Chronic Back Pain and Ritalin Addiction

Chronic Back Pain and Ritalin Addiction

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a drug most commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, according to The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry article, “Methylphenidate Abuse and Psychiatric Side Effects” (2000), Ritalin can be used to treat more than just ADHD. It can also address the following:

  • Depression
  • Brain injury
  • Cancer
  • Pain

Methylphenidate can be used as an adjunctive agent to treat depression and pain. An adjunct is a drug or treatment that increases the effectiveness of the primary treatment option. While Ritalin is rarely the first choice for treating conditions other than ADHD, it can be used when other options do not work. Ritalin can combat certain symptoms of back pain such as depression, lack of energy and oversleeping, as its effects on serotonin and dopamine levels may have pain-relieving and anti-depressant effects. If a person struggles with chronic back pain, he or she may need alternatives or adjuncts for pain treatment. However, treatment for chronic pain involves elevated dependence and addiction risks, as chronic pain is, by definition, ongoing and long-term. Using potentially addictive drugs like Ritalin and prescription painkillers for long periods of time increases the likelihood of side effects, complications and addiction.

Back Pain and Ritalin Abuse

WebMD explains that psychological symptoms associated with chronic back pain include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Fatigue

While Ritalin may be prescribed to treat some of these issues, others may turn to this drug on their own in an attempt to self-medicate these co-occurring psychological issues. They may also self-prescribe Ritalin to combat the effects of other painkillers, as opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone can cause drowsiness and slowed reactions. Ritalin is a powerful stimulant and can temporarily relieve depression, drowsiness and fatigue symptoms by increasing energy levels and dopamine levels. Abusing Ritalin alone or in conjunction with other drugs such as opiates is dangerous and can lead to long-term addiction and physical and mental health concerns.

Recovering from Co-Occurring Back Pain and Addiction

Individuals struggling with chronic back pain may see drug use or abuse as their only option for pain management, but addiction recovery programs exist that offer alternative solutions for pain and stress management while addressing co-occurring addiction issues. Chronic back pain does not have to mean a limited life further stymied by Ritalin or other drug addiction. Call our toll-free helpline to learn more about comprehensive and integrated treatment programs that will offer real options for long-term addiction recovery. Our admission coordinators understand your struggles and the importance of finding a treatment program that recognizes you as an individual. All calls are toll free and confidential, so please pick up your phone and get connected to the best recovery resources.