Ritalin is a psychostimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It has a milder but similar effect on the brain as cocaine. For people struggling with ADHD Ritalin has significant positive results on structuring brain activity and attention, but when taken by people who do not have ADHD it can wreak havoc on the brain even while helping them focus. There is a low risk of addiction in users with a legitimate prescription for the drug. But when taken by college students and young adults recreationally, the potential is strong. Abuse of this drug has increased significantly in recent years with some studies suggesting that up to 20% of all college students have used it as a study or weight loss aid. The long-term effects of this kind of abuse can be devastating.
Risks of Illicit Ritalin Use and Addiction
Because Ritalin is so commonly prescribed to children many people mistakenly believe that it is harmless. However, Ritalin destroys certain brain functions, like the ability to focus. Those who abuse Ritalin also develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effects. They will eventually find that they can’t concentrate at all without the drug. Some people have reported mental breakdowns after long-term abuse. Others transition to harder stimulants like cocaine or crystal meth as Ritalin loses its potency. The bottom line is that Ritalin is not a safe stimulant.
If and when an addict stops taking the drug, she could experience intense withdrawal symptoms that are similar to those of cocaine or meth. Severe fatigue, paranoia, insomnia, arrhythmia, depression and suicidal thoughts and actions are all symptoms of Ritalin withdrawal. The onset of these symptoms, or fear of them, can cause people to abandon their efforts to get clean. Continued use, however, only makes these symptoms worse.
Ritalin also creates a strong psychological addiction. The rush or high that the user feels when he first takes the drug is a sensation the brain will crave aggressively. The pleasure center of the brain – the same area responsible for impulse control and emotions – is triggered by this high. The biochemistry of the brain actually changes and in time the user will be unable to stop abusing Ritalin.
The most effective treatment for Ritalin addiction comes through specialized facilities who understand how to relieve withdrawal, identify and treat any co-occurring disorders and then do the necessary work to rehabilitate the mind from the effects of psychological addiction.
Get Help before Ritalin Destroys Your Mind
You only have one brain. No school work or high pressure job is worth the long-term devastation brought on by illegal use of Ritalin. If you need help getting clean we are here for you. Call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline and our specially trained counselors will help you take the first steps toward freedom. If you’re ready to put Ritalin behind you, we’re ready to help. Call today.