How Ritalin Use Can Affect Emotional Health

Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant that works by altering the levels of brain chemicals that deal with impulse control and hyperactivity. It is also used to treat the symptoms of narcolepsy and can be an effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when combined with behavior modification, counseling and other therapies. Ritalin is highly habit forming and long-term users of the drug can experience both physical and emotional side effects when going through withdrawal. Many of the emotional side effects can be severe, and families and loved ones can be negatively affected along with the user.

Ritalin Withdrawal Side Effects

Ritalin dosages are based on weight, so children who are taking the drug to manage symptoms of ADHD have withdrawal symptoms when they grow. Because these withdrawal symptoms can happen without warning, parents and other caregivers can be surprised by the behaviors. Some emotional side effects of Ritalin withdrawal can include:

  • Depression – characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, withdrawal, self-blame, and changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns
  • Anxiety – worry, repetitive behaviors, nervousness, dizziness, and compulsiveness
  • Hallucinations – seeing, hearing, and feeling things that are not there
  • Delusions – false beliefs like someone is out to get him or her
  • Behavioral changes – unusual outgoing or aggressive behavior

If your child or loved one uses Ritalin and exhibits any of these behaviors contact his doctor right away. He may be experiencing withdrawals from the medication and need a dosage adjustment.

Emotional Affects of Ritalin

During times of withdrawal, those who are closest to the person using Ritalin can feel the full force of behavioral changes, mood swings and other withdrawal symptoms. The person using Ritalin can become combative and aggressive and say or do things that hurt those they love. This can be an emotional roller coaster for parents as they watch their otherwise loving child turn on them in frightening ways. Most doctors prescribing Ritalin to patients recommend a comprehensive treatment program that includes counseling and other types of therapies to help the person using the drug learn coping skills for emotional issues. Participating in a support group and getting parental and family counseling will help loved ones deal with emotional outbursts and recognize the signs of dosage problems before things get out of hand.

Ritalin Addiction Recovery

Although Ritalin is used as a treatment for ADHD and narcolepsy, there is a risk of users becoming addicted to the drug. This is especially true if older teenagers and college students are misusing their prescriptions as a study drug or increasing their dosage when they feel they need more help focusing. Adjusting medication or using Ritalin for recreation increases the risk of addiction. If you or a loved one think you might be addicted, getting into a quality treatment program can help you detox and deal with the addiction in a safe way. Trained medical staff will guide you through the detox process and psychotherapists and counselors will help you understand your addiction and how to use your medication in appropriate ways to avoid relapse.

Find Help for Ritalin Addiction

Ritalin is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States. People who use the drug to control the symptoms of ADHD are still at risk of addiction. If you or a loved one struggle with Ritalin abuse, we are here to help you. Call our toll-free number 24 hours a day to get your questions answered about Ritalin addiction and available treatment options.