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Ritalin is a stimulant prescribed for conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Is Ritalin addictive? It does have the potential for abuse, particularly among teenagers and adults in search of the high from Ritalin.
There are several psychological, physical, and behavioral signs of Ritalin addiction to be aware of. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we have familiarity with treating Ritalin abuse. Treating Ritalin abuse begins with recognizing that the recreational use of Ritalin is an addictive behavior.
What is Ritalin?
Ritalin, or methylphenidate, is used as a treatment for ADHD. The medication works by altering the number of specific chemicals in the brain. Ritalin belongs to the stimulant drug class. It can boost your ability to stay focused. It can also help to address behavioral problems.
The medication is also offered as a treatment for narcolepsy. It is recommended that the medication is taken late in the day. It can otherwise lead to insomnia in those without narcolepsy. The dosage of Ritalin will depend on the individual’s medical condition. It will also be based upon the individual’s response to treatment.
It is not recommended that patients stop taking their medication suddenly. This may lead to withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are more likely if the medication has been used for an extended period or in high doses.
Can Ritalin be addictive? It absolutely can be. The risk may increase if there is a history of substance use disorder.
Behavioral Signs of Ritalin Abuse
There are several signs of Ritalin abuse to be aware of. Recognizing these signs can allow you to better provide help to loved ones. Some of these signs could include the following:
- Irritability and uncharacteristic anger
- Depression, anxiety, and panic attacks
- Changes in behavior that include lying and stealing
Once the signs of Ritalin abuse are recognized, parents or loved ones may want to recommend a treatment program. Ritalin abuse can result in significant adverse effects in the life of the addict. However, many of these effects can be reversed with a comprehensive treatment program.
Who is Likely to Abuse Ritalin?
Many of the studies about addiction to Ritalin focus on abuse by teenagers. However, there is also significant abuse among adults. Students and athletes, both in high school and college, are quite often seen abusing several substances.
Ritalin is abused due to its ability to work as a stimulant. For those struggling with a heavy workload, it can be appealing to abuse this medication. Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that Ritalin can improve academic or professional performance.
Is Ritalin Addictive?
Ritalin is prescribed to help those struggling with some of the symptoms of ADHD. The drug, methylphenidate, is classified as a Schedule II narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This puts it in the same classification category as amphetamines, cocaine, and morphine.
This classification indicates that Ritalin does have a medically identified therapeutic purpose. It is also very susceptible to being abused due to it being a nervous system stimulant. The drug is abused by some because they feel that it can promote certain effects, which includes the following:
- Improved ability to concentrate
- Boosted mental sharpness
- Help to manage an overwhelming workload
- Stimulate or increase weight loss
- Encourage feelings of being high
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we offer treatment plans that can address the physical addiction. We can also work with our patients to address the psychological side of the addiction.
Physical Signs of Recreational Use of Ritalin
There are several physical signs that an individual may be engaging in recreational use and abuse of Ritalin. It is important to note that there are some key differences between symptoms and signs of abuse.
An individual who abuses a substance will experience a physical symptom. An individual who is able to observe the symptom effect will understand it to be a sign of abuse.
There are several signs of Ritalin abuse to be aware of:
- The individual takes more Ritalin than what was originally prescribed
- The person using Ritalin feels he or she should cut down on use. But is unable to do so
- Devoting significant time to Ritalin, and the use of it
- Feeling strong cravings or urges to take the drug
- An inability to meet family, school, or professional obligations
- Avoiding spending time engaging with family, friends, social events, and hobbies
- Building up a tolerance to Ritalin, and needing more of the drug
- Withdrawal symptoms when the dosage is reduced, or stopped
Those who engage in Ritalin abuse report that they feel a sensation of being high. This high is often followed by a crash. It is during this crash that the individual may feel depressed or extremely fatigued. There are several other side effects commonly seen when Ritalin’s recreational use is extreme.
- Low appetite, or a complete loss of appetite
- Heart palpitations
- Headache and insomnia
- Blurred vision
The Signs of a Ritalin Overdose
Even prescription medications can bring with them the risk of overdose. Knowing the signs of an overdose could be an important part of helping a loved one. Some of the signs of an overdose of Ritalin could include but are not exclusive to, the following.
- Sweating and dehydration
- Numbing in the hands and feet
- Muscle pains and cramps
- Throwing up
- Tremors, twitching, spasms, and seizures
- Psychosis, some of the symptoms may mimic schizophrenia
A heart attack is even possible, even in those who do not have a history of heart disease.
Understanding the Symptoms of Ritalin Withdrawal
Going through the withdrawal process is an essential part of recovery. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we do our part to make detox and withdrawal as comfortable as is possible. Irritability and anger maybe some of the signs of withdrawal. Feeling exceptionally tired and sleeping deeply for hours on end maybe another.
Many people report feeling extreme hunger as they no longer have the drug suppressing their appetite. Panic attacks and night terrors can become an unfortunate reality for many people during withdrawal. Being in a safe and secure behavioral health facility will allow patients to feel the comfort they need.
Free Insurance Verification for Rehab
Are you feeling unsure about the steps to recovering from a Ritalin addiction? Resurgence Behavioral Health can help. Our treatment programs are designed to meet the recovery needs of the individual. Addiction can be challenging to overcome.
Recovery is, however, always possible. The first part of the recovery process is to know when to reach out for the help that is needed. Begin with allowing our insurance experts to verify your available coverage. From there, you’ll be able to get started on the right recovery path. Treatment programs offer a supportive environment that those in recovery need.
A comprehensive treatment program will address the individual needs of each patient in recovery. Your sobriety is possible. With the right support and the right set of coping mechanisms. We can help get you on the right path.