What is Ritalin?
Ritalin is a drug that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD). In some cases, it is also used to treat narcolepsy. Ritalin is known as a “smart drug,” with the main ingredient in it being methylphenidate. The drug acts similarly to amphetamines, which is why the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified it as a Schedule II drug, which means that it is highly likely that people are going to abuse it.
Other than a high likelihood of abuse and addiction, Ritalin also has several other adverse side effects. People who take Ritalin can experience nausea, stomachaches, and headaches, sleep cycle disruption, heightened anxiety, as well as increased heart rates. Ritalin also affects the mood, can cause irritability and lowers a person’s appetite. This is why Ritalin is not prescribed to people who have sleep disorders or blood pressure problems, as well as to people who have a higher risk of developing dependency on the drug.
What makes Ritalin so Addictive?
It has to be noted that methylphenidate is structurally similar to amphetamines, such as cocaine. When a person takes it, it produces a feeling of being high, which can be quite addictive. The thing to note is that after the person experiences the euphoric effects, a depressive slump follows, which is why the users tend to take more of the drug so that they can feel high again. This tends to lead to abuse of the drug. In many cases, the users of Ritalin end up crushing the pills and snorting them through their nostrils, and even melting it to inject it directly into the bloodstream. This is because they tend to develop resistance to the drug and they want to increase its effects, as well as to get high quicker.
Ritalin is often prescribed to children and adolescents because of the ADD and ADHD and people can become addicted to it at an early age. Ritalin has proven to be quite dangerous for the children, as several deaths have been reported in minors because of heart attack associated with complications with methylphenidate. Ritalin abuse, however, is something that is more common in people taking the drug when they have not been prescribed it. Many people tend to use the drug for studying, helping them focus, for its euphoric effects, and also for weight loss.
Recognizing Ritalin Prescription Drug Abuse
It is important for parents, teachers, and other caregivers to recognize the signs and symptoms of Ritalin abuse. One of the biggest symptoms is reduced appetite. When people do not eat much, it can result in dizziness and fatigue. Ritalin can also cause pupil dilations as well as vision impairment. Ritalin abuse can also cause various mood disorders, such as agitation and depression. Some users have also reported hallucinations and paranoia. Agitation and paranoia can further lead to violence as well as obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Several treatment options are available for people who abuse Ritalin. One of the most important things for the Ritalin users is to get proper and professional treatment from a rehabilitation center. The thing to note is that individualized programs are necessary for such treatment, as every person is different and has unique circumstances surrounding his or her case. Ritalin can cause both physical as well as psychological dependencies, which is why it is important to address the issue properly and professionally. Patients can face withdrawal symptoms after quitting the drug, which can include fatigue, sleeping problems, aggression, and panic attacks. This is why it is not a good idea for the patients to quit the drug suddenly, as they should slowly be weaned off it. Treatment can be conducted in-home or at rehabilitation centers.