Ritalin is a prescription stimulant, used to treat attention deficit disorders in both adults and children. Ritalin was the first drug of its kind to be introduced for the treatment of ADD and ADHD, and it is extremely effective when taken as prescribed by a medical professional. Unfortunately, this specific medication has a very high propensity for abuse.
The answer to the question, “can you get addicted to Ritalin” is “yes” – in short form. However, Ritalin addiction can be complex. The drug works by increasing dopamine within the brain, a “feel good” chemical that helps regulate mood, pleasure, and the ability to pay attention or remain engaged.
Dangers of Ritalin Addiction
When Ritalin is consumed by individuals who do not need it or taken in greater doses than recommended, it can result in feelings of pleasure and euphoria. This euphoric feeling can lead to psychological addiction. Prescription stimulant drugs are typically abused for several reasons. These reasons include:
- To increase alertness. Some will use Ritalin when they need to wake up quickly and stay awake for an extended period. For example, an individual might abuse this substance to stay alert during a long drive, or pop a pill before a long shift at work after a late night out.
- To improve academic performance. Ritalin is commonly abused by students to keep them alert and focused while studying for a big test or writing a lengthy-term paper. Prescription stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall are often referred to as “study drugs.”
- To aid in appetite suppression and facilitating weight loss. Those who struggle with eating disorders might begin taking Ritalin to suppress their appetite and lose weight more quickly. One of the side effects of Ritalin is reduced appetite and changes to sleeping patterns.
- To increase sociability. In some cases, Ritalin will be used as a party drug. It is a cheaper and more accessible alternative to illicit stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. When Ritalin is taken as a party drug it is often crushed up and ingested nasally (snorted).
Side Effects of Ritalin Abuse
When taken exactly as prescribed by a medical professional, prescription stimulants are generally very safe. There is no set dodge when it comes to these specific drugs, prescribing physicians often start by prescribing a very low dose and increasing the dose if doing so is deemed necessary. Of course, if an individual has a personal history of stimulant abuse, this medication is certainly best avoided entirely. It is also true that Ritalin can act as a “gateway drug” for some individuals who start out experimenting – may be taking a pill here or there before exams, or taking one before a big night out on the town. Several studies show that those who begin taking prescription stimulants often move on to abuse illicit drugs like cocaine.
This is one of the most serious health-related issues that Ritalin poses, in fact – the eventual advancement to more harmful chemical substances. Of course, that is not to say that abusing Ritalin is not harmful to your health. The drug causes a host of serious side effects, and those who engage in long-term abuse will begin experiencing a wide range of unpleasant symptoms.
Garden State Treatment Center and Ritalin Addiction
Ritalin is a potent, habit-forming drug, one that can result in long-term consequences when abused. If you or someone you love has been struggling with Ritalin abuse or addiction, Garden State Treatment Center is available to help. We are one of New Jersey’s premier addiction treatment facilities, offering a wide range of services and amenities geared towards comprehensive healing in a state of the art, clinical environment. To learn more, give us a call today. The truth is, the only thing standing between you and a lifetime of recovery is a simple phone call. Give us a call, let us know how we can help, and we will take it from there.