The easiest way to understand the effective use of Ritalin is to think of the medication as a building block. When a person has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, there has been a breakdown in the chemical “walls” of the brain. With this type of imbalance, the sufferer lacks focus and impulse control. Those Ritalin “building blocks” help repair the “walls” and restore balance.
However, when Ritalin is used by a person who doesn’t already have an imbalance, it can actually have the opposite effect by breaking down those chemical walls and causing havoc in the brain.
Increase in Ritalin Abuse
As with many prescribed medications, there are those who have tapped into some of the temporary side effects of Ritalin and converted it into an abusive substance. This has lead to an increase in Ritalin addiction. There are two common causes cited for the rise of Ritalin addiction. First of all, because Ritalin is a “sanctioned pharmaceutical,” there are fewer stigmas attached to it as opposed to an obvious illegal narcotic such as cocaine or heroin. This gives abusers the false belief that Ritalin must be safe to take. It’s also a drug that is readily available thanks to over-prescribing and access to online drug distributors.
The second common reason for a rise in addiction is that many users take the drug for what they consider to be reasonable reasons. Ritalin is passed around college campuses to help students study or stay up all night for cram sessions. Others turn to Ritalin to help them lose weight. At its core, Ritalin is a stimulant and so it can provide those types of benefits, but in extremely short bursts. That means a person will need to continually use and increase the dosage for it to be “effective.” It’s not hard to see how this can quickly build up to an addiction.
Ritalin Addiction Symptoms
There are some telltale signs of a person who is struggling with a Ritalin addiction. They are:
- Mood Swings: These aren’t typical “bad days” but instead are wild extremes of depression or euphoria exhibited in a person who was not like this before taking Ritalin.
- Hiding Side Effects: A person taking Ritalin could end up staying awake for long periods of time. When the effects of the drug wear off, they will “crash” and end up sleeping for equally long periods of time. A person who tries to hide this type of behavior could be having an addiction issue.
- Increases in Aggression or Paranoia: A person hooked on Ritalin could display bouts of high anxiety in the form of aggressive behavior or overwhelming paranoia. When confronted about these extremes, the person will often deny it all.
The bottom line to look for is a dramatic change in personality and habits. If there is someone in your life that you suspect of having a problem with Ritalin abuse, call the toll-free number on this page to find professional counseling help.