How To Stop Taking Ritalin?

The best way to stop taking Ritalin is to gradually reduce your daily dose over the course of time. Here, we review the side effects of stopping Ritatlin and when you need professional help. Learn how to stop taking Ritalin safely here.

minute read
Reviewed by: Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

READING SUMMARY: The best way to stop Ritalin is under medical supervision. Tapering guidelines can help ease withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes, a medical detox or a stay in rehab is necessary.


Can I Just Stop Taking Ritalin?

No, it’s not wise to just stop taking Ritalin.

The main ingredient in Ritalin’s FDA drug label is methylphenidate,a psychoactive drug that changes the way the brain functions. If you take Ritalin daily – for a period of a few weeks, or more – the methylphenidate causes physical dependence. If you try to just stop taking your Ritalin, it isn’t likely to be very successful and can cause serious adverse side effects. Instead, you should always consult with your prescribing doctor before you stop taking Ritalin.

Reasons To Quit

The psychostimulant methylphenidate is a Schedule II drug, which means that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) see it as having a high potential for abuse. But this is not the only reason why you should stop using this medication. Here is a list of possible reasons that motivate people to quit.

1. Crashing.

Crashing is a sensation that usually appears after coming down off a stimulant drug such as Ritalin. The term crashing refers to the feeling of extreme depression and fatigue because the drug is no longer in the system. This extreme depression may cause suicidal thoughts and feelings.

2. Imbalance in brain chemistry.

Long term exposure to Ritalin can damage some brain receptors by flooding them with neurotransmitters. Overstimulation of neurotransmitter levels can reduce the brains natural ability to produce them.  This might cause long term and sometimes permanent damage.

3. Emotional problems.

Since Ritalin targets brain chemistry, long term use may lead to anxiety, fearful behavior, paranoia and sometimes even depression. People who take large amounts of Ritalin for an extended time can end up struggling with mood disorders and other emotional issues.

4. Family and relationship problems.

The repeated use and abuse of this medication creates visible changes in your behavior and eventually your character. Becoming disturbed and defensive can directly impact relationships. It causes problems within your close circle. To an even larger degree, an addiction changes who you are. You may find that your previous friends no longer want to hang out with you or that your family avoids conflict.

5. Financial problems.

When purchased illegally, Ritalin is more expensive. When abusing this medication, you will constantly need money to buy your next dose. Plus, buying Ritalin without a medical prescription is considered illegal and financial issues can rapidly become a problem.

6. Hallucinations.

Some people who have used Ritalin for an extended period experience hallucinations and delusions. These effects  diminish as soon as you stop taking the drug, but sometimes they can persist for months or years depending on how much and how long you took Ritalin.

7. Heart problems.

Any stimulant has the potential to permanently damage your heart if you take even a slightly higher dose than the one prescribed by your doctor. Some users who take large amounts of Ritalin may face heart failure and cardiac arrest.

8. Psychosis.

Psychosis is a common effect of long term Ritalin use because of the damage to some brain functions. Psychosis can be very dangerous if they are not taken care of as soon as they appear. The DEA warns that Ritalin produces many of the same effects as cocaine. Psychotic episodes and severe psychological addiction have all been associated with the abuse of this drug.

9. Psychological problems.

Besides psychosis, aggression can also appear as a result of long term Ritalin exposure. Those who use high levels of Ritalin are involved in domestic violence and assault cases.

10. Tolerance.

Tolerance and  physical dependence always go hand in hand. Needing more Ritalin for initial therapeutic effect may require a taper or a period of abstinence before beginning dosing again.

What Happens When You Stop?

Ritalin stay in your system for a few days. So, both the immediate or controlled release versions of Ritalin usually clear your system within 72 hours. However, it takes time for your body to catch up. Once Ritalin is no longer in the brain, you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Why?

The body adapts and becomes used to methylphenidate over time. It has to in order to function. In fact, your brain starts to compensate for the presence of methylphenidate (which is a stimulant) by “slowing down” some processes. So when you stop taking Ritalin, you need time to adjust to living without it. This period of adjustment is called “withdrawal”.

Once you go through Ritalin withdrawal, you will start feeling normal again. Unfortunately, that period of adjustment usually includes uncomfortable side effects. In fact, Ritalin withdrawal can affect your cardiovascular system, mood, and energy levels.


Since Ritalin is normally prescribed throughout the day, it may only take a few weeks to develop a physical dependence. Stopping methylphenidate can cause a number of severe withdrawal effects. If you’ve taken Ritalin long-term, withdrawal effects may be even worse. The common withdrawal symptoms that occur when you stop taking your medication can include:

  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Intense hunger
  • Irritability
  • Moderate depression
  • Nausea

More severe symptoms of Ritalin withdrawal include:

  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Severe depression
  • Slowed motor functions

NOTE: Always seek medical supervision when you’re ready to quit Ritalin. Suicidal thoughts due to chemical deficits can be treated with antidepressants.

Quitting Abruptly

Ritalin is easier to quit if you don’t stop taking it suddenly. Quitting suddenly increases the chance of nasty withdrawal symptoms, which can drive you to return to taking the drug. The best way to quit Ritalin is to gradually reduce your dose rather than stop all at once.

Stopping Ritalin cold turkey isn’t the best option for most people. But if you cannot slowly reduce your dose of methylphenidate due to addiction issues, or if you have medical problems with make it necessary to stop taking Ritalin right away, it can be done. If you decide to quit Ritalin cold turkey, you should consult a doctor on what to expect and how to do so safely. You might also want to speak to a therapist or counselor specializing in drug addiction, if you struggle with strong cravings and compulsions to take Ritalin.

