he was not told what the blood work was for. I received the results and it was every drug out there – all of them negative.
    Thanks for any advice

  20. Donny Bj

    This is just f****** sad part in my language I’m 45 years old and I was on Ratlin in the 1970s they told my mom I was a TD HD let me tell you my life has been a torment ever since getting off that drug in the 80s I’ve been arrested I have emotional problems I have trust issues I guess back then they were just more concerned with trying to calm people down and help them then seeing what kind of damage these medications can really do I think there should be a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of this drug and everybody be compensated for it I’m sure it has wrecked and caused havoc in a lot of people’s life how many people are homeless because of this how many people have committed suicide because they couldn’t control their emotions or their behavior someone needs to be held accountable for this stuff I don’t believe anything doctor say I believe they all are Kickback prescribing drugs sorry if my wording don’t make sense I’ve had a lot of problems in my life due to this medication that everybody thinks is just so great for their kids

  21. Lora Shaffer

    I am 50 and I was raised by the state of Ohio made to take Ritalin from before I started school and I have the same feeling’s as some of the story’s I have been reading

  22. Mom

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. My son’s teacher says k sin doesn’t finish his work and has asked us to take him to neurologist. She’s not explicitly saying give him retaking but one can see where this is going. Fortunately hubby and I are against medicating him so we looking for alternatives such as neurofeedback therapy. I agree that we as parents need to stop taking short cuts and work with our kids to overcome these challenges.

    • Stefan

      Please don’t medicate him

  23. Jenny

    In 1985, my daughter was 5 and considerably hyperactive. I took her
    to the pediatrician for a check up. I wanted to make sure that her hyperactivity was all that was wrong.
    Her Doctor suggested that I start her on
    this drug. I refused. There was not enough proof that this was a safe means of helping her. The Doctor was actually angry with me because of this.
    I was not going to have pharmaceutical
    companies use my children as Guinea pigs.
    I chose to show/teach my daughter how
    to direct her energy.
    Every day, I thank goodness I stood my ground. She now a happy, healthy adult.
    I am finding many parents are looking for an easy way out as opposed spending quality and one on one time with their children. It takes a lot of work raising children. Please parents … Don’t fail your
    kids. They are our future and we need them!

  24. desikemp

    My son’s school has been bullying me into force feeding my child these meds even though he has never been officially diagnosed with ADHD. His teachers take it on the sly and because they want the children to keep up, they are constantly pushing more and more work onto the kids each day. They pile them with homework and humiliate them for working slowly in class.
    I just went off at the grade head for telling me she is trying to “help” my son by advocating that he used methylphenidate as a stimulant. I asked her whether she was a medical professional and she got really stroppy with me so I just hung up on her mid-rant.
    I wish I could take my kids out of mainstream school and just homeschool them but we simply cannot afford that.

