Ritalin Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

Ritalin, also referred to by its generic name methlyphenidate, is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Ritalin increases the activity of underactive neurons in the brain, allowing the neurons to perform at a more normal rate. Ritalin also causes the neurochemical dopamine to be released. By regulating neuron activity and dopamine secretion, Ritalin increases attention and focus. However, Ritalin also has a high potential for abuse.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

According to a 2005 publication of the National Institute of Mental Health, 5.7 million Americans age 18 and older suffer from bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that is characterized by alternating periods of extreme happiness, known as a manic episode, and extreme unhappiness, referred to as a depressive episode. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you must meet a certain set of requirements stated in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Is Ritalin Abuse Dangerous for Bipolar Individuals?

Abusing Ritalin is dangerous by itself. However, if you suffer from bipolar disorder and abuse Ritalin, you are putting yourself in even more danger. Ritalin abuse and addiction are becoming more common, especially with the increasing number of individuals diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed the drug. If you are struggling with bipolar disorder, you may wonder why Ritalin abuse is especially dangerous for you. If other people can use the drug once in a while to increase their attention or to help them focus, you may wonder why you cannot try it as well.

Ritalin abuse, whether you do or do not have bipolar disorder, is dangerous and can lead to dependency. Ritalin is a regulated drug and should only be used by the individual it is prescribed to and should only be used exactly as directed by a medical doctor. Abusing Ritalin with bipolar disorder is dangerous because Ritalin, a nervous system stimulant, can exaggerate your manic episodes, which can lead to more problems. Extreme mania can cause you to make unwise and compulsive decisions that could be harmful to yourself and to those around you.

Additionally, coming down from an extreme manic episode can be intense. When you eventually crash, you may go from a state of extreme joy to deep depression. This change in mood can be dangerous and can even lead to suicidal ideations and attempts. Sometimes individuals who have bipolar disorder are prescribed Ritalin, but in such cases, the patient is under strict medical supervision.

Finding Help for Ritalin Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

If you are struggling with both Ritalin abuse and bipolar disorder, it is recommended that you receive Dual Diagnosis treatment. With Dual Diagnosis care, you will be treated both for your substance abuse and for you mental health simultaneously. Treating both problems is essential for lasting recovery.

If you would like more information about Dual Diagnosis treatment, call our toll-free helpline today. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and offer you sound advice about your treatment program options. By getting treatment for your Ritalin abuse, you can also better manage your bipolar disorder. Take your first step toward a healthier lifestyle by calling today!