Generically known as methylphenidate, Ritalin is a stimulant of the central nervous system. Stimulants do just as the name implies – stimulate the user, resulting in increased energy, alertness, attention and focus. Ritalin is a commonly prescribed drug that is used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children and adults, narcolepsy, a chronic sleeping disorder and tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate). When used as directed — and under the care of a qualified physician — Ritalin is an effective form of treatment. But Ritalin addiction can occur quickly if it is abused.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has classified Ritalin as a Schedule II drug, meaning the potential for abuse is high. Although it is legally prescribed in full and extended-release tablets or capsules, people who abuse Ritalin often do so by snorting or injecting it, which increases the drug’s potential for addiction. When crushed and snorted, Ritalin can produce similar effects to the stimulant drug cocaine. Street names for Ritalin include kiddie coke, Vitamin R., Skittles, Smarties, and Diet Coke.
Ritalin is readily available, which is an integral part of the potential for abuse. Studies show the availability of methylphenidate is certainly increasing, with a spike in ADHD diagnosis. according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), prescribed use and diagnosis of ADHD have continued to rise. The percentage of those aged 4-17 diagnosed with ADHD jumped from 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007. According to rncentral.com the number of children taking Ritalin is doubling every two years, and two million people take Ritalin today. The production of Ritalin has increased by nearly 500 percent in recent years.
If you think you or a loved one is abusing Ritalin, call the professionals at our Ritalin addiction treatment center today for a free consultation.
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The “Study Drug”
Ritalin addiction has become popular among teen and college-aged students over the last several years due to its stimulant effects. According to data from the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), 1.3 million teens surveyed admitted they had misused Ritalin or Adderall, another methylphenidate used to treat ADHD, in the past 30 days. Also, commonly referred to as “smart drugs” or “study drugs”, young people are utilizing Ritalin and other methylphenidates to pull all-nighters for studying or to simply stay up and party. Many think Ritalin is safer to use because it’s a prescription drug that happens to mimic the effects of cocaine. But they couldn’t be more wrong.
Abusing Ritalin is extremely dangerous. Not only can it lead to dependence and addiction, it can end in serious brain injury, overdose, or death. Ritalin, in addition to similar ADHD drugs Concerta, Methylin and Equasym, affects the neurotransmitters, dopamine levels of the brain and norepinephrine, a naturally occurring chemical responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response. When taken as prescribed, Ritalin helps people with focus issues gain greater executive function, which includes skills such as organization, problem-solving, reasoning, and planning. It also improves memory, controls disruptive/hyperactive behavior and boosts overall motivation. Long-term abuse of Ritalin, however, can cause aggression, psychosis and an irregular heartbeat that can lead to death. It’s important to note only those with genuine ADHD problems will see improvement in condition symptoms after taking Ritalin. In fact, the latest research indicates those who take the drug as a study aid or recreationally likely won’t see improvement. Moreover, many of the symptoms Ritalin treats — such as executive function and behavior control — become worse following prolonged abuse requiring Ritalin addiction treatment to help reverse the effects.
Ritalin and Alcohol: An Unsafe Combination
Because Ritalin is popular among teens and college students, it’s important to note that drinking alcohol while taking the drug is not safe and will change the way the drug works. While Ritalin is a CNS stimulant, alcohol is a CNS depressant. When the two collide, increased side effects occur as well as the risk of overdose or alcohol poisoning. A user may experience a racing heart rate, high blood pressure, moodiness or drowsiness. Mixing Ritalin and alcohol makes it more difficult for a person to tell how drunk they are, which can lead to alcohol poisoning and other complications including unconsciousness and accidental death.
Ritalin Addiction Symptoms and Side Effects
Abusing Ritalin usually results in a range of noticeable symptoms that can indicate addiction. These symptoms and side effects include:
- Nervousness and excitability followed by exhaustion
- Lack of appetite and weight loss, resulting in anorexia
- Anxiety and irritability
- Stomach pain, nausea
- Tolerance, resulting in the need to take more Ritalin to get the same effects
- Rapid and irregular heartbeat
- Changes in blood pressure
- Intense paranoia
- Delirium and confusion
- Angry, aggressive and sometimes violent behavior
- Restlessness and agitation
- Delirium and confusion
- Impaired cognitive functions
- Compulsive and repetitive behaviors
Despite Ritalin’s reputation as a “safe” drug, taking too much can result in overdose and death. The symptoms of overdose include rapid breathing, extreme agitation, heartbeat problems, convulsions, hallucinations, confusion, and fever. If you believe a loved one is addicted to or abusing Ritalin, call us today to learn about our Ritalin addiction treatment program.
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Ritalin Withdrawal Symptoms
- Trouble concentrating
- Mood swings
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Vivid dreams/nightmares
- Drug cravings
- Anhedonia, or inability to feel pleasure
Following detox, progress towards sobriety continues with behavioral and psychiatric care. Through a number of therapies – individual, group and experiential – we will teach you how to manage cravings, avoid the triggers of abuse and get you back to enjoying life without drugs. Our goal is to bring you back to health during treatment and provide the tools to sustain long-term sobriety outside of treatment. We see miracles every day at 12 Keys Rehab — now we want to see yours.
Ritalin Addiction Treatment in Florida
Because taking Ritalin produces tolerance and physical dependence, quitting abruptly results in a variety of physical and psychological side effects. Symptoms such as extreme exhaustion, problems with sleep, intense cravings to use Ritalin, anxiety, and depression are all common. Since people who abuse Ritalin usually take more than the recommended dose, these symptoms worsen with the intensity of the addiction. Although quitting Ritalin is difficult, it is safer and easier when you decide to enroll in a comprehensive Ritalin addiction treatment program. 866-480-4328
At 12 Keys Rehab, we offer progressive holistic care combined with the 12-Steps design for living, all in the comfort of our small recovery center. Treatment for Ritalin addiction begins with medically assisted detox where our caring staff is there to help you, with around-the-clock care to help ease all the discomforts of withdrawal.
Why spend another minute letting a Ritalin addiction take control of your life? Call us now for a confidential, no-obligation consultation and find out more about our Ritalin addiction treatment program. At 12 Keys Rehab, we can help you find your path to freedom, starting right now.