The Safest Way To Stop

According to this 2010 article published in the Journal of Psychosocial and Mental Health Nurse Services, it is generally agreed that tapering stimulant medications, rather than abruptly stopping them, can avoid or minimize the potential adverse discontinuation effects associated with most psychotropic drugs.

So, the best way to stop taking Ritalin is to gradually reduce your daily dose over the course of several weeks. This is called “tapering”. However, you may need to be gradually tapered off the stimulant with close psychological support. This is because you may experience extreme fatigue, depression, or even suicidal thinking.

Tapering Guidelines

Tapering is a practice which involves a slow reduction in the amount of Ritalin over a scheduled period of time. This reduction lasts until the user completely stops taking the drug. Most taper schedule are customized for individuals, depending on the severity of drug dependence and the person’s overall health condition. This means that a certain protocol might prove successful for one, but may not work for someone else.

The individual response to dose reduction will determine the course of the schedule. For some people, even the slowest of tapering can still result in the onset of withdrawal symptoms. We recommend that you seek professional help whenever you decide that you want to quit Ritalin.

Your doctor can develop a dosing schedule for you to use, if you believe you’ll be able to stick to it. Following a doctor’s directions is the safest way to quit taking Ritalin. Though the side effects may be difficult to deal with, they’re unlikely to be dangerous. If you have any concerns about withdrawal effects or the safety of quitting Ritalin, consult a doctor.

What’s Next?

Giving up a psychoactive drug is never easy. The least we can say is that it’s a challenging experience. Once you know and decide you want to get help there are several options available. While some people try stop using Ritalin on their own, the reality is that most fail to do so without treatment and long term support.

So, when can you benefit from professional help? You may need the expert help from substance use professionals if you experience any of the following:

  1. You’ve tried to quit on your own but cannot stay quit.
  2. You think about Ritalin obsessively.
  3. You get high from Ritalin.
  4. You cannot imagine life without Ritalin.

you can always use this physician’s online questionnaire from NIDA to self-assess a possible problem. Or, you can visit your family doctor or even call our hotline number listed on the page. If substance use disorder is present, there are two main types of treatment to choose from: inpatient or outpatient treatment. Find out which type of treatment is right for you and get enrolled. Remember to include your friends and family for additional support. Recovery from Ritalin addiction takes courage and hard work, but once you are ready and willing you’ll see that a sober life is the best gift you will ever give yourself.

For help finding a treatment center you can use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. It is a  confidential and anonymous source of information for people seeking treatment facilities in the United States

When to Call a Professional

Always call a medical physician when you want to quit Ritalin. Why? Because your doctor is the one who prescribed your Rx and is in charge of administering the dosages, s/he knows the best way to help you.  Together, you and your doctor should discuss a tapering plan.

Q: Why consult your doctor and not take the situation in your own hands?

A: First of all, your doctor knows your medical history best. S/He will be able to assist you in making a schedule to gradually lower your dosage and if needed prescribe you lower dose medications. Second, your doctor will support you in sticking to your program by prescribing you lower doses every time you need to step down. Third, a doctor can refer you to additional services, when needed.


Still have questions about Ritalin? Please leave us your questions about Ritalin in the comments section below. We welcome all legitimate queries about methylphenidate and its use. In fact, we try try our best to respond to your questions with a personal and prompt reply. So, reach out!

Help is one click away.

Reference Sources: Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience: The Dopamine Dilemma
DrugFacts: Stimulant ADHD Medications – Methylphenidate and Ampetamines
NCBI: Nonmedical Prescription Stimulant Use among College Students: Why We Need To Do Something and What We Need To Do
PubMed: Methylpenidate Abuse and Psychiatric Side Effects
DEA: Drug Schedules
NAABT: Drugs of Abuse 
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Texas Healt...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.


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  1. I am taking Ritalin twice a day for about 3 – 4 months, 20 mgs each time. I am taking it for depression and it does help, however it does cause some anxiety and insomnia. What degree of tapering would be suggested and how long to minimize withdrawal symptoms? I hate the dependence, but it does get me out of bed and get me going in the morning. Since I am taking 40 mgs. per day, should I cut it to 30mgs a day for a month or so, etc.?

  2. I am on my anxiety disorder medicines from last 3 years .
    I am taking ocdox 50 mg , Clofranil 25 mg , Nuhenz and inspiral 20 mg . I have noticed that when I have started taking inspiral 20 mg medicines I am getting anxiety problems again . So should I stop taking this medicines ??

  3. my husband who is 86 years old was prescribed ritalin 10mg for a month then 20mg 1x a day . he has no energy, tatally depressed, almost comatose in his daily life. he has parkinsons and or hydro -encephalitis or a combo of both . he feels terrible and is very depressed.

    1. Renee, I do not see anyone replied to your concerned plea. I hope someone finally did reach out to you and answer all your concerns and were helpful.

  4. My daughter gives her daughter Ritalin in the mornings, but only on school days. How does this physically and emotionally affect my grand daughter?

  5. I’m on Ritalin legally for ADHD. I find it beneficial but it impacts negatively in certain areas of my life. I’m a musician and I find my ability to enter flow and play from my heart has disappeared. Secondly, my libido has vanished. I am essentially asexual. I would like to come off my meds. I’m on 10mg IR x 3ds. Should I slowly titrate my dose downwards or can I just stop? I miss the old me.

  6. I take Methelphenedate ER 20mg. Due to insurance costs I have to stop. Can I cut the tabs in half for a week, then quarters for a week & possibly wean myself off that way? Thanks

    1. Hi Donna. I suggest that you consult with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule.

  7. I started this medince as Dr said it’s adhd …but my son was ok before this after used this he is more hyper ….m not happy and satisfy ….want to stop it ….10 mg …how can I stop

    1. Hi Tayyiba. The safest way to end this medication is by slowly tapering the daily dose. I suggest that you consult with a doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule.

  8. I have been prescribed Ritalin ER (2/ day) and regular (3/ day) for ten years for Fibromyalgia by my psychiatrist. I have chronic fatigue, depression and sleep loss. Recently I changed doctors. The new psychiatrist said that I took a large amount of stimulants and decreased my Ritalin. I now have muscle twitches, sweats, insomnia, weight loss and extreme fatigue with confusion. Am I addicted to methylphenidate? Am I in withdrawal? What is happening? It’s been over six months since the dose was lowered.

  9. I suffer from bipolar disorder and sever clinical depression… I started taking Ritalin about a year ago but my dosage has gotten progressively higher on my own accord… I want to quit but I just don’t have the guts to yet… I must mention I have a highly addicted personality… I just dont know what to do.. I have no will the way I’m 52

  10. I get 90 riddlin 20mg a MTH supposed to take 3 a day but at one point I would sell and take 90 so fast that I had to buy back some from others mainly I got weird body movements, nausea,mentally worry bout being without, physically either really tired or energy I couldn’t control and trouble staying calm and focused. Yet every MTH it’s a vicious cycle of it but it does raise my pulse blood pressure I think yet I feel calm and focused I tell myself every MTH not to owe or sell any take my 90 once in am all 3 then I’ll be ok. Well if I’d stop oweing and saleing I’d be regulated and know if and when I should either continue or stop. So I filled mine yesterday owed out 20 and spotted a friend 16 ugh so I’ll get back 20 for the front that leaves me 2 a day instead of 3 so if there’s any suggestions on how to stop fronting or saleing any Wich I know is wrong but these people claim it’s for there kids like they stalk me seeing when I get them sayings it’s for there kids so that’s y I sale or spot but it’s getting old if there kids need them that bad guess I’m gonna start saying I’m over it ur kids should have there meds then yatta yatta cause I just wanna take my meds period like I feel retaliation if I don’t help it’s crazy like I can’t save everyone and myself so next MTH I plan to end it and just take my meds cause when I get side effects and need some spotted by them I get every excuse u can think of or must have money and mentally I hustle up what I can however I can yet I don’t put them in that position so yea I answered myself I gotta cut it off cause now 1 day after I can only take 2 a day not 3 like it’s just bullshit so come Dec I’m telling people I’m cut off like I’d like to know y they need me if there kids get there own must be taken or saleing there own kids meds I hear that constantly when I’m low or out they say only got enough for my kids yet y they asking me for mine saying it’s for there kids so I’m done thanks

  11. 50 yr old female with bi-polar, anxiety, depression. Diagnosed 2011 due to about 100 psychogenic seizures, 3 hospitalizations (2 long term monitoring EEG 24 hrs/4 days). . Have been on/off meds since. Lithium, Pristiq, Klonpin now. Dozens before. Plus other meds for other medical issues non-related. Put on Ritalin over last few months to help with motivation, mood, energy. I haven’t worked since diagnosed.. ? I have always been tired and rarely leave home unless have an appt. Extreme isolation when I used to be a high functioning teacher 11 years – Upper Mgr. before that — with no meds, no diagnosis. I’d love to be on no meds but afraid psychogenic seizures would return. On Ritalin, Initially 10 or 20 mg. No help. Then 40 mg am and a half pill mid afternoon. Helped some with energy but Rambling, racing thoughts, couldn’t complete anything. I wasn’t told to wean off, so stopped cold turkey. Off over a week. Irritable, moody, emotional increased. Still have effects but now Plan B: started Straterra this morning. I feel like a roller coaster. Advice? These meds are new for me.. Alcohol has been an issue over the years but that too comes and goes. Not addicted. I was years ago 20-30 years, well before any diagnosis. My conditions were probably my problem all along. I just didn’t know it.very cognizant as its hereditary in family.

  12. Hi my son is a 6yo ADHD.. Been prescribed Ritalin quick release 10ml 8am and 10ml at 12pm. School times in Australia is 9am to 3pm. Do I have to dose him on weekends? Can I do that? If I don’t will affect him? He has been taking this dose now for 2 weeks. He started first 10ml and 5ml at 12pm. Al togerherr is 6 weeks. The med is helping him control his behaviour at school. Thank you .

  13. My grandson has been given medikinet since 13th August my daughter wants to wean him off of this medication she cannot get hold of her pediatrician he is on 7.5mg daily which is the best way to do this please

  14. I have been taking 6 to 8 20mg ritalin for over a year.i am on 5x10mg a day at the moment.but i break down crying every night.what can i do

    1. Hi Blue. Call the helpline you see on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best treatment for you.

  15. I have a 8 yr old autistic child on 10mg a day tablet form and has had it for about a month. This last week he has become very aractic. First day: upset angry spitting, throwing books on floor. Hitting and throwing. 2nd day upset but not to bad. 3rd back to throwing blocks at teachers hitting breaking cds throwing things on the floor. 4th day silimar but not as violent. 5th day very tired and no energy but then takes the Ritalin and 5 mins later happy singing and dancing and very hypo. 6th day quite normal 7th day back to angrey smashing TVs throwing things. Breaking things. Needs to get off it I believe. Can he go straight off. His doctor is away for a week.

