Ritalin is a brand name of methylphenidate. Its pharmacological properties and mechanism of action are similar to cocaine, amphetamines (speed) and methamphetamine (crystal meth). Ritalin is a controlled substance, but uncontrolled, illicit and recreational abuse of this drug is a growing problem in the United States. Ritalin abusers may think they can control their use, but this is a dangerous attitude and may be a slippery slope toward addiction.
Prescription Use of Ritalin
Doctors regularly prescribe Ritalin to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is great deal of controversy surrounding this practice. The makers of Ritalin claim that low doses of Ritalin cause no serious effects with short term use, and a large amount of clinical and anecdotal evidence supports the idea. However, there is a lack of data regarding the safety of long-term Ritalin use. Long-term use of stimulants can produce a long list of negative side effects, including psychosis.
Many who oppose Ritalin use in children claim that long-term use of prescription stimulants may encourage children to abuse drugs later in life, although there is a lack of data supporting this idea. However, some data shows that many people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder used stimulants as children. Furthermore, many people with these issues and who took stimulants as children also suffered an earlier onset of the conditions and more severe symptoms.
Recreational Use of Ritalin
With the increased availability of Ritalin, large amounts of the drug are diverted to the black market, which increases the incidence of abuse and addiction. Many people use Ritalin not to achieve a high but to increase their mental focus. This practice is especially common on college campuses among students preparing for exams.
Other people abuse Ritalin to get high. To increase the effects of the drug, people crush the pills and snort the powder or dissolve the powder into a liquid and inject it intravenously. Either method increases the effects of the drug, the potential for addiction and indirect health problems. These problems can be nasal or sinus infections, a deviated septum, abscesses, collapsed veins and infections of the blood or heart.
Ritalin abuse is common in public schools, where students sometimes sell their pills to make a profit. Some students fake ADHD symptoms to get a prescription to abuse or to sell.
Help with Ritalin Abuse
Thinking you can abuse Ritalin recreationally without risk is a dangerous attitude to adopt. It is a psychostimulant, and abuse can lead to a powerful addiction that requires professional treatment to recover. If you or someone you know is addicted to Ritalin and needs help finding treatment, or if you simply have questions about the drug, its use, abuse, addiction, treatment or recovery, call us. Our helpline is toll free and we are available 24 hours a day.