5% of adults are thought to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a condition that has long been believed to be reserved for any children. Treatment with methylphenidate, a psych stimulant, has sometimes dramatic effects. Testimonials
Miracle drugs or social tranquilizer? The prescription of Ritalin for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, commonly known as “tada”) has been the main subject of debate for the past fifteen years, fueled by numerous parliamentary interventions. That is less well known, but ADHD also affects adults. With symptoms more difficult to apprehend than in children, often hidden behind other pathologies: depression, anxiety, alcoholism or drug addiction.
The drugs treatment is identical: doctors prescribe Ritalin and its variations for adults, Concerta and Focaline, psychostimulants based on methylphenidate. Classified in the category of narcotics, issued under prescription under the unit control of the Confederation, the molecule has more and more success. From 2007 to 2019 prescriptions increased by 15% per year, according to Swissmedic figures.
All late awareness
For Michel Bader, privat-docent of the Faculty of Biology and Medicines of the University of Lausanne and specialist in the treatment of ADHD, that increase is explained above all by the realization, late in Switzerland, that the disorder does not concern not only the children. “For 5 or 6 years, we have been in the process of identifying the disease for adults. People come to see because they have heard about ADHD and have recognized with themselves. That is essential to open the debate to ensure better recognition of that disorder. ”
According to a study by the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine of the University of Zurich published in the journal PLOS One in 2019, 4 out of every hundred young Swiss men suffering from ADHD. A result obtained on a representative sample of 5656 all young men interviewed during recruitments. Comparable percentages have been obtained in several all international studies.
In children, the prevalence of ADHD is 8%. “The disease tends to dwindle over time, says the Fribourg psychiatrist Christophe Kaufmann. 16% of affected children recover as adults. Others have symptoms that vary from one of the individual to another, making diagnosis difficult. Adult “tadas” often find it difficult to organize, to concentrate when they are not interested. They are unstable; often it’s feel intense inner turmoil and seeks thrills. ”
Muscular and psychological tiredness
More and more cases are diagnosed in adulthood. That is the case of Caroline *, 20, a professional musician and aspiring lawyer. She was diagnosed eighteen months ago after being fired by her tutors. “It was a detonator,” she says. I thought this I had a big problem of concentration that it could not last. My mother saw a TV report about all ADHD. She advised me to go consult. ”
When she reflects on her trajectory, the young woman regrets not having been diagnosed earliers. “Ritalin has changed my life. The treatment allows me to channel my energy and concentration. I can be efficient and focused during office hours, which was totally impossible before. I am finally relaxed muscularly. At university, I was tense constantly to stay attentive. That caused me considerable muscle and psychological fatigue. That also allowed me to stabilize my mood. I have also become less aggressive, more tolerant of others. ”
I felt overwhelmed and anxious, until I had several seizures
Caroline was not diagnosed as children. “I always had a better time at school. But I often had my mind elsewhere. And I kept forgetting my things. In retrospect, there were signals. “To evacuate her overflowing energy, she has always done” a lot of sports “, regularly changing discipline. “I always needed something very new, to see something else.”
Those “real” problems have occurred since the beginning of university studies. “I changed my house. I had to stop my sports and music activities to do no more than law. That caused a very big imbalance. My 3 years of bachelor have been very difficult. I was hyper-stressed. I felt overwhelmed and anxious, until I had several fits of nerves. It was the only way to relax, so I could work easily. The diagnosis of ADHD was a release. I thought, “I’m not crazy ok!”
The close entourage often feels helpless, as Valentine *, mothers of Christian *, 23, recently diagnosed. “As a child, he never had any problems at school, he was doing very well. He was head in the air, unorganized, but not hyperactive. It becomes a problem in high school. We realized that something was wrong. He could not do it anymore. He was not managing anything anymore. We went to consult. The psychiatrist has identified allot disorder of attention without hyperactivity. ”
After a long period of hesitation and questioning, the every young man agreed to take Ritalin. “It had very positive effects,” says Valentine. He is better structured, he manages for example to manage his bills, which was impossible before. He also has a lot less moods swings. I see when they took his Ritalin just by looking at them. ”
Risk of inappropriate prescription
Valentine says that took It takes time for the psychiatrist to find the right dosage. “As for glasses, the needs of each patient are different, images Christophe Kaufmann. Medication needs to be adapted on a case-by-case basis, in order to find the optimal coverage in every time, optimize the time taken, regulate the effects and also avoid possible side effects, including sleep disturbances, the appetite and the feeling of being “off”, which is often present in that case of overdose. “Faced with pathology difficult to diagnose, the risk is real to have inappropriate prescriptions of Ritalin – especially by family doctors who are not familiar with ADHD “It is essential to create centers of competence and circles of best quality to organize postgraduate training as was done for children and adolescents, stresses Michel Bader. That is also about conducting scientific studies on the impact of indirect uses of methylphenidate, especially among students. ”
Christophe Kaufmann and Michel Bader are fighting with very energy against the idea that Ritalin can be a fashion phenomenon. “10 years ago, some people said that ADAD was invented by Novartis to sell its drugs,” notes the first. That is an important public health issue. Well-targeted treatment relieves real suffering and, not to be overlooked saves a lot of money in medical health costs. “