  16. My 9 yr old son has been on Ritalin for a few years now. At what stage can he stop taking the medication? or is it a lifetime thing?

  17. I stopped taking Ritalin cold turkey. I had been taking low doses for a long time, but in the past 6th months I started drinking heavily and snorting more. I have stopped drinking and am staying sober one day at a time and threw away the Ritalin. I don’t want to be given more drugs to withdrawal from the Ritalin.Can anyone recommend any natural remedies to help with withdrawal?

  18. Oh my god, I cannot believe what I am reading!! My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and I have been told that I should consider putting him on Ritalin or Concerta. I’ve been putting my foot down about giving my son this kind medication and have been trying other methods. I just got another phone call from the teacher, things aren’t going well. I have started looking around and reading again and have come upon so many websites like this! I WILL NOT, EVER PUT MY SON ON THIS! The stories bring tears to my eyes, how can they allow this??? It’s just not right. I will work through the ADHD with my son and we will find something that works or helps together. But not this, never this. This is so sad……

  19. I was taking methylphenidate for 9 years and have just recently stopped taking it.cold turkey. I was taking it 2-3 times a day. My dr prescribed it for extreme fatigue. I have been having restless leg syndrome since I stopped. Could this be a side affect.

  20. Hi there. I am a 25 year old mother with ADHD and I have been on Ritalin LA 20 mg one in the morning and one 10 mg Ritalin at the same time for the last 3 years every single day. I am planning on having more children and I am worried about what I must do and how over a time before that happens. I obviously dont want anything to go wrong with the baby and pregnancy because of the Ritalin in my system over time. I have notices several times that I feel a big difference physicaly and mentally if I skip a day or two but iv never gone more than 2 days with out it. Before I was diagnosed I have mood and depression problems and I am scared of that being a problem again. Please help

  21. Hi,
    My 8years old son is taking methylephenidat since last 2years and 2 months. Since then he has hardly gained 1 kg of weight. We are really concerned about his height and weight and overall growth. Currently doc had suggested to have an MRI of his brain for checking if the growth hormone secretions are all fine. This scanning will happen in 7th of feb. His Adhd is controlled but at the same time his behavior is not good most of the time. He is very impulsive, thinks and talks about negative things, low self esteem, low confidence. Otherwise he is a nice boy. Somehow we are not happy with this medication.
    He doesn’t get to fall asleep in the night so doc prescribed to have melatonin to help him to sleep. Even with the lowest dose he doesn’t feel like be awake in the morning. So for both the medicines we are struggling for daily life. Please suggest if possible we can stop this medicine and have some different approach in non-medication.

    Thanking in advance.

  22. For approx. 4 wks.(?), I have been taking my prescribed Ritilin every day.. It was prescribed for Bi-Polar. The other day at a doctor appt., my B.P, was 140/80!!! I have consistently always had a near perfect reading of 110/70-68. In NO way is this worth raising my blood pressure! I can feel my heart beating more rapidly and I have immediately stopped taking my Ritalin.
    I don;t feel that I will experience withdrawals-at least not bad ones, since I have taken for such a short time. Do you agree and is it safe to just quit., in my case?

  23. My daughter has been on Ritalin for almost 2 years. We’re going to have the doctor take her off it very soon and need to know 2 things:
    1. How to best help her.
    2. What to expect.
    Please help.

  24. I took Ritalin from age 8 until 12. My adopted Dad took me off of it cold turkey because I was like a zombie and never ate. When I did eat I would throw up even just a few bites of food. I weighed only 76 pounds at 12 and was 5’2. Every year since then I gain between 10-15 pounds and no diets have been able to make me lose weight. I also get full easily even though I am overweight. I walk everyday for two hours and still I gain weight. I think Ritalin ruined my metabolism. Is there anything I can do about it? Has anyone else experienced this?

  25. HI there, I’m 19 and was on Ritalin since I was 15, I used to stop taking it then started taking it during exams, I’ve now stopped completely for about 8 months unfortunately I didn’t make my dosages smaller. Will I still be fine? I plan on never taking it again because I felt my body didn’t need it anymore.

  26. I’ve been taking concerta since I was 7 I’m 21 and I’m starting to notice the side effects. I crash after 12 hours and get severe headaches. If I don’t take it I can’t focus and go through withdrawals. I’ve been on 108 mg since I was 12 I’m still only as tall as a 15 year old. I might try to quit I live with my parents and they don’t like it when I don’t take my pills I know I want to quit but I’m afraid of what might happen to me in my daily life. How long would withdrawals last? I want to isolate myself and make a stress free environment until I can function without the medicine. I read a lot about depression and suicide and I don’t want that so if I keep myself happy maybe I can stop taking the medication. We live in Oregon so I might use cannabis as it’s helped me very well during the afternoon crash.

  27. I have been taking Concerta for many years under the supervision of my doctor. Last year I was taking 72 mg a day. I dropped to 54 milligrams about 8 months ago with no huge noticeable side effects. Just over two weeks ago, I went to two 18 mg doses a day-a drop of 18 milligrams. I definitely noticed some very uncomfortable side effect including mood swings, and depression. my goal is to come completely off Concerta, but I will be talking to my doctor about supplementing one 18 milligram dose with a 10 milligram Ritalin ER tablet. Removing one third of my dose at once was very noticeable. It is easy to forget when on this type of medication for years that it is a powerful drug which is physically and psychologically addictive. I would just advise folks who can wean off with the assistance of their doctor to go slowly, and avoid dramatic reductions in dosage, or the cold turkey approach. Each person’s brain chemistry is different, but that last drop knocked me for a loop.

