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Ritalin is a prescription stimulant that’s used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, it may also be stolen as a recreational or performance-enhancing drug. People who need the drug take it because it produces alertness, focus, and increased energy levels. When it’s abused or taken without a prescription, it can cause consequences like addiction, heart problems, and even psychosis. When abused in this way, individuals need a Ritalin addiction treatment program like Harmony Hills.
Ritalin is a popular brand name for a drug called methylphenidate, which increases the release of a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine. People with ADHD may have low levels of a certain type of dopamine that helps people maintain interest in a task, so they seek out stimulation from little distractions that happen around them. Ritalin increases these dopamine levels to help people with ADHD focus on what they want to do.
Some people abuse the drug for euphoric effects similar to a mild version of more powerful stimulants like cocaine. More commonly, the drug is used to enhance one’s study ability and academic performance. However, even though the drug can keep you alert and awake throughout all-night study sessions, research has only shown marginal cognitive ability effects in people without ADHD. Still, the threat of addiction is genuine and may outweigh the benefits of misusing the drug.
Ritalin affects dopamine, an important neurotransmitter that’s tied to motivation, reward, and energy levels. Dopamine and other chemicals involved in the brain’s reward center are often linked to the development of substance use problems.
Addiction occurs when your brain mistakes a psychoactive chemical for a life-sustaining activity like eating or sleeping because of the rewarding chemicals drug use can release. Substance use disorders can start with recreational drug abuse but grow into complex brain diseases. Addiction is characterized by compulsive use of a drug despite consequences.
Ritalin addiction can have psychological and physical consequences. If you are worried that you might be addicted to the medication, common signs to watch for include:
If you’re worried about someone else, there may be a few signs to look out for. Addiction often causes isolation, strange sleep patterns, and changes in friend groups. Prescription stimulants like Ritalin are unique because people often abuse them for performance-enhancing purposes rather than recreational drugs. People who do this may show signs of insomnia, weight loss, anxiety, and panic disorders.
Ritalin addiction can be treated with the right help and treatment options. When you enter an addiction treatment program, you’ll go through a treatment process that’s designed to determine the best therapies and level of care for your needs. If you have high-level medical needs, you may start with medical detox. You may also go through an inpatient program with 24-hour monitoring if you have serious medical or psychological needs.
Addiction may need long-term treatment to help you understand underlying issues like mental health disorders. Extended treatment can also help you learn to cope with cravings and triggers without relapse.
Once you’re ready to live independently, you may go through an inpatient program where you attend treatment during the day, several times a week.
Ritalin can be dangerous when it’s abused. High doses may cause problems related to your heart rate and blood pressure. Stimulants may be more dangerous for people with hypertension or heart disease. Ritalin addiction can also cause some long-term consequences.
The drug often causes insomnia, and it may cause weight loss and appetite suppression. Not getting the right amount of sleep or caloric intake each day can lead to various mental and physical health challenges, including depression and heart disease.
Addiction a disease that can strike anyone at any time. When individuals abuse drugs or alcohol, their risk of dependency increases. However, people can become addicted even when they follow their doctor’s instructions. This is why it’s important to understand how addiction can develop and what one’s options are. At Harmony Hills, we offer a wide range of addiction treatment programs. Our Ritalin addiction treatment program is just one among many in our stimulant treatments programs which includes: