How Dangerous Is Ritalin Abuse?

Ritalin is the most prescribed medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It has become the source of much controversy. The concern is the many potential side effects that are teamed with Ritalin. There are over 5 million prescriptions for Ritalin in the United States alone. Since the 1980s, Ritalin abuse has been at a steady incline. Ritalin can in fact help develop improvement for ADHD, but the effects last only a few hours. Ritalin can help the symptoms of ADHD, but it is in no way a cure. It only postpones the time it takes to deal with the cause of the behavioral problems. To achieve the same effect, several doses of Ritalin may be required per day. This can cause some serious side effects. These Ritalin side effects include the following:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach aches
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Tics

More serious side effects include the following:

  • Hypersensitivity
  • Anorexia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Blood pressure and pulse changes
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Anemia
  • Scalp hair loss
  • Psychosis
  • Abnormal liver function
  • Leukopenia
  • Death

Ritalin has been considered a Schedule II narcotic since 1971. Schedule II medications have a high potential for abuse. Data compiled from law enforcement, parents, schools, physicians, poison control centers and adolescent treatment centers show that users who obtain Ritalin usually get it from someone with a valid prescription. Students who acquire the prescription illegally will take it orally, crush and snort the tablets or dissolve the tablets in water and inject them. Current research has revealed the following information about Ritalin abuse:

  • Between 30-50% of adolescents in drug treatment centers for Ritalin abuse have taken Ritalin orally or through snorting or injection.
  • A University in Indiana surveyed 44,000 high school students and found that about 7% reported having abused Ritalin at least once. Of those, about 2.5% report abuse Ritalin monthly or more.
  • Ritalin has been used as an illegal study aid on college campuses since the 1960s.
  • Data from poison control, emergency rooms and high school surveys indicate that Ritalin abuse has significantly increased since 1990. In 1990, there were 271 emergency room visits attributed to Ritalin abuse. In 1998, that number increased to 1,727. Children between the ages of 10-17 account for 56% of these visits.
  • According to data from the United Nations, the US produces and consumes about 85% of the world’s Ritalin.

Ritalin Abuse Help

If you are seeking help from Ritalin addiction for either yourself or a loved one, call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are standing by 24 hours to help you with your addiction and recovery needs. Begin to rebuild your life. Call today.