  28. I’ve been on Ritilin for 5 years. I just got new doctor who wanted to do a random urine sample and pill count. It came back negative which makes no sense! This doctor will no longer give me this medicine! I’m scared of the withdrawals Im going to get . I still can’t believe this. I only take 10 mg twice a day sometimes 3. What should I do?

  29. M on a high dose of methadone 140mg and on high dose of biphentin 210mg daily my question is if you do cocaine while your on the Ritalin how dangerous is it

  30. My grandson is taking ritalin la 20mg in the morning and 5mg ritalin at 4pm, the psychiatrist wants to stop it cold turkey for the summer, will he go through bad side effects, I always heard that you dont stop this kind of medicine abruptly, please give me some advice, thank you

  31. Hi,
    Last month my dr told me that i have Adhd and I should take 10 mg ritalin and 100 mg automoxetin … I take the medicine for a month and I think everything get worse, but he forced me to tske my medicines and dont let me not to take it
    After a month I feel irritating and i reduced the dose of it to 5 mg ritalin and after a week I quit it
    Please dont tell me to consulting with your doctor,
    I live in iran and iranian doctors are insane
    I just want to know that is quitting ritalin will have side effects?

  32. I’ve only took it for 6 days but increased the dose from 1 36mg to 4 36mg and then ran out what kind of withdrawal will I have, I have a big rash on my neck the next morning when I stopped. Btw I’m 14

  33. Hello, Thanks in Advance . I have been on Retalin for the past 18 Months and my doctor suddenly took it off completely and i an not using it for the last one month and ihad severe withdrawals and all. However once i reached home and i found out i have 30 tablets of 20 mg. I again started using it. Please advice me on what to do and i want to know have i go through withdrawal again.? Thanks

  34. Is it mandatory to take Ritalin everyday? Is it necessary to take it on regular basis? For example everyday at the same time, same dose. Or can you take it as needed? I had a very bad experience with Chemo and I have difficulty concentrating, staying focused and I’m very forgetful. I took Adderall several times and it seemed like a miracle worker but I am unable to get where I live (Europe) but I do have access to Ritalin. I don’t want to take it everyday nor do I want any problems with addiction/withdrawal. I was hoping I can take it on the days that I need it, when I have a late meeting and I need to be on my toes or when I have reports to do on the computer and really need to concentrate. So what do ya say?

    1. Hi, Kaciani. I suggest you speak with your doctor about your issues. If it works for you, then I don’t see a problem to use Ritalin when you need it.

  35. Hello, Thanks in advance. I have been on Retalin for around 8 months and suddenly my doctor decided to take it off completely as cold turkey. After 3 weeks i again started to use it for 9 days and then informed the doctor and again it stopped for 4 weeks. However i have 30 tablets left in my hand and i again started to use it because i cannot focus and restlessness is still there with fear,of course. Now i really worried if i finish the 30 tablets left with me, have i have to go through withdrawals again as i afraid it will affect my new job. Please advice me on the issue ASAP. Thanks

  36. I started taking Methylphenidate (Sandoz) 2 years ago having acquired very impaired cognition along with short term memory. I started taking just 5 mg in divided doses of 4 a day, Within a remarkable short period of time (within a few days to a week) there was a considerable improvement in Cognition, Memory and mental stamina as well. Within a few months I was getting
    some crashes or burnout. I managed to curb this with Niacinamide & Amino Acids.
    Agitation did increase at times, but attempting to reduce even on a gradient did not help.
    I wasn’t about to go back to that person with those type of ADD Symptoms. Continuing and
    deter-mend to be better off.

  37. Fascinating thread. For 16 years I’ve taken Methylphenidate 54 mg ER in the AM and 20 mg fast release around 2 pm for ADHD. I take 30 mg Citalipram to combat the depression that started soon after starting. I also take 100-150 mg Trazadone at night to counter the above meds. Through a series of events, I’ve been without Methylphenidate for 5 days as the VA pharmacy was closed Sat through today, MLK day. I feel remarkably clear-headed. I was irritable and had stomach cramps the 1st couple days, but am doing better. This seems too easy. I want to continue without the medicine and see how it goes. I see though that depression is a side effect. I thought it would be a non factor since the methylphenidate was the Rx shutting down the “stuff” that required I take Citalipram–I want to taper off it as well. Is there danger in any of this? It’s been 16 years, I want to feel “me” again.

    1. Hi, Brian. I suggest you consult your doctor ho help you plan an individualized tapering schedule just for you.

  38. My mom has been on Ritalin 2.5 mg. once daily for 2 weeks now for depression, taken with Zoloft 200 mg. daily. She is having side effect, and want to go off of it, how does she taper off it. It causes her blood pressure to be high and she does not want to eat. It also makes her more nervous and cranky, she seems to be more depressed on it. Thanks kathy

    1. Hi, Kathy. Experts claim that gradually reducing the medication is a safer way to quit it. So, I suggest your mother consult her doctor to help her plan an individualized tapering schedule only for her. Good luck!

  39. Question what if I don’t want to give my son methylphenidate on the week end because there is no school but he suppose to take it everyday, am I causing him problems?

