Ritalin Addiction (Methylphenidate)

Ritalin Addiction

Ritalin® | What is it?

Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant most commonly prescribed as a treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is also prescribed for:

  • Depression

  • Narcolepsy

  • Obesity

How Does Ritalin® Work? Ritalin is a moderate strength stimulant, significantly stronger than caffeine, but not as strong as amphetamines. When taken as prescribed, it is ingested orally, as a liquid, immediate release tablet, a chew-able tablet or an extended release tablet or capsule. An exceptionally popular drug, Ritalin is prescribed to more than 4 million children in the United States alone. Until recently, however, scientists were not certain exactly how the drug worked. Scientists and researchers now believe that Ritalin works to increase the levels of nor-epinephrine and dopamine in the brain. These increased and amplified levels enhance what scientists and physicians call “task specific signaling”, decrease distractability, and increase attentiveness and focus.

Side effects of Ritalin Addiction

Common side effects of Ritalin are usually mild, and include but, not limited to:

  • Wakefulness
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Stomach Aches
  • Dry Mouth
  • Blurry Vision
  • Nausea
  • Tics
  • and Drowsiness

Less Common but more serious side effects include:

  • Hypersensitivity
  • Anorexia
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Blood Pressure and Pulse Changes
  • Cardiac Irregularities
  • Anemia
  • and Psychosis.

Long-term Ritalin use has side effects similar to long term cocaine usage.

Abuse: When Ritalin is prescribed for medicinal purposes, patients begin at a low dose, and this dose is increased, slowly, if needed. By gradually building the dopamine levels in the brain, the patient has less of a chance to develop a dependence on or addiction to Ritalin.

Illicit users will crush and snort the Ritalin for an immediate, euphoric high. The liquid form can be injected for the same effect. The high is immediate, but wears off quickly, and the user needs to procure more of the drug.

Over the past two decades, college and high school students have been using Ritalin during high-pressure periods to increase their attention span, focus, and concentration.

Conclusion: Ritalin is a widely prescribed stimulant that increases Dopamine levels in the brain which leads to dependence typically associated with over medicating. There are common side-effects. Most of which mirror that of Cocaine use. The withdrawal symptoms from Ritalin are similar to those symptoms experienced when detoxing from other psycho stimulants, like cocaine or crystal meth. The withdrawal symptoms include tiredness, anxiety, depression, lethargy, hunger, cravings, nausea and worsening of ADHD symptoms. The American Psychiatric Association lists suicide as a major complication of Ritalin withdrawal.

Most physicians recommend tapering the Ritalin doses in an effort to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

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