Can Ritalin Cause Personality Disorders?

Can Ritalin Cause Personality Disorders?

Ritalin is the most commonly prescribed drug for those suffering from ADHD. It is used to help people concentrate and be productive. Many with the disorder are younger, school-aged children. When used as prescribed, the medication can help make the lives of people dealing with attention problems much easier.

However, many people readily abuse the substance, usually in order to increase alertness when dealing with a difficult schedule. Children juggling sports, studies and other activities will sometimes turn to black market drugs to keep up with their busy lives. Without a doctor’s supervision, the chance for abuse and serious consequences is high. Hyperactivity, disrupted sleeping patterns, aggression, disorientation, extreme mood swings, panic attacks and anxiety are among the most common side effects of Ritalin abuse. Continued abuse can compound these problems, which can lead to an addiction. The more consistently one misuses Ritalin, the more likely it is that dependency and addiction will result.

Ritalin and Personality Disorders

Personality disorders can be amplified by the misuse of drugs and alcohol. For instance, the potential issues of Ritalin can compound dissociative personality disorder. Dissociative personality disorder is a disease where an individual has at least two distinctive personalities that are completely unassociated with each other. As a result, a primary symptom is memory impairment of important events that would not otherwise be forgotten.

There is not a great deal known about the illness, but belief is that the additional personality works as a coping mechanism for people with other issues, like post-traumatic stress disorder. Individuals with dissociative personality disorder are trying to separate themselves from past abuse, trauma, violence or pain. Ritalin can further assist users in dissociating from past pain or trauma.

Bipolar disorder (BPD) is characterized by a prolonged disturbance in personality function with mood swings that affect interpersonal relationships and cognition. The following are among the symptoms of BPD:

  • Unstable sense of self
  • Inability to maintain relationships
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Mood instability
  • Feelings of emptiness or depression
  • Paranoia
  • Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment
  • Difficulty controlling anger

More generally speaking, personality disorders and drug abuse problems often occur concurrently. Both issues, of course, are thought to occur at higher rates when a person experiences abuse as a child. When distressing acts occur at a young age, people are likely to develop both personality disorders and drug addictions when they get older.

Genetics is also connected to both problems. An individual’s genes may put him or her at a higher risk of developing one or both problems.

However, it is more common that those suffering from a personality disorder will look to alcohol or other drugs to decrease the effects of the disorder. The more individuals use a substance to assist in deadening emotions, the more addicted to the substance they become.

How We Can Help

If you or someone you know is suffering from Ritalin abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Call our toll-free number where our counselors are standing by 24 hours a day to answer your questions in a friendly, non-judgmental environment.