  40. I am 56 years old and have probably had ADHD all my life, undiagnosed and self medicated with alcohol, drugs, nicotine and caffeine. I have just recently started taking Methylphenidate Hydrochloride. If the Doctor told me it was Ritalin, it did not sink in! I am going to ask to stop taking it, but not sure what I am going to do as since quitting smoking, hyperactivity has gone wild. Any suggestions (other than nicotine patches?)

  41. I just recently started getting Ritalin prescribed to me again. ( I took it as a child, and stopped after I graduated). I suffer from adhd, and I can honestly say I am a much better person on the meds than off of them. I can focus, multitask, and think more clearly. I am more ambitious and motivated to ” get things done”, and without it I am lazy, discombobulated, impulsive, and irritable. I have been taking them daily (illegally) for a few years now in my adult life, but just got them perscribed to me again. My performance at work is embarrassing and agitating without Ritalin. I am glad I went back to my doctor to get my own now so I don’t have to buy them from people. I must say though, I snort them some of the time, like early in the morning -to get going quickly, or like when I have a lot to do without a lot of time to do it. After I snort them, I feel sharp as a tack, witty, and productive. When I don’t have any, I have severe symptoms of withdrawal, such as : exhaustion, irritability, soreness in muscles and joints, foggy headed, depressed, self loathing, disorganization, etc… .I dont think I ever want to stop taking it. I like myself better on it. Do you think I will be able to keep getting it prescribed to me for the rest of my life, or is there danger taking it for too long???? *Bestdrugever!

    Sometimes I only sleep a few hours a night for many days (weeks) in a row. When I am without it, all I want to do is sleep, which causes me to get depressed because I get overwhelmed with household chores backing up, and not spending quality time with my wife and kids. I feel like a slave to ritalin because i don’t want to live without it!! I have developed a tollerance, and find that I have to take larger doses than what is prescribed. So, I still have to get some elsewhere because my script isn’t enough for me, and my doctor doesn’t want to give me a higher dose. I take ( on average) 60 to 200 mg. Per day. Wish it was over the counter here like it is in Lily’s “third world” country (from a previous comment) !

  42. Hi, my husband was on 80mg of ritalin as a child up until high school where he decided he didn’t want to take it anymore. He is fine, but now 25 years later he is very short tempered and had trouble comprehending things easily. When he gets into something he is almost ocd-ish. If that makes sense. I’m wondering if the use of ritalin as a child is having prolonged affects on his brain that causes him to have these almost violent tendencies and if he should be put on something once again? Please help.

    1. Hi Briana. The Ritalin withdrawal symptoms list is a long one, and abdominal cramps and pain is one of the symptoms. Seek your doctor’s medical help or ask a pharmacist about some OTC’s or herbal remedies that can help you calm your stomach.

  43. I live in Korea. I had a scrip for Adderall at home and when I came here (4 years ago) I built a deal with a guy, and he sent me the rits and said they are almost the same. Then he fell down and didn’t send me the 10mg everyday that I took so I could dance and hold the edges in. And now I am here and falling down myself. It hurts.

  44. I have been taking Ritalin for 5 yrs now, 60 mg pr day, problem being that I am sniffing a too big part of it and its making my nerves crack down and wanna stop sniffing it and just continue to take it orally as I need it for work and life in general. Life with ADD and a very proud spirit combined with being mixed nationality (not B/W but still problematic enough) and never feeling at ease necessitates R, or at least thats my excuse. Needed Xanax to cool down on but not easily available where I live, so fighting with the CNS tremor caused by sniffing…and need to get out, first day in a new attempt to stop sniffing is actually today!!! Wish me luck…!

  45. Hi Cindee. That is horrible what you and your son have to face! If your son runs out of his medication, he’ll probably feel withdrawal symptoms after his first missed dose. While withdrawing from Ritalin is an uncomfortable experience, it is not life threatening. Talk to the doctor about how you can treat your son’s withdrawal symptoms until he gets another prescription. I hope it all goes well!

  46. Enough already, I’m thru! After months of trial & error with multiple types & doses of ADHD medications, the sedition the headaches sadness hopeless & still depressed I have had all I can take!
    Ups & mostly downs hoping endlessly to get it right , the time & energy (wasted) on waiting & worrying trying & praying .
    I can take no more ! Exhausted I give up. No longer worth it.
    No answers or real knowledge from Dr I’m throwing in the towel & giving up Ritalin &/or any others !
    My supportive husband will be here by my side, I have a new RX of Lorazapam for the anxiety , wellbutron -depression- my norco for any headaches or such that become to much to bare !
    Please tell me will I see the end of this emotional roller coaster soon? And, after all that then what???
    Still ADHD!!

  47. My son is taking 10mg of Ritalin twice a day. His prescribing Dr. is no where to be found and my son is running out of his Ritalin Rx. We scheduled an appointment with a new Dr., but he is not going to have the Rx for about 2 weeks. I am very nervous and am wondering if he will have serious side effects from suddenly stopping the Rx. I am cutting him back to 10mg once a day until the Rx runs out.

  48. I stopped taking immediate release Ritalin cold turkey (after 3 years of heavy use, 200-350 mg daily) and I don’t recommend that to anyone. The withdrawal symptoms are very very nasty. Severe depression (suicidal thoughts) and fatigue will be immediate after and will last weeks.

