Why Does Ritalin Addiction Escalate?

The answer is simple – Ritalin is derived from the same amphetamine family as cocaine and crystal meth. Even though it is a commonly prescribed drug, it is still addictive and potentially dangerous. Consider the following:

  • The Archives of General Psychiatry says, “Cocaine has pharmacological actions that are very similar to those of methylphenidate (Ritalin)”
  • Journal of the American Medical Association confirms that Ritalin, “acts much like cocaine”
  • Nicknames include “Kiddie Cocaine” and “Steroids for SATs”

This psychostimulant treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by increasing dopamine levels to the brain. This helps with focus and concentration, but it also stimulates the neural pleasure center. Taking too much Ritalin causes a euphoric dopamine spike, and regular overuse can lead to a physical tolerance that demands more. At this point, an addiction has taken hold.

Reasons People Abuse Ritalin

Ritalin may not be as strong as cocaine or meth, but it is easier and safer to obtain. In fact, it is such a common prescription that its use rarely sets off alarms. When properly used under a doctor’s care, Ritalin shouldn’t raise any red flags. There are alternative motivations that may influence users to try Ritalin, and these may include the following:

  • Its euphoric effects to get high
  • Gaining an academic advantage in school
  • Its amphetamine qualities to lose weight
  • Better performance in athletic competitions
  • Helping athletes pass a concussion test

Many may abuse the drug as a calculated risk to get a performance advantage over others. Unfortunately, most people take this risk without knowing the calculations.

Risks of Ritalin Abuse

Ritalin abuse has an overabundance of health risks. Consider the following to be reasons for concern:

  • University of Buffalo researchers found that Ritalin can cause long-term neural changes
  • Harvard Medical School studies show childhood use can lead to adulthood depression
  • The brain’s reward center soon struggles to recognize pleasure from non-narcotic stimuli
  • Authors of a Food & Drug Administration (FDA) study concluded that “There may be an association between the use of stimulant medication and sudden death in healthy children”
  • Side effects can include insomnia, heart palpitations, eyesight changes, anxiety attacks, stunted growth in children, seizures, heart attacks and overdose

Ritalin abuse can easily turn into a full-fledged addiction. To quote the Drug Enforcement Agency, “Methylphenidate (Ritalin) shares the same abuse potential as other Schedule II stimulants. Further, case reports document that methylphenidate abuse can lead to tolerance and severe psychological dependence.”

Ritalin Addiction Treatment

Abruptly quitting Ritalin can lead to extreme fatigue and a potentially suicidal depression, which is why specialists use a medically supervised detox to wean an addict off the drug. Proper treatment also includes benefits such as the following:

  • Health screenings to address any physical effects from the addiction
  • Treatment of co-occurring mental health issues, like anxiety or depression
  • Ending the psychological addiction and unhealthy motivations for use
  • Determining one’s specific drug-use triggers and how to avoid them
  • Empowerment with relapse-prevention tools and techniques
  • Behavioral therapies and life-skills tools for moving forward
  • Aftercare support groups and individual counseling sessions

Ritalin can help a user concentrate on the matter at hand but can also cause them to lose focus on what’s truly important. Proper treatment helps break the addiction and reset the proper path for Ritalin-addicted individuals.

Stop Ritalin Abuse

If you have a Ritalin dependency, our addiction specialists are available 24 hours a day to discuss treatment options, addiction signs and even health insurance coverage. Call our toll-free number today, and together we can overcome this risky addiction.