How Does Ritalin Work?

Ritalin is a drug prescribed to patients, especially kids, with narcolepsy, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. The drug can help those with short attention spans and abnormally high level of activity. When taken as directed, Ritalin is both effective and safe; however, the drug is habit-forming and has the potential for abuse and addiction. Because of its popularity, many people, both young and old, can easily acquire the drug for recreational or abusive means.

How Does Ritalin Impact the Mind and Body?

When taken for a legitimate medical reason, Ritalin stimulates the central nervous system. Individuals with ADD/ADHD have a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes short attention spans and high levels of energy. Ritalin increases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which ultimately stimulates under-active neurons, causing the brain to work harder and feel better while doing so. The result is this: a more balanced, functioning central nervous system. The originally unbalanced brain is now adjusted, and those struggling with hyperactivity feel calm, relaxed and focused. The effects of Ritalin (when used correctly) include the following benefits:

  • Improved attention span
  • Lessened distractibility
  • Decrease in restlessness, agitation
  • Increased ability to control emotions
  • Relaxation, feelings of content and an improved sense of wellbeing

While the drug benefits users who truly need it, Ritalin poses significant threats when it is abused.

What Are the Risks of Taking Ritalin?

For those without a chemical imbalance, Ritalin will produce an entirely different reaction. When abused, it causes the central nervous system to go into over-drive, speeding up the functioning of the brain to produce dopamine rapidly. The stimulant effects are multiplied, which is why Ritalin abuse is compared to using speed or cocaine. The effects of Ritalin abuse can produce heightened emotions and both physical and psychological energy. Individuals abuse the drug to improve their mood, lose weight, stay awake for hours, concentrate to get a task done and get high.

Ritalin abuse can cause scary side effects, such as the following problems:

  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain, digestive problems and loss of appetite
  • Overdose, fatal overdose
  • Dependence, addiction and withdrawal

How Do People Get Addicted to Ritalin?

Ritalin addiction is so common because many people underestimate its potential danger. They believe they can abuse it on occasion and avoid addiction, but Ritalin is habit-forming and tolerance-building, meaning users will need more and more to feel its effects. Swallowing yours or a friend’s prescription pill seems innocent compared to purchasing cocaine off the street, but this mindset causes many to abuse prescription drugs. Over time, the body becomes both physically and psychologically dependant on the drug to fulfill its chemical needs. Without Ritalin an addict may feel lethargic, depressed, sick or otherwise in pain without taking the drug.

Ritalin Addiction Help

If you are concerned that you are addicted to Ritalin, don’t panic: there are people who can help. Pick up the phone and call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today to speak with one of our addiction counselors. Counselors can assess your situation and also find a treatment program that meets your addiction recovery needs. The consequences of addiction will turn catastrophic if you let them, so take action before it is too late. Decide to get help now and call us today.