Can Ritalin Cause a Hangover?

Can Ritalin Cause a Hangover?

Ritalin, otherwise known as methylphenidate hydrochloride, is a stimulant drug that has become more controversial as it is increasingly abused by both students and working adults. Originally designed to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), this drug creates chemical changes in the central nervous system by temporarily stimulating brain receptors and briefly increasing dopamine levels.

Ritalin is effective in treating ADD/ADHD in many cases; however, it is often misused or illegally used, traded or sold for the “high” feeling it creates. When used by a patient with attention problems properly, this drug can help increase concentration. However, when individuals who do not have ADD/ADHD use this drug, it can create problems in thinking, and can even affect the body like a small dose of cocaine or other dangerous stimulant.

The Ritalin Comedown

Often called “The Ritalin Comedown,” a hangover after using Ritalin or other amphetamines can be quite harsh. In some cases, the Ritalin hangover is so severe that the user resorts to using more of this drug in order to avoid these painful feelings. An amphetamine hangover can cause the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea or stomach problems
  • Headache
  • Lethargy or sleepiness
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Changes in breathing
  • Panic attacks or anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Body aches or muscle cramps
  • Issues with blood pressure
  • Tooth grinding or tooth damage

All of these symptoms can range from mild to dangerously severe. Because Ritalin causes changes in thinking and brain processing, this drug can lead to poor decisions such as forgetting to eat or sleep, neglecting basic hydration needs, making impulsive decisions or other risky behaviors. Dehydration may become an issue, leading to a hangover feeling.

Once an amphetamine enters the body, the brain immediately responds by slowing the natural production of healthy, normal chemicals in order to try to restore balance. As the Ritalin leaves the body, the brain will take some time to re-adjust and begin producing normal levels of serotonin, dopamine and other important chemicals. These shifts in chemicals can lead to depression, or a “come-down” feeling that many Ritalin users find very difficult to cope with.

The lure to feel the high that Ritalin can cause, and avoid a Ritalin crash after this drug wears off, leads many people to begin abusing this drug more and more. Many users express a desire to quit, but get caught in a cycle of use and abuse just to get through the day without crashing. Over time, many people develop a dependence on this drug that is very difficult to overcome.

Ritalin Addiction Help

If you would like to learn more about how Ritalin impacts the brain, or if you have concerns for yourself or someone you love, please call our toll-free helpline. All calls are confidential and our lines are open 24 hours a day. Call now to speak with an experienced recovery expert who can help you learn more about addiction treatment, family counseling options, Ritalin detox services and even insurance coverage to help you get started.