  49. Hi, I have been using Ritalin for the past 14 years. Started as a teenager after being diagnosed with ADHD. I don’t take it daily. I only take it when I need to study/focus/read, write academic materials, etc. So, I am not sure if I am an addict. I can go on without it for months if I don’t need to produce; and sometimes I take twice daily. But, now I am in a situation where I can’t work/produce without it. My cognitive efficiency and ability increase significantly when I take it. My wife hates the fact that I am on a dangerous drug. Plus, I experience almost all the side effects when I use it. I want to stop using it but I am worried that my career will be significantly hampered if I don’t take it. Do you have any suggestions for me about how stop this?

  50. I have been on Ritalin for 5 months. Average dose only 3.75mg. (In 5mg. quarters).
    The first three months were pretty good regarding focus and less fatigue. However,
    the last several months have taken quite a turn in regards to Mood Swings and Depression.
    Efforts to reduce Ritalin have only led to feeling catatonic particularly 2 to 3 days of trying to
    cut off Completely. Never thought it would be this bad on this dose. Trying to keep the dose
    at 2.5 mg/day now.
    Is there a clinic or doctor near Camarillo, CA that deals with Ritalin Withdrawl and can
    an SNRI like Wellbutrin be useful in the Dopamine crash and withdrawl from Ritalin?

  51. I was prescribed Ritalin 20mg SR about 45 days ago. I’d like to stop using it as I don’t feel like myself when I am on it. Do I need to wean off it slowly since it’s been such a short amount of time?

  52. Well, i’m taking 300-400 in a 24 hour non sleeping day (i stay awake 24-36hs, then i sleep for 5hs and back to the game) Anyway, i either find a way of solving this or i won’t have to worry about it anymore shortly. I’m NOT suicidal, i just can’t stop taking them.
    Your post was helpful but… not quite. Thanks for trying tho, in the country i’m currently located are quite unaware of this kind of things so they’re not the solution.
    We’ll see.

  53. I have a 6 six year old boy who has ADHD .he has been taking Ritalin 15mg since he was 4 plus.but I have stop his medication completely for 1 week because I see he is a lot better and manageable without Ritalin.i just want to know weather it will do harm to his brain as I wan to stop the medication completely without reducing far I see he is very okay since I stop Ritalin for this past week.TIA

  54. Hi Blog
    I listen to your advise by consulting a doctor .and at last finally I coul give up ULTRA HIGH DOSES SNIFIING RITALIN 300mg aday.
    now it is 6 mounth I am clean.the withdrawal symptoms last 2 mounth for me but I coul give up after 11years on Ritalin

  55. Hi, I have a question to anyone out there who can be of help. I live ina third world country where Ritalin is available over the counter. Someone introduced me to it, and I began self-prescribing it to “get things done”. I know this was stupid. My use crept up, until I was taking 4-6 10mg pills daily. I would then use valium or alchohol to come down. This has been a pattern for about 18 months. I finally realized the insanity and have stopped cold turkey. Apart from blurry eyes and a bit of depression and brain fog, I feel ok. It has been 3 days. I do have a little anxiety, however. I have read it can cause permanent damage to the vessels of the heart and lungs. Am I going to be ok? Is 18 months of (not constant but pretty steady) use enough to have damaged me? Please someone out there reassure me as I dont have support where I am and its scary.

  56. What affect does snorting ritalin have on the body versus taking orally.
    My son was taking it for ADHD then I think has been snorting it. He is extremely tired .
    How can they be tired whe taking a stimulant.

  57. Hello Sophia. To recommend a cold turkey withdrawal seems a little careless, to be honest. I’d suggest that you seek a second opinion and ask for an individualized tapering plan from another doctor, or check in with your pharmacist for some basic guidelines. Either way, you’ll need professional medical assistance to come up with a specific plan made just for you.

  58. My doctor says that it is fine to just go off it, but I’d like to taper down instead. I’m taking 40 now. I thought I could do a couple days of 30 and a couple of 20 and a couple of 10. Do you think this will help reduce possible side-effects? And how long do the side-effects typically last for people?

  59. Hello Brenda. You’ll need an expert opinion from a pharmacist or a psychiatrist in order to know if methylphenidate withdrawal causes the behavior, or not.

  60. I am writing a neglect report on an individual who is prescibed Ritalin. He has Severe Mental Retardation and Autism. He has been taking 2, 40 mg tablets every day for a long period of time. He ran out of medication and on the 7th day he had some behaviors which were out of the ordinary for him. Could the sudden stop of the Ritalin have been a factor?

  61. Hello Rick. Insomnia can be caused by a number of different psycho-emotional issues. Have you sought help through talk therapy or via meditation to learn to calm the mind?

  62. I took ritalin (60 mg/day) but had sleeping problems for years. So I decided to stop it. The last weeks I only took it only Mondays and Tuesdays, then at 9th of September I stopped completely.

    Now I feel very bad. I can’t sleep at night. The biggest problem is to fall asleep but if I do, I wake up again and again. At the morning I feel tired and have some panic attacks over the day. How much time does it take until that is over?

  63. Perhaps you dont beleave but I could give up ritalin with ultra high doeses two month.
    I used th a t shitt fot four years and sfter two month just sleeping problems.i found an extra wsy to givving it up

  64. Hello Morice. Withdrawal can last longer for some individuals than others. Have you consulted with his prescribing doctor to supervise the withdrawal?

