Ritalin is a prescription stimulant that treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but as noted by Slate magazine in 2003, it shares the following similarities with cocaine:
- Both drugs target the brain’s dopamine system to regulate sensations of pleasure
- Both drugs produce a flood of dopamine by preventing the brain from reabsorbing it
- Both drugs compete for the same binding sites on nerve cells
- One major difference is that cocaine’s effects are more immediate than Ritalin’s
While many people take Ritalin for legitimate reasons, other people use the drug for the following reasons:
- To lose weight
- For advantages in athletics or academics
- To get high
- To enhance late-night partying
Because prescription stimulants take time to affect people, some users crush and snort Ritalin pills to experience an immediate rush.
Prescription Drug Use Rates
Illicit drug use is more common in men than women. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides the following data on nonmedical prescription drug use in 2011:
- 21.9% of men reported lifetime nonmedical use compared to 18% of women
- 6.2% of men reported past-year nonmedical use compared to 5.2% of women
- 2.6% of men reported past-month current use compared to 2.2% of women
- 18 to 25-year-olds had the highest amphetamine usage rate of any age group
- 4.9% in this group (1.7 million people) report Ritalin abuse
- 1.7% of adults aged 26 or older (3 million people) reported Ritalin use
- Ritalin led all prescription stimulants by age and gender in nonmedical use
In 2003, USA Today published the editorial “Girls Get Extra School Help while Boys Get Ritalin.” The article discussed how gender plays a role in how students learn: when boys start to fall behind academically, parents often ply them with Ritalin rather than applying different learning models. Even if the medication helps, Ritalin is a psychoactive, addictive drug, so it is important to watch for signs of abuse.
Ritalin Abuse Signs
The following problems can occur from Ritalin abuse:
- Physical and psychological discomforts such as paranoia, insomnia and nausea
- Behavioral changes that include obsessive use, social withdrawal and risk taking
- Mood changes with spikes in anxiety, panic attacks, aggression and nervousness
- Unhealthy increases in heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure
If left untreated, long-term abuse can have more serious effects, including irregular respirations, tremors, fevers, convulsions, psychosis, seizures and strokes.
Ritalin Addiction Treatment
If someone has a Ritalin addiction, he can recover with the following treatment methods:
- Medically supervised detox that minimizes withdrawal symptoms
- Integrated treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders, like anxiety and mania
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that encourages healthier mental activity
- Strategies to identify and avoid drug cravings
- Motivational interviewing that helps patients find their own recovery paths
- Group therapy to share experiences and gain support
Certain facilities also cater their services to stereotypical male desires, including adventure therapies and outdoor activities.
Help for Men Ritalin Addicts
Do not let addiction pull you down. Our admissions coordinators are ready 24 hours a day to discuss treatment methods, facility locations and specialized therapies. Health insurance companies recognize the value of treatment, so we can check your policy for benefits. Our helpline is toll free, so please call us now.