  25. John

    I am now 29, and I too took Ritalin as a child, from 7 to 14. It started with doses of 3 at a time 3 times a day for about a year I think, could have been longer, could have been shorter.
    I was a social competent kid, who always made friends, who now and then was lashing out at his parents and other authorities, Maybe not just lashing out in all honesty, they were actually serious tantrums where many toys found it’s maker or launched at someones head, to much more radical things towards the end of my teenage years (where I already quit), and it effected my family and my school, obviously, cause I couldn’t concentrate for shit — it was a constant chaos in my head. Unfortunately that they were/are so careless about prescribing these (or any other kind of meds for that matter), while in fact they know so little about the human brain, They should however look at the source of the problem rather than identify it as a brain deficit, which is in many cases something that can be worked on without mind altering meds — Most of the times your brain is fully capable of doing it him or herself. .
    For me there was something at play…
    My parents divorced when I was 4 in a not so child friendly way, long story short it teared me apart, paired with a
    genetic predisposition to tantrums, this was a perfect cocktail for disaster in such a young brain that yeah… I needed help.
    Even though I will agree that it was their decision, I have to say they are also only humans. They simply weren’t fit to have children. Doesn’t mean that I will hate them, or that I will blame them. I mean, they did what they thought was right, right? I mean my parents do love me, and I am sure that if they had known better, they would have made different choices. Like my father not too long ago he said “if I knew what would have happened I would have never had children with your mother”. Let that sink in for a moment… Truth be told I just lol’d at it, I mean, if he really is so easy in discarding me, then why all the heartfelt every now and then? I can’t hate him for it, why would I? He is just an emotional cripple, but he is still my dad.
    To come back to where I was going, they found me help, at 5. Extensive therapy for 2 years,.. Didn’t help… who would have guessed?. So they put me on Ritalin for 7 years. In these 7 years I endured many changes, varying from being called a zombie, to loss of appetite, to become “less fun”, to do a lot better in school. Where it seemed to be helping, yelp… But for then it was better, I mean I at least had a chance at a semi normal childhood cause all those emotions from the bullshit around me were nullified. Unfortunately that affected my social abilities later on, it also affected my self esteem, digestive system, and the will of a winner. That what made me special, that’s why I could excel at things such as sports, math, instruments, any game with a quick response time. Unfortunately that was all held back by the attention problem. So in my parent’s defense, It did help in the beginning, For some I’m sure this can be true.
    Now to why I decided to actually post a comment is to tell you all this,
    No matter how hard it has been, or no matter how bad you are feeling (and I’ve battled a depression for 4 years), there is always a chance to better yourself through understanding why you are feeling the way you are feeling, and work on it at the core. There is no one that can help you except you.
    For me I left my home country when I was 20 cause I flunked high school, and during the recession there were only a few jobs available on the market and I would have none of it. Luckily they dispensed well fare into my account and since I was being declared as unstable, I thought I would take my chances on them not being as organized as they would like to appear. and simply go back and forth to a country where I learned to eat again. where I learned to smile again, and to be happy, but most important of all, more confident .I found a girl along the way who later became my wife. Now mind you that this relationship was meant to fail with my background, her background, huge actual distance between our residences,
    Fortunately for me she has been utmost patient with me and have helped me change a lot and we did overcome our difficulties and found a way to make it work living together (immigration was something nasty). Unfortunately for us I get triggered now we have 2 children and are living together in our home, where our oldest daughter at age 3.5 is showing severe autistic traits. Now the system fails us here, and google leaves you with the wise advice of seeking professional help. Great and all but it doesn’t help us much. I have never been the most patient man unless I count those years on Ritalin, and can’t help to show my frustration with varying forms of verbal abuse (I am so sick of myself afterwards), and tantrums as if I am still a kid… I still can’t control my anger, my own kid, damn it. This is something I need to work on!..
    I am thinking on taking these meds again, if it could give the stability factor in my life that we all need so much.
    Just as long as I don’t over do it, it might be all I need. I mean after all What more could a couple of them in me do? I can always try, and stop if I see I am making changes I don’t want to see. I am an adult now, not a kid anymore. It contradicts my earlier statement a bit, I know. I just think an adult can make his own decisions. A kid undergoes too many changes in his body and brain and shouldn’t, unless absolutely necessary, be on these drugs.
    Thnx for whoever took the time to read my long comment. might be a bit unclear — in hindsight I shouldn’t have written it at 2 in the morning. Just always try to best yourself with the best help you could ever get. Your own psyche. Make the right decision in a neutral moment, and follow through.

  26. M.T.

    What can be done to counteract these side affects besides smoking weed and besides another cocktail of drugs? anyone know? I’ve been trying to research, but all everything says is “side affects” to Ritalin, but no help for adults who took it as a child and now have adverse side affects for life….I’d just like to get some relief for my girlfriend if at all possible.

    • CCHR

      I don’t know where you live but you should seek the assistance of a professional, such as the one at the link in this comment, who can look into solutions that will best help your girlfriend. Pamela Seefeld –

    • Helpme

      Nuro feedback . It actually wakes up the parts of the brain that aren’t working . The Amen clinic suggested it for my daughter . We found a local practitioner. She’s currently doing it now so I don’t know the long-term effects. But from all the things I’ve read in the amount of people those doctors have done it on , it has credibility.

  27. M.T.

    My girlfriend was prescribed these drugs as a child. She went from about 200lbs in high school to hardly a little over 100lbs. She has heart problems, emotional problems, and cannot eat a normal meal at all. She is 28 yrs old, and has depression, anxiety and is nauseous all the time. She tries to eat, and wants to eat, but the nausea is so bad she will throw up. This causes her not to eat at all for days at a time. The only things she can keep down are things like potato chips, 5 hour energy drinks and the occasional salad. This is a HORRIBLE way to eat and she knows it. She has horribly scary thoughts, and sometimes feels like ending it all. She is now (obviously) afraid of taking drugs to counteract all that Ritalin did to her, so she smokes weed daily just so she can get out of bed, and eat something without throwing up. I know its self medication, but without weed, she would literally probably die. I am sickened that our government allows drugs like this to be given to our children without even caring what it will do to their futures. I bet you they wouldn’t give this shit to their own kids!!! Please, if you are thinking about giving your child ANY kind of prescribed drug, please research first, and I am sure you will find a healthy or natural substitute. I know that my daughter has never taken a drug in her life. She barely had any of her initial shots. She is the most healthy kid I have ever known. She never gets sick, and she has a healthy immune system and cardio system. Her brain functions at a high level, and she is happy and assertive. I dont care if doctors make you feel bad about not “helping” your child, don’t give in….this is YOUR CHILD, and they matter more than some doctor lining his pockets with money you just gave him for drugs that can kill your child or mame them for life.