  65. Hi
    my son is addictied to ritalin, he is been taking 20 mg daily for about 9 months now. He started having insomnia lately and has decided to quit. H stopped taking the drug for 10 days now and is suffering from withdrawel effetcs. Is 10 days enough for detox. He didnot see his doctor yet.
    Thank you

  66. I was diagnosed with adult ADD and had used a SR formulation for over 20 years under a Psychologist’s care. I retired and moved and am currently under a GP’s care. Since I was having trouble sleeping, I was prescribed trazadone which helped the sleeping problem. At the same time, I went off ritalin almost cold turkey. It’s been a bugger with emotional lows, organizational problems. My patience is reduced and am more irritable. My brain “feels” like I’m using another part of it. I’m taking the same antidepressant which seems more needed than ever. I wasn’t warned that I might have these problems – but my MD did warn that this area wasn’t one that he had experience. To compensate for dysorganizational concerns, I keep a notebook with daily projects and status — which helps. This has been much harder than I expected. Some old demons have returned from my pre-ADD Dx of 40 years.

  67. I only took Ritalin once which was yesterI think I might of overdose took 3 not sure on the doses of each, I didn’t sleep at all last night which I new that would prob happen but will the side effects go away when it’s all out of my system I have a higher heartrate and I was sweating under my arms when I wasn’t doin anything active, and it was alitle hard to breath for awhile but that’s a lot better now. I know I’m dumb but will I be ok I’m young and healthy only 16 so will they go away or do I have to see a doc 🙁

  68. Hello Olivia. Tapering is preferred over cold turkey withdrawal from Ritalin. Continue dosing at prescribed amounts until you get to detox, when you will evaluated and then put on a tapering plan.

  69. I have been abusing Ritalin for almost 5 years. It does not make me feel good but it makes me get stuff. done Some days I take 100mg of it. Now I have not taken it in two day and I am not doing well. I am going to rehab in a few days but I need help on if I should not take it or ween off it. Someone is holding my medication with the concern I will abuse it. So I need help on how I should deal with this. Please anyone help.

  70. Hi Maureen. Yes, depression can be attributed to protracted withdrawal symptoms provoked by long term use of methylphenidate. Have you discussed your symptoms with your doctors?

  71. I am a 61 year old female who stopped ritalin and antidepressants cold turkey after approx 15 years of daily use (prescribed). It’s been about 6 months and I have restarted antiepressants (3 months ago), still struggling with depression, tho feeling a bit better lately. Can stopping the ritalin suddenly be contributing to the depressive sxs?

  72. Hi Josh. The best thing would be to take your friend to a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who deals with drugs and the mind. Perhaps there’s a tapering regimen that can work. Or maybe your friend needs other treatment. If you can get him treatment, you’re showing compassion and true friendship.

  73. Hey… My friend took Ritalin for 3 weeks and now he’s insane. He’s NOT prescribed to it. But now he has gone cold turkey. He has no physical affects but hes gone completely insane in the head… Any advice?

  74. Hi Kaveh. I’d suggest that you consult with your prescribing doctor. Often, a family doctor is connected within the medical community and can refer you to services that can help. If you’re ready to stop with help…it’s out there!

  75. hi

    i am taking 20*10mg a day by sniffing for 3 years,some how maybe 30 *10mg……..but it is various.depending my feeling.
    i had tries 100 times to go off my self but no benefit.
    the last experience the honor one was suddenly stop it.gently symptems face musscles spacm and lead to back muscles too.i could not speak …………………
    please,please help my i need hewlp to build up my life.i am 30years o;ld i want to marry…..

  76. Hi Sue. That’s a great question. I’d suggest that you call up your pharmacy and ask a pharmacist. While methylphenidate and amphetamines are related, I’m not sure whether or not you would go through Ritalin (methylphenidate) withdrawal while on Adderall. Please let us know!

  77. Hello, I was given Adderall to replace Ritalin 10mg bid to Adderall 10mg bid however I have been extremely lethargic more so than normal as I have Chronic fatigue syndrome. I have even tried to take more Adderall with the same complaint. Could I be having Ritalin withdrawal while taking Adderal? Thank you for your time. PS I was on Ritalan for three years at same dose.

  78. Hello I. Shapiro. Thanks for your questions. You might expect a case of severe depression upon withdrawal from Ritalin. Other side effects can include: fatigue, increased appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, vivid unpleasant dreams, as well as psychomotor retardation or agitation. But check in with your prescribing doctor before you stop…perhaps there are other considerations to account for.

  79. Hi there. Are there any dangerous physical withdrawal symptoms from high doses provided there are no pre-existing medical conditions? (160-180 mgs taken orally a day.) I understand the psychological effects of going cold turkey, but I lack the discipline to taper the dose. I’m also experiencing very unpleasant side effects and would like to quit immediately.
    Thanks for any advice you may have,

  80. Hi Linda. I’d suggest that you seek a second opinion from ANOTHER doctor ASAP. I’m not sure if these aggressive and violent acts are the result of too much Ritalin (amphetamines), but it is possible. You need medical help and you need it now!

  81. 5 year old boy drinking Ritilin for 4 weeks half of 10 mg at 7:00 in the morning and about a week or 10 days ago he starting behave badly and the school called his mother and the they did not know about the Ritilin on advice of the doctor. He is more busy, shouting, attack other children, run and climb dangerously, attack his brother, try to drown his little brother in the bathwater, throws things to his mother, suffers in the night breathing, eats not good, speaks about death, he is very angry and aggressive . What must we do because his doctor is overseas ? Do you think it is the Ritilin? Can we stop it and if so what is the best way? Can we give him half of the dose he drinks now, for a week or more and try to stop it Thank you and kind regards. Linda

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