Five Signs that Someone Is Experimenting with Ritalin

Five Signs that Someone Is Experimenting with Ritalin

In two different 2013 articles, the New York Times reported that one in 10 high school boys and up to 35% of college students take prescription stimulants. Ritalin, the most widely used prescription stimulant, is meant to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but many people experiment with the drug for nonmedical reasons. There are several motivations for illicit Ritalin use, including the following:

  • Rapidly reduce body weight
  • Stay awake for late-night partying
  • Gain an academic advantage over others
  • Improve concentration for athletic competition
  • Flood the brain with dopamine to get high

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2010, adolescents aged 12 to 19 are prescribed stimulants more than any other drug on the market. Likewise, the 2012 findings from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 1.2 million Americans aged 12 or older currently use prescription stimulants illicitly.

Ritalin Abuse Signs

Several things can suggest a person is experimenting with Ritalin, but there are five main types signs that should raise concern, including the following

  • Behavioral – Obsession with drug acquisition and use and increased social isolation
  • Physical – Spikes in blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and headaches
  • Psychological – Problems with insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, aggression and tension
  • Appearance – Sudden drop in body weight, skin rashes and a rise in nervous energy
  • Logistical – Evidence of doctor shopping or multiple ongoing prescriptions

When these signs occur, they are telling the user it is time to get professional help or risk serious health consequences.

Ritalin Abuse Risks

The annual Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report lists data on drug-related emergency room visits, and the 2011 findings found that Ritalin was involved in nearly 5,000 medical emergencies that year. Overdose and interactions are a risk, but the more common side effects of long-term abuse involve physical and mental health problems, including the following:

  • Potential for permanent organ damage and kidney failure
  • Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, seizures and convulsions
  • Extreme risk for users with an undiagnosed heart problem
  • Triggering of psychosis, mood disorders and paranoia

In explaining the chemical similarities between Ritalin and cocaine, Slate magazine noted in 2003 that both drugs target the same areas of the brain, compete for the same neuron binding sites and spike dopamine levels while simultaneously preventing the brain from reabsorbing the dopamine. Ritalin ultimately acts much like cocaine, which helps make addiction a common and serious risk.

Ritalin Addiction Treatment

Ritalin addiction can occur with all types of use, including medical, and it is important to address addiction issues as soon as they arise. Treatment centers can help with several potential therapies, including the following:

  • Ritalin detoxification in a medically managed and comfortable setting
  • Dual Diagnosis to provide integrated care for co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Therapies that promote healthier mental activity related to behavior
  • Identification of personal drug use triggers and strategies to avoid them
  • Motivational interviewing to help patients find their own reasons to change
  • Optional holistic treatment to reduce withdrawal symptoms and promote wellness
  • Group therapy to engage other recovering addicts and build support structures

Treatment centers also provide aftercare services, including referrals for local support groups and counselors.

Addiction Help

If Ritalin addiction has affected you or a loved one, call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to discuss warning signs, treatment options, facility locations, integrated therapies and interventions. We can also check health insurance policies for exact treatment benefits. Call now, and let us help.