We know well about the natural mood enhancers which are present in our body. They are serotonin and endorphins. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes well being. Endorphins are the chemicals released during physical or mental stimulation that promote feelings of well being. There are mood enhancers from our food, herbs and chemicals.

The natural mood enhancers include:

• L-Theanine from green tea
• Chocolates with its small amount of phenylethylamine
• 5-Hydroxy Tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin from food
• GABA, gamma-Aminobutyric acid
• Extracts of St. John’s Wort
• Caffeine

These are very useful to enhance our mood. We all know the positive effects of green tea. The amount of chocolate and the amount of cocoa solids present plays a vital role. Chocolates more than 70% cocoa solids are the best. 5-Hydroxy Tryptophan tablets will not work to increase the amount of serotonin. GABA can relax our brain. St. John’s Wort is one of the most studied medicinal plants in our world. One or two cups of coffee are good in a day, but too much of caffeine is not good.

There are chemical mood enhancers which are used intensively in the world. They include:

• Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
• Modafinil (Provigil and others)

The uses of methylphenidate include:

• As a part to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
• To treat patients with narcolepsy, excessive daytime sleepiness
• Certain cases of depression

Ritalin is a mild stimulant which works by affecting the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system. It is useful to increase attention, decrease impulsiveness and to decrease hyperactivity. This medication should not be used to treat simple fatigue symptoms.

The side effects of Ritalin include:
Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, nervousness, loss of appetite, stomach pain, headache, painful menstruation, difficulty in falling sleep or staying asleep, fast and irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, faintness, excessive tiredness, slow or difficult speech, numbness of an arm or leg, seizures, agitation, blurred vision, hallucination, abnormal thoughts, mood changes, depression, fever, hives, sore throat, unusual bleeding, joint or muscle pain, skin rashes, itching and difficulty in breathing or swallowing.

Methylphenidate may cause sudden death in children and teenagers with serious heart problems or heart defects. In adults heart attack or stroke with heart defects or serious heart problems can occur. Talk to your doctor about these problems, particularly the risk of this drug in medication.

Ritalin should be given cautiously to emotionally unstable persons, such as those with a history of alcoholism or drug dependence. These patients may increase the dosage on their own. Abuse of Ritalin can lead to marked tolerance and psychic dependence with abnormal behaviour.

Methylphenidate may slow children’s growth and can give problems in weight gain. Your child’s doctor must accompany you both during the whole therapy to take necessary action immediately when it is necessary. All the other forms are not serious and may be dangerous to your child’s health.

Methylphenidate should not be used in children under 6 years of age, since safety and efficacy in this age group have not been established.

Methylphenidate is a Schedule II drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances in all countries.

To be continued…