Addiction to Ritalin Explained

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Understanding More about an Addiction to Ritalin

While Ritalin has helped many people with various mental problems, it is a Schedule II narcotic for good reason.  Abuse of the drug can turn into a dependence and addiction. An addiction to Ritalin is not easy to break and usually requires some form of professional treatment in order to beat.

What is Ritalin?

The scientific name for the main compound found in Ritalin is methylphenidate. Its use varies from treating narcolepsy, depression and chronic fatigue to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It affects the central nervous system, helping to make the person more alert and improving their focus.

Addiction to Ritalin

An addiction to Ritalin occurs when the person needs to take the drug in order to function. Without it, they suffer from withdrawal and cravings because their body has become reliant or dependent on the narcotic.

Addiction changes brain function to the extent that the person carries on using the substance even though they are well aware of the problems it causes. It is an uncontrollable urge or craving that causes the drug-seeking behavior.

Addiction to Ritalin Symptoms

For starters, when a person uses Ritalin in any other way apart from the way the doctor prescribed, they are abusing it. The reason a person does this is because of how it makes them feel. Ritalin affects the section of the brain that is in charge of controlling feelings of reward. The main chemical involved is dopamine. An increase of dopamine causes a euphoric feeling. When abuse of the substance occurs for pleasure frequently, then addiction can follow.

Once an addiction has begun to form, the person starts to feel sick when they don’t have it. Most substance abusers will continue to take the drug so that they can avoid the negative effects of quitting, known as withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction to Ritalin symptoms during withdrawal includes the following:

  • Depression
  • Vivid nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Cravings
  • Anhedonia, or an inability to feel any pleasure
  • Increased appetite

Addiction to Ritalin Treatment

The most common addiction to Ritalin treatment can be broken down to three main stages: intake, detox and therapy.

Intake consists of seeing an addiction specialist so that they can determine what the best form of treatment will be. Various questions are asked to establish the length of the addiction, other drugs that may be involved, possible co-occurring mental disorders, medical history and anything else that may be relevant to their treatment.

Treatment then starts with a medical detox. A medical detox differs from just going cold turkey in that the person has access to prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are effective at treating the specific symptoms the person has. Some medication can also help to prevent relapse by blocking the effects of the drug. This can especially important for someone who uses an outpatient program for detox.

After detox, the patient is advised to join a treatment program that aims to give the individual new coping skills, help them work through issues and deal with any co-occurring mental disorder such as ADHD. Another major part of rehab is relapse prevention. Without ways to stop the process of relapse, it can be difficult to remain drug-free over the long term. To that end, when a person leaves rehab, they will also be given information about local support groups so that they can continue to manage their recovery with the help of other people who are going through the same situation.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/monitoring-future-2013-survey-results-college-adults

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3839489/