How to Spot Signs and Symptoms of Ritalin Misuse

The Recovery Village RidgefieldSubstance Abuse

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Ritalin is a powerful medication that has helped countless people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to focus. Unfortunately, Ritalin also has the potential for misuse and addiction.

This article discusses the potential for drug misuse and addiction to Ritalin and offers information about how to discern if Ritalin misuse is occurring.

Ritalin and Drug Misuse

Ritalin is the commercial name for a manufactured drug called methylphenidate. It has been highly effective in treating attention issues in children and adults. People diagnosed with ADHD have an extremely difficult time focusing in on one thing; imagine feeling pulled in so many different directions that you cannot focus at work or school, and instead just bounce from one idea to the next. Ritalin calms a user’s focus, helping him or her do better in school, at work, or anywhere concentration is required.

Ritalin works by stimulating more production of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is associated with feelings of pleasure, and this is partially where you might run into trouble with this drug. VeryWellMind points out:

 “When taken in larger doses than prescribed, Ritalin produces euphoria, increasing the potential for addiction in some individuals.”

Ritalin is a stimulant, which may make it particularly attractive to people with eating disorders that want to speed up their metabolism or teenagers that want to sharpen their focus during intense periods of studying. VeryWellMind continues:

“People who take drugs for these reasons may have emotional vulnerabilities that could potentially contribute to addiction.”

Problems arise and addiction may occur when Ritalin is misused. Drug-Free World describes it this way:

“Some students are chopping up Ritalin and snorting it like cocaine for faster absorption.” 

The crash when Ritalin wears off is extreme, causing low energy, depression, and decreased mental alertness. When the person begins to actively seek that Ritalin high again by popping or snorting another pill, he or she may be heading down the path to addiction.

Diagram of the chemical in Ritalin

Methylphenidate is Ritalin, a powerful treatment for ADHD.

Signs of Ritalin Misuse

So, how would you even know the signs of Ritalin misuse? Here are some signs that Ritalin addiction is present:

  • Weight loss and reduced appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Extreme fatigue followed by periods of agitation
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Vision impairment
  • Stomach pain
  • Rapid heart rate

Ritalin addiction is different for every person, but erratic behavior and even violence are some of the side effects of misuse of this drug. If you feel like you have spotted the signs of addiction in someone you care about, it is always best to talk to a professional to help sort out what to do.

Washington state addiction treatment facilities serve as the front-line of defense against drug misuse. Ritalin is a powerful and effective medication, but for it to work properly without harm to a patient, it must be prescribed in exact doses from a licensed physician.

The good news is that help is just a phone call away; drug misuse and addiction can be stopped and the substance user can get his or her life back. To learn more about admissions to our residential treatment facility,  contact us today!