Insomnia and Ritalin Abuse

Because Ritalin is often prescribed to treat a type of hyperactivity known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, people may assume it is a sedative. It is, however, a stimulant drug that is chemically similar to other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamine. Because Ritalin stimulates the central nervous system, it causes increased alertness and wakefulness. This can affect sleeping patterns and cause users to suffer from insomnia. Because Ritalin increases wakefulness, it is also sometimes prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a condition in which people fall asleep too easily.

Ritalin also has high abuse potential. Because the drug increases alertness, it is often abused by students who feel they need help studying or completing assignments. It may also be abused by people wishing to lose weight.

How Ritalin Causes Wakefulness

Ritalin increases wakefulness primarily through its effects on the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is one of the neurotransmitters involved in stress response. Ritalin increases the amount of this body chemical, which then contributes to increasing a user’s heart rate, blood flow, glucose levels and oxygen levels.

Insomnia is a common side effect of Ritalin, even in patients taking small doses of the drug under a doctor’s supervision. Patients are advised to take the last dose several hours before bedtime. For people who abuse the drug, insomnia can become a significant problem.

Health Effects of Insomnia

The health effects of insomnia can be serious and can magnify other effects of Ritalin abuse. Sleeplessness affects the brain, especially the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, leading to a loss of the ability to reason logically. Memory and speech control may also be affected, and people can become more irritable and emotional. The risk of accidents also increases dramatically. Ritalin abusers wanting to combat insomnia sometimes begin to abuse central nervous system depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepine drugs, which can lead to an increasing cycle of problems.

We Can Help You Find Recovery

If you or a loved one has become dependent on Ritalin, we can help you find the path to recovery. Call our toll-free helpline and let our counselors discuss the issues with you and answer your questions. We are available 24 hours a day to help you understand treatment options and check your insurance coverage, at no cost or obligation. Do not let insomnia or other effects of Ritalin abuse ruin your life any longer. Please call now.