Bottle for Ritalin tablets, empty, by Ciba Laboratories Ltd., English, 1950-1970
‘Ritalin’ is a brand name for a synthetic drug first manufactured in 1954 by Ciba. It was advertised as a stimulant for the central nervous system to treat clinical depression and narcolepsy. The drug is in tablet form. From the 1970s, Ritalin was also used to treat ‘hyperactive’ children, a condition we now describe as Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is only available on prescription. Side effects include insomnia and nervousness. Medication is just one way to help a child with ADHD and other treatments include cognitive behaviour therapy. In the 1800s hyperactive or disruptive children (as they would have been seen) were medicated with opium.