Ritalin is a drug often prescribed to treat attention problems such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD). It may be prescribed for narcolepsy, or off-label for adults with ADHD or ADD, although the FDA has not approved this use.
When taken as prescribed, Ritalin may have a mild stimulant effect. Ritalin may increase alertness and energy, and may make it easier to focus. With regular use tolerance may develop, so to feel the effects people must abuse Ritalin by taking it more often than prescribed or by increasing their doses. In this way, even someone who is used to the medicine can stay awake for long periods of time or focus on a difficult task. Ritalin increases dopamine in the brain’s reward pathway, so people often abuse the drug for these feelings.
When someone abuses Ritalin, it may dramatically increase the amount of dopamine in the brain and central nervous system. This may lead to mood swings, and regular abuse may permanently change the brain to cause schizophrenia or psychosis. These issues may increase the chance of developing mental health issues later in life, even after someone quite abusing Ritalin.
How Mental Health Issues May Lead to Ritalin Abuse
Individuals with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression or other mental health issues may have low levels of dopamine. When these issues go untreated, patients may abuse Ritalin to self-medicate this problem. While this may initially lessen symptoms, Ritalin abuse may lead to erratic fluctuations in dopamine levels, making mood swings even worse. These mood swings may lead to higher doses of Ritalin, dependence and addiction.
People with mental health issues who took Ritalin at a young age may be predisposed to abuse the drug later in life. Ritalin abuse may cripple the developing brain and limit responsiveness in the reward pathway. This makes people more susceptible to stress, encouraging Ritalin abuse as a way to cope.
Treatment for Ritalin Abuse and Mental Health Issues
Mental health issues such as schizophrenia and psychosis are difficult to treat, and may be more difficult when they coincide with addiction. Dual Diagnosis treatment may be the best option for people suffering from a difficult disorder. Medical professionals assist with detox and diagnose patients for mental health issues while remembering the addiction to ensure an accurate diagnosis. A treatment center staff treats each patient as a whole person, helping patients understand how addiction and mental health issues affect each other. This detailed level of treatment greatly increases the chances of quitting Ritalin and improving symptoms from mental health issues.
Treatment for Ritalin Addiction and Mental Health Issues
If you struggle with mental health issues and Ritalin abuse, then get help now. Our counselors can help you find treatment that will address your needs and help you quit using Ritalin. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now to begin the recovery process.