Origins of Ritalin

Origins of Ritalin

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a well-known drug commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that, as of 2011, over 10 percent of people under age 18 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Ritalin works by stimulating the production of the brain’s neurotransmitter dopamine, which increases attention and focus. It is sometimes prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a medical condition marked by excessive sleepiness and daytime sleep attacks. While it can be very effective when taken under the supervision of a doctor, it is often used for non-medical purposes, most often to increase focus, attention and energy.

Early Years of Ritalin

According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, Ritalin was first created in 1944, improved upon later in the decade and then tested on humans in 1954. By 1957, Ritalin was being marketed as a medication to treat chronic fatigue, depression, narcolepsy and, by the 1960’s, overdose of barbiturates. In the 1960s, researchers began to show interest in treatment for hyperkinetic syndrome, which would later be ADHD. By the 1970s, the US was beginning to treat ADHD with Ritalin, and eventually it reached a 500 percent increase in its usage in the 1990s. Currently, the US produces and consumes as much as 85 percent of the world’s Ritalin.

Side Effects of Ritalin

Taking Ritalin carries the risk of side effects. They are often minor in comparison to the troubles of living with ADHD, but the side effects of abusing Ritalin can lead to serious, even lethal side effects. Side effects of abusing low doses of Ritalin include the following issues:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Wakefulness
  • Greater alertness
  • Euphoria
  • Headache
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Side effects of excessive Ritalin abuse include the following problems:

  • Excitability
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations and paranoia
  • Fever and sweating
  • Delirium
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Formication (the feeling of bugs or worms crawling under the skin)

The side effects of taking Ritalin as prescribed will fade with time, as will the side effects of high doses of Ritalin when users get clean. However, Ritalin addicts who take high doses on a daily basis may experience acute paranoid schizophrenia, among other long-term problems, including toxicity and tolerance. Taking Ritalin illicitly might seem like a fun recreational activity, but it is dangerous.

Ritalin Addiction Help

Even though Ritalin is a prescription drug approved by the medical community, you can become addicted to it. If you think you may have a physical and psychological dependence on Ritalin, then call our toll-free helpline immediately. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to help you understand treatment options for your unique needs. Call today to start the road of recovery.