Am I Experiencing Side Effects of Ritalin or Signs of Dependence?

Am I Experiencing Side Effects of Ritalin or Signs of Dependence?

Ritalin is a prescription stimulant that treats attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When used as directed by someone with ADHD, the drug calms and focuses the mind; however, when abused recreationally by someone without this disorder, then this drug produces the following effects:

  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Increased concentration and memory recall
  • Decreased appetite

These effects drive millions of college students and young professionals to abuse the drug to enhance their performance. Unfortunately, this kind of abuse is extremely dangerous and powerfully addictive. Some people who abuse Ritalin may experience symptoms that seem like common side effects, but those symptoms may actually indicate physical and psychological dependence.

Ritalin Side Effects

Even when used as directed, Ritalin can cause the following side effects:

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Elevated blood pressure

At therapeutic doses, these side effects are relatively rare and often end in a matter of days. On the other hand, recreational abuse usually involves increasing doses as the body becomes tolerant to the drug. This kind of drug use can cause ongoing, recurring and potentially dangerous side effects.

Symptoms of Ritalin Addiction

The brain uses a fragile system of chemical signals to manage sleeping, waking, learning, impulse control and other aspects of healthy psychological functioning. When used as directed, Ritalin will lose its stimulating effects to help users focus their attention, sleep properly and retain information. Patients become dependent on a daily dose of the medication in much the same way that other people become dependent on blood pressure medication. If you have been using Ritalin therapeutically for even as little as one month, then you may be dependent on it, but in a safe way. Some people use the drug for years in this manner, while others find that after a few months they can control their ADHD symptoms without help.

However, because Ritalin is so commonly prescribed, many people mistakenly believe that it is safe to abuse. The truth is that this drug is chemically related to methamphetamine, and it has similarly addictive properties as that notorious substance. The following are some of the more common signs of Ritalin dependence:

  • One or more failed attempts to stop using the drug
  • Defensiveness when confronted about drug use
  • Diminishing effects despite escalated use
  • Adding additional drugs or alcohol to intensify the effects
  • Onset of withdrawal symptoms if the drug is not used regularly
  • Dishonesty with friends, loved ones or medical professionals about drug use

If you or your loved one experiences any of these symptoms, then seek help immediately. Getting off of Ritalin without medical supervision can be as dangerous as abusing it.

Safe Recovery from Ritalin Addiction

The safest and most effective way to end Ritalin abuse is with medically supervised rehab. The most successful programs diagnose underlying or co-occurring issues that addicts have, and then they prescribe a combination of medical care, counseling and psychological rehab. This treatment is available in either inpatient or outpatient formats, depending on the amount of time someone has been abusing the drug and at what intensity.

For more information, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now. Our admissions coordinators are available all day and night to connect you with the best treatment programs available. Call now for instant support.