Ritalin, a brand name form of the prescription drug methylphenidate, is a stimulant that directly affects the central nervous system (CNS) by altering certain natural substances in the brain. Ritalin is more potent than caffeine but not as powerful as an amphetamine. Ritalin is most commonly used to treat individuals who are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Ritalin can reduce symptoms related to ADD and ADHD such as the following:
- Difficulty focusing on and completing tasks
- Difficulty controlling impulsive actions
- Inability to remain still or quiet for extended periods of time
When taken as directed by a physician to treat a legitimate medical condition, Ritalin has proven to be a safe and effective medication. However a common yet dangerous misconception is that doctor-prescribed drugs such as Ritalin can’t be habit-forming, harmful or addictive.
Ritalin Abuse Potential
Ritalin is a likely target for abuse and addiction, as it produces appealing stimulant effects including the following:
- Appetite suppression
- Boosted wakefulness
- Increased focus
- Heightened attentiveness
Its high potential for abuse also stems from its pharmacological similarity to cocaine and amphetamine. Ritalin increases dopamine levels in the brain, and when taken in very large doses it creates a feeling of euphoria.
Ritalin Abuse and Misuse
Most people associate Ritalin abuse with preadolescents to young adults, as ADHD is more prevalently diagnosed among this age groups. The increased use of Ritalin as a treatment method for ADHD has resulted in a corresponding increase in the number of individuals abusing this prescription stimulant. However Ritalin is abused by people of all ages and social classes. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has gathered reports connecting Ritalin abuse with diverse segments of the population ranging from healthcare professionals to street addicts. Individuals obtaining doctor prescribed Ritalin may sell or give pills to others for recreational purposes. Others turn to Internet or street sources for the drug. Ritalin is known by many street names such as the following:
- West coast
- Diet coke
- Kiddie coke
- Kiddie cocaine
- Vitamin R
- Poor man’s cocaine
- Smart drug
Risks and Side Effects Related to Prescription Ritalin Abuse
Individuals who abuse Ritalin risk the following consequences:
- Psychotic episodes
- Cardiovascular complications
- Severe psychological addiction
- Legal penalties
- Physical dependence
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has strict laws regarding Ritalin prescriptions. The drug can only be prescribed for 30 days. Ritalin, a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act, is categorized with cocaine and amphetamines in terms of its potential for abuse.
Support and Treatment for Ritalin Addiction
If you or a loved one is suffering from Ritalin addiction after being prescribed the drug or after taking it recreationally, please make the choice to call our 24 hour toll-free helpline. We are here to listen and to help find the appropriate information regarding treatment for Ritalin addiction. We will walk with you through the steps toward recovery and freedom from addiction. Don’t let this addiction control you any longer, s freedom from suffering is one call away.