The Science behind Ritalin Addiction

The Science behind Ritalin Addiction

Ritalin, also known as methylphenidate, is a psychostimulant drug that is often prescribed to treat a number of disorders, including the following:

  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD) – Characterized by extreme inattentiveness and hyperactivity and may lead to other behavioral issues such as mood disorders, anxiety and defiant behavior
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) – Characterized by an exceptionally high increase in a person’s heart rate when he or she moves from a lying or seated position to standing upright
  • Narcolepsy – Characterized by symptoms of extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, impaired vision and slurred speech

How Ritalin Affects the Brain

Ritalin increases the brain’s levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to mood, pleasure and behavior. First synthesized in 1944, methylphenidate was identified as a stimulant in 1954. Since the 1960s, it has been commonly prescribed to treat children with ADD and continues to be one of the most common psychostimulants. Ritalin works by increasing the activity of the central nervous system, which can increase alertness, combat fatigue and improve attention.

Ritalin Abuse Symptoms

Due to its constant interference with the brain’s neurotransmitters and the activity of the central nervous system, a person who uses Ritalin for an extended period of time or in higher quantities than prescribed may experience the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Insomnia or changes in sleeping patterns
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Confusion

When abusing Ritalin, people may crush the tablet into a powder and snort it or dissolve the tablet in water and inject the solution. Complications from Ritalin injection are common since the fillers that are used in manufacturing the drug may not be soluble in water and can block small blood vessels or cause damage to the lungs and retina when injected.

Ritalin Abuse Treatment

Treatment for Ritalin abuse often requires a team of addiction professionals who have had experience dealing with prescription drug abuse. Many Ritalin users have taken the drug since childhood and may have numerous underlying issues that should be addressed to ensure that they can find lasting recovery.

Finding Help for Ritalin Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with Ritalin abuse or addiction, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about the science of Ritalin addiction and help you find the best treatment options for your situation. Please call now.