Methylphenidate, better known by the brand name Ritalin, is a central nervous system stimulant prescribed by doctors to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a rare sleep disorder called narcolepsy. Because the drug increases energy, focus, and concentration, many people take the drug illicitly to assist in weight loss or to enhance academic and athletic performance. Ritalin also produces a euphoric high that motivates non-medical use, and some people crush and snort pills for a more immediate rush. A 2013 Slate magazine article noted the similarities between Ritalin and cocaine: they compete for the same neural binding sites and flood the brain with dopamine while simultaneously preventing reabsorption. Fittingly, both drugs are also Schedule II controlled substances due to their high potential for abuse. A Ritalin addiction can have many negative consequences, including financial ruin.
Ritalin Abuse Health Risks
Ritalin abuse can seriously harm a person’s physical and mental health in many ways, including the following:
- The University of Buffalo found that Ritalin can cause long-term changes in brain function
- Biological Psychiatry reported in 2003 that preteen use can result in adulthood depression
- Addiction hinders the neural reward center from registering non-drug-related pleasure
- Potential side effects include insomnia, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, hypertension, and accelerated bipolar disorder
- Potentially critical health risks include an increased likelihood of heart attacks, seizures, strokes, and overdose
In 2013, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released statistics on medical emergencies involving prescription stimulants, including the following:
- Emergency room admissions involving nonmedical use tripled between 2005 and 2010
- 45% of the 2010 patients also took other pharmaceuticals and 21% took illicit drugs
- Substances most commonly combined with stimulants were anti-anxiety pills (26%), alcohol (19%), and painkillers (16%)
Adults aged 18 and older drove the rise in stimulant-related medical emergencies with more than a fourfold increase.
Ritalin Behavior Changes
Treatment for drug-related health problems can wreck havoc on the checkbook, but behavioral side effects can also impact finances in several ways, including the following:
- Higher costs from doctor shopping, paying without insurance, and illicit procurement
- Obsessive drive to acquire and consume Ritalin that distracts from other priorities
- Lost work hours and higher medical bills related to the side effects of abuse
- Legal costs if caught purchasing Ritalin illegally or causing an accident while high
- Personality and mood changes that can put employment security at risk
Substance abuse in general tends to affect finances by shifting priorities, altering behavior and increasing the addict’s willingness to take unwise risks. These changes make it difficult to break an addiction on one’s own, but treatment centers can help.
Ritalin Addiction Treatment
Treatment centers begin with medically supervised detoxification that minimizes the withdrawal symptoms and follows with a number of potential therapies, including the following:
- Diagnosis and treatment of any co-occurring mental health or personality disorder
- Behavioral therapies to address drug-use triggers and maladaptive thought patterns
- Life skills tools to help patients better manage anger, stress, and strife
- Counseling to deal with unresolved trauma and unconscious conflicts
- Holistic options like yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, and hypnosis
- Group therapies to discuss personal experiences and develop a support base
The staff can also educate patients on addiction-related workplace protections. For example, employers cannot discriminate against a non-using recovering addict.
Effectively treating addiction is the first step to restoring financial security. Our admissions coordinators are ready to answer your questions 24 hours a day on our toll-free helpline. We can discuss treatment options, facility locations, and recovery support, and if you have health insurance, we can look up your treatment benefits. If you or a loved one needs help, please call now.