Why Ritalin Isn’t Harmless

Why Ritalin Isn’t Harmless

Quite often, individuals will deny needing help for a drug abuse problem because the substance is available by prescription. Many people are under the impression that prescription drugs like Ritalin are harmless or pose far less risks than street drugs, which is definitely not the case.

Prescription drugs are not harmless; they too are chemical substances that can alter the brain’s structure and chemical makeup. They can cause serious physical, mental and behavioral side effects, drug overdose, addiction and even death.

Ritalin is not harmless. Yes, the drug is beneficial for treating ADHD when it is used as directed, but that does not mean that the drug is “safe” to use at one’s own discretion.

Risks and Dangers of Taking Ritalin

Ritalin acts as a psychostimulant, just like cocaine or other amphetamines. The drug impacts cognitive abilities, mood and energy levels. Individuals with ADHD have abnormally low levels of dopamine and serotonin, and Ritalin increases these neurochemical levels to treat ADHD symptoms. When individuals without ADHD use Ritalin, the drug can over-stimulate the brain and drastically change mood and energy levels. While these effects may sound appealing, Ritalin misuse and abuse does not come without the potential for serious risks and dangers.

Excessive Ritalin use, or the use of Ritalin by a person without ADHD, overloads the brain’s reward center because of the excessive levels of dopamine and serotonin. This, consequently, can cause elevated heart rate, blood pressure, sleep disturbances and serious change in mood and appetite. Possible risks of Ritalin abuse include cardiovascular complications like heart attack and stroke, seizures, extreme mood changes involving hostility, paranoia, irritability, anxiety and even psychosis. Excessive Ritalin use or abuse can also impair one’s cognitive abilities. The changes in mood can impact one’s social and occupational life and over time, there is certainly a risk for developing Ritalin dependency and addiction.

Serious abuse such as snorting or injecting Ritalin can cause an intense spike in blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. Heavy abuse can also cause nervousness, dizziness, vomiting, bodily pain, hallucinations, loss of consciousness and more. Long-term use of Ritalin significantly increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, addiction and cancer.

Accidentally Developing a Dependency to Ritalin

Many individuals unintentionally develop a dependency to Ritalin, and they are both surprised and horrified to experience withdrawal symptoms. Once the brain is accustomed to having Ritalin in its chemical makeup, it slows down its own production of similar chemicals. This is how chemical dependence begins. The brain adjusts its own natural chemical functioning in order to account for the presence of Ritalin. Therefore, when Ritalin use is stopped, an individual is no longer receiving the intense production of dopamine and serotonin that the brain is used to. Withdrawal symptoms can include agitation, change in heart rate, extreme fatigue, nausea, nervousness and anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances and intense drug cravings. Symptoms of withdrawal can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months after the last dose has been taken.

Do I Need to Find Help for My Ritalin Use?

There are several risks and dangers of excessive Ritalin use, abuse and misuse. Just because the drug is prescription does not make it harmless. Addiction is both an aggressive and progressive disease. The longer Ritalin dependence or addiction goes unaddressed, the harder it becomes to treat.

If you or someone you love has a Ritalin abuse problem or has developed a dependency or addiction to the drug, please seek help. Our toll-free helpline is operated 24 hours a day by trained addiction counselors who can assist you with your search for treatment and recovery.