Why Ritalin Addiction Leads to Compulsive Behavior

Why Ritalin Addiction Leads to Compulsive Behavior

Ritalin addiction has come to be accepted as a medical disease of the brain much like any other disease. Addiction is similar to compulsive behaviors with only small differences. Compulsive behavior is a repetitive and often ritualistic behavior that is conducted without a rational cause or means of motivation. It is commonly driven by an overwhelming need to relieve stress, though only momentarily. Addiction can provide some of the same outcomes as compulsive behavior, such as temporary stress relief; however; it is primarily characterized by an inability to stop negative behaviors despite consequences. Ritalin addiction is so similar to compulsions that it often leads to the development of compulsive behaviors centered on finding the substance. Ritalin addiction is a long process and typically develops through the following stages:

  • Initial use of Ritalin – An individual will begin using Ritalin, will see the temporary benefits of use, and may begin to use it more often and in repetition.
  • Tolerance – As an individual continues to use Ritalin more often, his or her body will become numb to low doses, and the drug may result in no effect. At this point, users may consume a larger quantity of Ritalin and begin taking it more often than before in order to achieve the same effects.
  • Dependence – A physical and psychological dependence often occurs after repetitive high doses of Ritalin have been consumed. An individual’s body and mind have had to adapt to constant doses of Ritalin, so Ritalin is a part of the individual’s normal functioning. At this stage, an individual will be unable to discontinue use of Ritalin without negative physical and psychological effects.
  • Withdrawal – After dependence has set in, withdrawal effects will arise if an individual does not continue to use Ritalin. Withdrawal effects typically include intense cravings, stomach pain, extreme anxiety and irritability, cold sweats, headaches, and hallucinations. There are often many other negative withdrawal symptoms.
  • Addiction – In order to avoid the often painful withdrawal symptoms, an individual will continue to use Ritalin to the point of addiction. Users become unable to control their drug use and incapable of stopping use. They are preoccupied with trying to obtain the substance and often in denial of their problem. Addiction has become a way of life.

Addiction hijacks a person’s brain by over stimulating it with higher than normal doses of dopamine, which is a pleasure releasing neurotransmitter inside the brain. After experiencing repetitive amounts of intense pleasure from drug use, an addict will be continually and compulsively preoccupied with trying to reach that sensation of pleasurable drug use again.

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