  28. michelle loukidis

    my god… and they want me to put my beautiful intelligent son on Ritalin……..insanity

    • Jeff

      Yes people like O bbom a will look at you and the America people with pose and tell you strait that you are the one that is ludicrous , to take the pill.

  29. Jason Rosslow

    I am 45 years old and was on Ritalin and methylphenidate the extended release for 14 years from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade as a child I had a blackout all the time lost my temper and went into rages I have trouble concentrating and focusing on one thing at a time the jobs I’ve had had to be repetitious I did not like anything that changed and I still don’t I fight against it as hard as I can the Blackout’s I have had I put people in the hospital from fighting if not myself from injury I feel inadequate almost everyday and Afraid to actually go out and meet other people I still talk to the ones that I known from grade school certain things I OCD on always find myself it can’t be done that way it has to be done this way in this way only when someone tries to teach me I lose my temper very easily very quickly I have not been able to have a relationship with a person I cannot have children reading through some of these articles I finally understand why the front of my head is always feel like there’s a headband on it the frontal lobes get destroyed make sense when they cut me off the Ritalin they cut me off cold turkey I snapped my hand in half and went into wages had no control over myself thoughts of depression all the time suicide am I good enough I can’t do that job everybody says I’m a retard if I fight against them all the time or just telling them I’m not a retard I am unable to retain information and remember it from one day to the next I am emotionally High Strung and it seems like it’s 10 times more than anyone else’s more curious about the long-term effects that it has on us adults these days those who have been on it for many years these days I have heart problems my respiratory system and believe I’ve had growth stunts I do not like the way my body looks I feel like everyone is looking at me and talking about me I am insecure and underweight my eating habits are very poor I always always have looked at myself as not being the same as all the other kids different and if anyone actually tells you that the medicine is good for their child the line the still in it and are addicted to it themselves this medicine is no good for No One it should be outlawed in band the United States but then I guess that’s how they make their money I’m making us sick I recommend everyone not to put the children on this medicine unless if you want to have an addicted drug alcoholic Psychopathic bipolar child that’s not good enough for you some of them died from this medication the u.s. is the only place on this planet that allows that medication to be legal into distributed to your children and adults no other country allows it they know that is not good so why does the US keep on doing it population control now they just say oh it’s just crazy and he sees and says things yeah that’s the cause from the medicine seeing things that aren’t real good evening things that are real not knowing what’s true well I’m living proof that it doesn’t want and my life isn’t the greatest I just get by on a daily base hoping and praying I don’t hurt anyone or myself I tell myself one day at a time that’s about all I can do these days I never really own my own business or anything I won’t I don’t know how to be able to deal with others or do the paperwork I get to angry too fast too quick as I said I’m 45 years old and I’m still feeling the effects from this medication 27 years later no pill that message with your neurological brain system could be good for you I wish the best of luck to everyone who has been on this medication I myself find if I drink a cup of black coffee it helps me calm down and concentrate on a couple subjects at a time instead of 50 to 100 do not give your children this medicine it is not good no matter what doctors say about it

  30. Steve

    From fourth to eighth grade I too was on Ritalin. Also suffered delayed puberty which made me feel inferior to others my age.. Was super short too at 4’11” and 90lbs.. Was in constant trouble .. When not using it felt I couldn’t do anything. While using it often felt sick whenever my adrenaline rose.. Like alex in clockwork orange. Years later legal trouble brought on by sverre heroin abuse after years of cocaine use in which I felt often more in tune with the world… Idk. Wish I could know more about if there’s a link to the Ritalin or if I am just fuct up. Sober now thru the 12 steps I’ve let the resentment go but would like to know anyhow…

  31. Chris

    I was on Ritalin as a child an had a rough and difficult childhood, I’m 31 now and can still feel the affects from the drug. It hurts and every day seems like a challenge. From dealing with depression and p.t.s.d.,not being able to trust people and basically feeling alone,mood swings and lashing out for no reason,trying to manage anger issues and always being aggravated…. yea it sucks

