Ritalin is a medication prescribed for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It stimulates the brain to increase concentration, impulse control and decision-making power. Many students abuse it to enhance academic performance. Others use it illegally by faking symptoms of ADHD in order to lose weight because it is an appetite suppressant.
Ritalin is a highly addictive substance. When crushed and snorted it mimics the effects of cocaine. Recreational abuse typically follows a “binge and crash” cycle in which the euphoria created by the drug disappears before the substance leaves an individual’s system. To maintain the high, users will take more Ritalin, thereby creating a more extreme up and down effect. Tolerance and dependence quickly develop. Signs of Ritalin addiction include the following:
- Enlarged pupils
- High blood pressure
Two myths lead people to ignore a Ritalin addiction. The first misconception is that prescription drug abuse is not dangerous because pills can be obtained legally. The truth is, an addiction to Ritalin is as dangerous as an addiction to street drugs. A second myth that creates complacency about Ritalin abuse is the belief that individuals must “hit bottom” before they get sober. In reality, people who seek assistance quickly – before physical and psychological dependence become too severe – benefit from improved chances of recovering and preventing relapse. It is never too early to ask for help.
Becoming Addicted after Surgery: Who Is at Risk?
Going through surgery is difficult both physically and emotionally. While some individuals are seemingly unaffected, other people are led into addiction by using drugs such as Ritalin to cope with feelings of pain, frustration and isolation that often accompany convalescence.
Certain traits and personality features increase vulnerability to addiction during seasons of heightened stress. Several include the following:
- Low self esteem
- Impulsive behavior
- Difficulty in delaying gratification
- Antisocial personality
- Sensation-seeking disposition
- Social isolation
- Sense of elevated stress that leads to anxiety and/or depression
People who seek escape from recuperating from surgery often pass through the following stages of addiction:
- Experimentation without any serious negative consequences
- Misuse of Ritalin that leads to negative consequences such as driving under the influence or behaving poorly in public
- Abuse of Ritalin despite negative legal, social and emotional consequences
- Compulsion to use Ritalin despite a desire to stop
Addiction can develop over a long period of time or quickly. Symptoms of psychological dependence include the following:
- Mood swings
- Continued use despite negative consequences
- Preoccupation with finding and using drugs
- Depression or anxiety when not able to take drugs
- Loss of motivation
- Inability to handle typical pressures
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
Treatment for Ritalin addiction begins with detox. The process can take between 3-30 days depending on the severity of the addiction. Once the drug is removed from the system, psychological dependence can be treated. Common approaches include the following:
- Counseling to identify emotional and mental issues behind the addiction
- Ongoing therapy to boost coping skills and prevent relapse
- Family therapy for affected loved ones
- Attendance at a 12-step support group such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to correct faulty thinking and generate healthy emotions
- Spiritual guidance
With the right help and support, it is possible to make a complete recovery from Ritalin addiction.
Getting Help for Ritalin Addiction
If you or someone you love suffers from addiction to opiates and Ritalin, help is available. Recovery counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can guide you to a drug-free life. Don’t go it alone. Please call today.