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Article Summary


Ritalin is a prescription drug which is often prescribed to individuals, many of them children, who have been diagnosed with a condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is also sometimes prescribed to individuals who have been diagnosed with the sleep disorder Narcolepsy and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Ritalin is a stimulant drug, and because it is a stimulant it is often misused and abused by both legitimate users and individuals who abuse drugs recreationally. For example, the street drug cocaine is a stimulant and Ritalin in high enough doses can produce a high very similar to illicit street drugs such as cocaine. Ritalin is often easier to get a hold of because it is so widely prescribed, so it can be an appealing drug of choice for recreational drug users which want to experience its stimulant effects.

Ritalin Abuse

What individuals who abuse Ritalin often fail to realize is that just because it is a prescription drug doesn't mean it is any safer to abuse than any other drug. As a prescription stimulant, abuse of Ritalin carries many of the same risks as abuse of any other illicit drug which is a stimulant. Side effects from use of Ritalin can be seriously life threatening, especially when being misused. Because it is a stimulant, use of the drug effects many major functions of the body including heart rate, blood pressure, etc. and individuals who misuse Ritalin are putting themselves at risk of potentially fatal side effects and other serious irreversible consequences. Even legitimate use of Ritalin is responsible for thousands of emergency visits each year due to heart related problems. So imagine how significant of a problem this is for illicit and recreational users of the drug. Manufacturers of Ritalin are actually obligated to put a warning on the box of the drug so that users are aware that the drug has been directly linked to heart defects, heart attacks, stroke, and other related problems not to mention death.

Ritalin Side Effects

Part of the problem is that individuals who abuse Ritalin are often unaware of potential side effects and drug interactions. For example, when someone takes Ritalin and antacids at the same time it increases of the amount of Ritalin in one's system which could lead to a potentially fatal overdose. These risks increase exponentially when abusing Ritalin along with other prescription or illicit drugs and/or alcohol as is often the case. Individuals who abuse the drug should be keenly aware of any signs of serious side effects or overdose so that they can seek medical attention immediately. If they notice their heartbeat is irregular, they seem nauseas may be having trouble breathing, seem panicky, or having stomach pains, they may want to dial 911 or seek medical attention right away.

When being abused, Ritalin can be administered in a variety of ways including snorting the drug or even injecting which is known to produce effects nearly identical to that of cocaine. Individuals who abuse Ritalin often choose to snort or inject the drug because it reaches the brain much faster when administered in this way and produces an almost immediate and profound high. Ritalin can be obtained very easily for recreational drug users to abuse in this way, and is often sold on the streets right alongside other illicit street drugs and even sold by legitimate prescription holders who wish to make a profit. So when someone wants to abuse Ritalin it isn't difficult, and individuals who choose to do so experience highs similar to other stimulant drugs which are illegal but also put themselves at risk of many social and health consequences as with any other drug of abuse.

Individuals who are dependent to or addicted to Ritalin and wish to stop using the drug may experience signs of withdrawal which often include extreme irritability, depression, and even sometimes psychosis. This can be an extremely disconcerting experience, where intense cravings are likely which will likely prompt the individual to relapse back onto the drug to temper the withdrawal symptoms and cravings for Ritalin. This is what can make it so difficult to quit, because the drug often takes both a physical and psychological hold on the individual that it hard to break without intervention and professional treatment. There are inpatient and residential drug rehab facilities which help both legitimate users and recreational users overcome this and get them through a detox process as well as any further treatment they may need. This often includes counseling and other treatment techniques to help the individual overcome the psychological and emotional aspect of their dependence to Ritalin.

It has been known for years that prescription stimulants such as Ritalin can cause dependence and addiction even in legitimate users who have a valid prescription for the drug. The risk of dependence and addiction is of course even higher for patients who already struggle with a preexisting substance abuse problem. There is so much money to be made however from the broad distribution of the drug, physicians are often times negligent when prescribing these drugs and don't take the time to find out if the individual is at risk of dependence and addiction. This is a very widespread problem, and even patients should be more vigilant about what is prescribed to them and examine the risks and whether or not it is the correct choice in the long term. Many disorders can be effectively resolved holistically for example, avoiding the risks and dangers of becoming dependent to Ritalin or other prescription drugs.

Ritalin Abuse Treatment

Whether using Ritalin legitimately or illicitly, no one has to be a prisoner of any drug and Ritalin dependence can be resolved for those who want help. Many drug rehab programs which help individuals address Ritalin dependence and addiction offer a holistic approach to treatment, so that the individual can heal both physically and mentally without the use of drugs. Other use drugs as part of treatment, however this is not a recommended course of action for those who struggle with a pre-existing substance abuse disorder or for those who want to stop use of all pharmaceuticals and recreational drugs completely.

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