  32. Gisele long

    The cure for everything: the blasted Pill! 💀💀💀

  33. Terri Haney

    I was started on Ritalin and Dilantin in 1960. It turns out I have Asperger’s, not a hyperactivity disorder. I was kept on ever increasing doses of Ritalin until high school, 10 years, when it was suddenly taken away. My mother started stealing it to use herself. This was in the 1960’s so there was no cognizance of drug addiction and illegal drug use like there is now. I can’t even begin to tell you about the health problems and challenges I’ve faced during my lifetime as a result of being drugged. One of the worst effects was not feeling normal and severe chronic fatique. I almost flunked High School as a result. My parents had the nerve to call me a drug addict when I was the one being drugged by them. My mother told everyone I was a drug addict to cover herself for stealing my prescribed medicine. I have suffered throughout my life with acute health issues and severe depression. Because I have Asperger’s I was also bullied and teased mercilessly to point that it caused bleeding ulcers when I was a sophomore in high school. Some of those ulcers never healed leading to chronic severe Anemia. A routine colonoscopy found 3 bleeding polips when I was 53. It’s taken over a decade since then to recover from the mental fog. My point is, don’t let your children be drugged. Find out what’s really wrong, usually a nutritional deficit or poisons in the food, and address it. After a heart attack, a broken femure, and the complete breakdown of my spine I figured out drugs won’t fix anything, only nutrition and supplements will. Living better with Chemistry isn’t working! I no longer take any drugs of any kind and I have reversed most of my problems. Pharma protocols are designed to make money, not give you health! Keep your kids off of drugs by never giving them any to start with.

  34. Mandi

    I was prescribed ritalin when I was younger_ now I’m having all kinds of health issues my first was my gallbladder,I didn’t have stones so they had to do a hita scan to shows it wasn’t working properly-which was a robin egg when they took it out, now 32 they have found a spot on my liver and it is covered in scar tissue * my question is will ritalin cause issues like this from taking this medicine for years when I was younger- I have daily nausea, abdominal pain,fatigue,headaches ect.

  35. Michael Murphy

    I was prescribed Ritalin from the time i was 6 until 10 and then switched to a few others (avinza, stratera and others i can’t remember) until i settled on Aderall until the time i was 16 (when i decided independently to stop taking them). The effects of this were terrible physically and mentally and also caused a lot friction and distrust between my parents and me. I didn’t trust them for a long time (and still don’t entirely) because of it, and while i hope they had no malicious intents in their hearts when they took me to the doctor, it has been impossible to forgive them all these years later. as a child it caused me to see them not as parents, but as overzealous authority figures who, when not obeyed, would drug me to get me to be compliant, which only lead to an angry (and sometimes violent) rebellion against all authority figures in my life.
    I despised society itself for a long time and when i went off the meds cold turkey, i inadvertently triggered a years long alcohol addiction which almost killed me. I still feel the effects to this day. In social situations, i have a lag between my thoughts and my actual words, which makes it difficult to stay in the conversation (and pick up on social cues) and my alcohol addiction left a permanent mark on my speech patterns (even stone cold sober, i still slur my words a bit) which leads to animosity from people thinking i’m still wasted all the time. My personal image of myself was horrible for a long time and I’ve only recently (i’m currently 26) started to come to a better view of myself. For a long time, i was convinced that there was something wrong with me, that for some reason i was burdened with something no one else i knew had to deal with, yet, everyone else seemed to act exactly like me. It drove me to a state of suicide and i still have problems connecting with people to this day. When i look at my life now and the state of things, i get a seething rage inside me at the thought of how much different my life would be if i had never been given those vile things. I can’t say if my life would be better or worse, but at least i know it would have been all on me. That the decisions i made would not a have been put through a filter of a drug i never had a choice in taking because my parents were quick to find a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.
    So please, if you are considering giving your child these meds, take my story to heart and remember, you may not only be messing with your kids mental development, but you may also be planting the seeds of destruction in the relationship you have with your child. And if you do decide to give your child these meds… take one and see what you doing to your kid every day.

