Is Ritalin Addiction a Disease?

Doctors generally treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with Ritalin, a prescription medicine that increases the amount of dopamine in the brain to help a patient focus and concentrate. Dopamine affects the reward and pleasure center in the brain, so prescription users take Ritalin in gradually increasing amounts to let the body adapt. If a person increases the dosage too quickly or purposely takes a large amount, the dopamine spike creates a euphoric high. These highs lead to addiction, and like all drug-related dependencies Ritalin addiction is a disease.

How Ritalin Addiction Occurs

Ritalin is an amphetamine derivative in the same family as cocaine and crystal meth. While the medication is not as strong as those drugs, it is still used recreationally for purposes other than treating ADHD. A student might take Ritalin to stay alert in school or to study for a big test, while others may use the drug for its weight-loss effects. Since it is a commonly prescribed medicine, Ritalin is less risky to procure yet is still capable of producing a high. Most people take Ritalin in its pill form, but recreational users are known to snort ground up pills or dissolve the medication in water to inject it. While recreational use and misuse increases the speed and likelihood of addiction, those taking the drug as prescribed can still become addicted.

Beating Ritalin Addiction

Proper addiction treatment can help minimize withdrawal symptoms and end physical addiction, but it is the psychological addiction that can be the most difficult to overcome. For that reason, the most successful recovery programs extend beyond simple detox. Advanced treatment for Ritalin addiction can include the following:

  • Gradually tapering Ritalin dosage in a controlled setting to detox the body
  • Medication to eliminate or minimize any side effects or withdrawal symptoms
  • Education to learn what triggers Ritalin addiction and continued use
  • Counseling to address any shame or underlying issues associated with the addiction
  • Equipping the individual with the tools and knowledge to prevent a relapse
  • Recognizing behaviors that might have predisposed the user to abuse

There are potential side effects from Ritalin withdrawal especially if an individual attempts to detox alone. It is important to end Ritalin addiction under the guidance of medical and addiction recovery professionals. Long-term use can affect a person’s brain chemistry and psychological health, so it is important that the recovery model addresses all aspects of Ritalin addiction including the emotional and psychological aspects.

Beat Ritalin Addiction Now

Ritalin addiction is a disease, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recover. Call us today to learn more about the healing process and to see if your health insurance benefits will cover Ritalin addiction treatment. We are available 24 hours a day, so call our toll-free helpline now to take the first step toward recovery.