Recreational Ritalin Use among 18-25 Year-Olds

Recreational Ritalin Use among 18-25 Year-Olds

Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant and is the most commonly prescribed medication for attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, it is widely used as a recreational drug by people who do not need treatment for either of these disorders.

Because Ritalin is a prescription medication, many people have the tendency to believe it is harmless. Due to the high incidence of recreational Ritalin use and its dangers, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies the drug as a Schedule II controlled substance, indicating its high potential for abuse that may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Ritalin comes in pill form but can be crushed and snorted or injected. It is known by the street names “kiddie coke,” “rids,” and “R-ball.”

Why Does This Age Group Use Ritalin?

According to the 2013 Drug Abuse Warning Network report, 18-25 year-olds had the highest incidence of emergency department visits involving stimulant medication used for treating ADHD. Why is Ritalin use so prevalent among this age group? The following factors help explain the rates of Ritalin abuse in young adults:

  • Accessibility – There are various factors that influence the accessibility of Ritalin. Because the symptoms of ADHD can easily be exaggerated in a consultation with a physician, it is often not as difficult as it should be for some people to obtain Ritalin. Many young adults can easily obtain the drug from friends or acquaintances and spend as little as 3 to 15 dollars per pill.
  • Academic performance – Ritalin is often considered to be a performance-enhancing drug. Because of its stimulating effects, many college students use it to focus while studying all night and during exams, believing it improves academic performance.
  • Party drug – Ritalin counteracts the effects of alcohol, which means that people can party longer and more liberally. Users become socially relaxed without getting drunk. This can be dangerous because the way the substances counteract confuses the body.
  • Weight loss – One of the side effects of Ritalin use is appetite loss. Some people use it specifically for this effect.

While there are many reasons people choose to use Ritalin, the dangers of the drug should not be overlooked.

Ritalin Addiction Dangers and Treatment

Possible negative side effects of Ritalin abuse include the following:

  • Loss of appetite, which can lead to malnutrition with long-term abuse
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Infectious diseases if injected
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Ritalin abuse can have life-changing negative consequences. Many people in the age group of 18-25 are still dependent on their parents and are still growing and developing. It is important that young adults find treatment for Ritalin addiction that will meet their specific needs. Many treatment centers have young adult treatment programs that are specifically tailored to the needs of young adults.

Help for Ritalin Addiction

If you or a young adult you know is addicted to Ritalin, call our toll-free helpline to speak with a trained counselor about professional treatment options. We are available 24 hours a day to help you move toward lifelong recovery. Please call today.