    • Rebekah Swan

      Dear Mr. Murphy,
      I read your article and the last sentence had the most profound effect to me, not on me personally for I will not ever consider these drugs for my children and if I know of any parent considering them I will, if you don’t mind quote what you said. Too many times parents want to believe they are doing right by their children but do little research. Like you and all the others that have written of their experiences I can feel your hurt and pain and for it I am sorry. I am not a bible-thumping Christian but I do know that the saving and healing power of Jesus Christ can heal you so this “that you are healed” I speak out to you and hope you receive it. I am sure you are a wonderful person and tell yourself this ” that you are wonderfully made” and believe it. Its not your fault that you were exposed to this be blessed and take care, eat healthy and walk or run everyday..this has a good effect on the brain.

    • C

      I hope you are seeking therapy. What you described is symptoms of ADHD itself. Sounds like you need the medication. I am currently giving this to my son because he is smart and struggling in school and didn’t have fun winds. He is now gaining confidence, doing good and making friends.

    • Brooke Clark

      I feel like I just read my childhood in your words, I was prescribed Ritalin at the age of 6 while in Kindergarten. It came with devastating side effects, but instead of just taking me off of the stimulant my parents continued bringing me to the physiatrist where I was prescribed more medications to counteract the Ritalin. I was 7 years old taking Prozac and Ritalin. The severe side effects that I can’t even type out because I’m so embarrassed never stopped because it took my parents years, until I was in the 4th grade, to realize “maybe if I stop giving this kid the Ritalin these bad things will stop happening. So, I spent all of my elementary years on pills and dragged to more and more specialists who kept trying to diagnose me and figure out what is wrong with me. I feel like I was robbed of a fair childhood because basically I was. The side effects made me a social outcast in school and growing up in a small town, I was never able to get away from what happened to me during my elementary years. So, then came middle school I was full of rage and anger, I had extreme mood swings. And so my brillant parents take me to more doctors, and diagnose me with mood disorders. Once again they were forcing me to take more pills. In 8th grade my mother had committed to a psych ward for a week. Looking back on it all now, I was just really angry for a lot of different, valid reasons and probably dealing with more side effects from the years I was on Ritalin. I lost a lot of faith in trust in my parents as well. And that’s a valid statement til this day, I am now 30 years old. By high school I was flushing all the pills I was supposed to be taking down the toilet. I had way more issues at this point, then a case of ADD. In high school I began self medicating myself, I was never accepted by my peer group, I was never able to live down what happened in my elementary years, small town problems.
      I could go on and on about the next chain of events that would happen to me, but you already know what happens, I developed a drug problem and so on and so forth. Fast forward to today and I overcame the drug problem, I moved to the other side of the world and started a new life and life is good. I have an extremely broken relationship with my mother, that I think probably won’t be repaired in this lifetime. Moral of the story, don’t drug your kids!

  36. Rebekah Swan

    Hi great article I was wondering when the brain changes start to permanently take effect? I have a sister who is now 24 and was on Ritalin when she was young but I cannot recall how long she was on it as by that time I was an adult and my parents had moved to another state. I see where she gets angry at the drop of a hat and its almost like her brain bypasses the “stop and think before you react mechanism”. Any input would be great thanks.

    • Timothy Juda

      i get it…i’m the same way and i’m now 39. It really doesn’t take much to get my anger going. My brain bypasses the same process. it sucks

  37. JoAnn

    Great info but about 25 years too late, where was this information when I agreed to let my 6 year old son be subjected to ever increasing doses of this drug.He hasn’t taken it since he was 15 but is still dealing with the psychological effects, self doubt, anxiety and depression as well as the frustration of not feeling ‘normal’. Any suggestions?

    • CCHR

      I am sorry to hear about your son. We do have a list of resources that we offer to people who are looking for alternative solutions to psychiatric drugs. Please call us at 800-782-2878

    • Timothy Juda

      Just out of curiosity did your son also suffer from delayed or suppressed puberty like I did? I’m now 39 and severely depressed because of an inadequate size?

    • BCB

      He may benefit by starting with natutal supplements like kava kava during the day and valerian root at nights…

    • Timothy Juda

      I personally know nothing about natural supplements like this…can you elaborate more?

    • Alan

      You’re right where was it, because I was on Ritalin from kindergarten til 5th grade. I’m 35 now and I suffer from depression and every thing. I can’t even have a great relationship with my pregnant girl friend. My social skills barely exsit. I’m frustrated almost 85-90% of the time.

    • Happypenguin

      Just so you know , I’m 34 and never took medication for ADHD and I am depressed, lonely and have very low self esteem and actually very immature , not due to medication but because that’s just the ADHD brain. Please don’t feel guilty for medicating your child , it probably didn’t do as much harm as you think it did.

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Clearwater, Florida 33755
Tel: 1-800-782-2878