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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Personal Changes with Ritalin

02/15/2000

Question:

My live-in boyfriend, who is 23, was diagnosed with ADD as a child and was on Ritalin while he was in school. He stopped taking it after he finished school and is thinking about taking it again. Therefore, since I have known him, he has not been on this medication. I was wondering what changes to expect in his personality if he would begin taking it again. Is this medicine something that he can take for the rest of his life? Are there a lot of adults on Ritalin?

Answer:

First, please see my recent answer to the previous question about ADD in Adults. Unfortunately, I can`t predict the changes to expect in his personality if he takes medication again without knowing his personality off of it. I can sometimes predict such things reasonably well after doing a careful assessment on someone. Even then, I`m not always right. He could potentially take Ritalin, or other stimulants, for the rest of his life, as long as he never develops a major medical problem that got worse on a stimulant. Luckily, there are very few such medical problems that make ADD medication risky.

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Response by:

Susan Louisa Montauk, MD
Formerly Professor of Family Medicine
University of Cincinnati