Are Stimulant Drugs For Adhd Addictive
Parents sometimes worry whether the stimulant drugs their children are taking to treat ADHD are themselves addictive. Stimulant medications work by raising levels of a chemical messenger called dopamine in the brain, which helps improve focus and attention â skills that people with ADHD often find difficult to master.
Dopamine also affects emotion and the feeling of pleasure, creating a âhighâ that makes people want more. Because cocaine and other street drugs also raise dopamine levels, there has been concern that ADHD stimulants might be similarly addictive. Ritalinâs ability to increase energy and focus has even led some people to refer to it as the âpoor manâs cocaine.â
There have been reports of people using ADHD stimulants that werenât prescribed for them. People have crushed and snorted Ritalin tablets or dissolved the drug in water and taken it intravenously. Studies show that abusing Ritalin can lead to dependence on the drug. When carefully taken as prescribed, though, Ritalin is less likely to be addictive in children or adults.
Can You Get Addicted To Ritalin
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.
What Happens If You Take Too Much Ritalin
Are prescription stimulants dangerous? Can you overdose on Ritalin?
Just as with other prescription drugs, you can overdose on Ritalin if the dosage is high enough. The stimulant effects of Ritalin often make it primed for abuse. When too much is taken at once, or if the pills are crushed and snorted, it can overwhelm the system. Learn about the risks of Ritalin misuse and possible overdose.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Certified In Addiction Counseling
Sign #4 Sleep Disturbance
Nick was having a rough junior year of college. He always felt like he was behind. To help him keep up, he started taking Ritalin. He figured he could stop whenever he wanted.
When his friends expressed concerns of addiction, he blew off their warnings. Now the semester was over, so he stopped taking the pills just like he said he would. The problem was, he couldnt sleep. He felt like he would go crazy if he didnt get a good nights sleep soon.
Nick should have listened to his friends. Hes addicted to Ritalin and experiencing withdrawal. Sleeping disorders are a common symptom of Ritalin withdrawal. And since part of Ritalins purpose is to regulate sleep, misusing it throws off your bodys sleep cycles. Chronic use results in decreased sleep, and stopping can result in major sleep issues.
More About Ritalin Use And Addiction
Ritalin is a popular stimulant and one of the medications of choice for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and narcolepsy. The active component in the drug, methylphenidate hydrochloride, stimulates dopamine release and norepinephrine in the brain. The release of these neurotransmitters is responsible for the energetic, the high feeling one gets after taking the drug.
A notable feature of Ritalin is its short half-life, which means it cannot provide long-lasting relief from the symptoms it is used to treat. Often, individuals on Ritalin prescription take several tablets every day to preserve the drugs effect for a longer time. Side effects from Ritalin abuse include insomnia, nervousness, mental disorders, and cardiovascular complications.
You May Like: How To Lose Weight When Addicted To Food
Dont Side With Your Captor
Ritalin abuse will increase productivity while raising dopamine levels and taking away some of that stress thats been weighing you down. Life is easier when you can focus a little more. Whats not to like about that? Well just like any combination of narcotics, there comes a toll that Ritalin abuse cannot afford. Prolonged usage of anything will create a demand. With the rising tolerance comes physical and mental obsession- and then its off to the races as independence becomes a thing of the past. Addiction and alcoholism then pick up the pieces of pieces of life crumbling all around, leaving the person with only the tiniest inkling of what went wrong and why.
Addiction and alcoholism will find their prevalence in anybody and Ritalin abuse is no exception.College students or those working ridiculously long work shifts make up a significant population of those dealing with Ritalin Abuse. There is trouble attached to it without question, but typically it is not a party drug. Those sucked into the game of Ritalin abuse are often in a different mindset than that of somebody with full blown addiction to drugs on the street.
Collaborate In Group And Family Work
A major element of addiction treatment is the need for social support. Many times, it is social connections that get an individual into abusing Ritalin to begin with a friend who encourages use to help pass a test or someone claiming that Ritalin gives a great high. Similarly, it is supportive social structures that can help the person stop using, including strong family relationships and connections with others who are also struggling with or who have recovered from stimulant abuse.
For this reason, a strong treatment program will include family therapy and 12-Step group participation as part of the treatment plan. Family therapy can help all family members learn how to cope with the changes that a drug addiction diagnosis creates in their lives, and how best to support their loved one and themselves.
In contrast, 12-Step group work can provide the individual with the solidarity and support that comes from those who have recovered from Ritalin abuse or addiction, providing insight into what works and what doesnt, offering educational resources, and developing accountability for behavior over the process of recovery. Research from the Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment shows that people who continue attending 12-Step programs as part of their recovery are more likely to achieve and maintain recovery than those who dont attend or who stop attending.
Don’t Miss: Is Drug Addiction Grounds For Divorce
Does Childhood Treatment Of Adhd With Stimulant Medication Affect Substance Abuse In Adulthood
Am J Psychiatry
One of the most controversial issues in childhood psychiatry is whether the wide-spread use of stimulant medications to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increases the risk of substance abuse in adulthood. Part of the rationale for this concern is that stimulant medications share with drugs of abuse the ability to increase dopamine concentration in the nucleus accumbens, which is the neural mechanism considered crucial for their reinforcing effects . Indeed, methylphenidate and amphetamine are sometimes abused in some settings . This misuse can produce dependence. Another reason for concern is the timing of exposure. Human epidemiological studies have shown that the earlier an individual is exposed to substances with abuse potential, such as alcohol and nicotine, the greater the risk of drug abuse and dependence in adulthood . However, the opposite perspective has also been proposedthat stimulant treatment of children and adolescents with ADHD may reduce the risk of later substance abuse . Considering that individuals with ADHD are at higher-than-normal risk for substance abuse , it is urgent that these two perspectives be addressed properly, yet relatively few clinical studies have done so.
Both conclude thatâ¦stimulant medication to treat young children with ADHD does not affectneither increasing nor decreasingthe risk for substance abuse in adulthood.
You May Like: How To Kick Drug Addiction
Why Residential Treatment Is Necessary
When you imagine overcoming your addiction, you may be discouraged by the thought of an agonizing withdrawal process. While detox may not be an easy process, it is only one part of the recovery puzzlenor is it likely to be as painful as you might imagine. Medically supervised detox in a residential facility gives you access to a medical team whose top priorities will be your safety and well-being. Instead of the shock of going cold-turkey on your own, you will receive a professional tapering schedule that will gradually open the door to a deeper level of the recovery process: treatment.
Treatment plans are unique for everyone. Your solution wont look exactly like anyone elseseven other Ritalin usersand your path will change and adapt as your needs evolve. But the goal, regardless of your path, is the same: to address the underlying psychology that drives your addiction. During this process, you might learn about co-occurring mental health disorders, as well as other potential driving forces behind your addiction. If your addiction is connected to family issues, loved ones will get a chance to heal their own wounds and take the journey with you.
Read Also: Can You Get Addicted To Melatonin
Experimental Use And Ritalin Addiction
While Ritalin can be vital for people with serious medical concerns, it can also provide help for people who have no medical concerns at all. The drug can help people stay awake and alert, so they can handle the demands of life just a little easier. Experimentation like this can quickly lead to addiction, especially if people augment their use with a dash of another substance.
Experimenting with Ritalin in combination with alcohol or other drugs while out partying is a common starting point for Ritalin addiction. In fact, in a study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, researchers report that most people who abuse Ritalin mix the drug with other substances of abuse. This augmentation can soothe the jitters Ritalin can deliver, and it might provide users with euphoria in addition to alertness. Unfortunately, it can also be very dangerous. Ritalin can enhance the effects of other drugs, which can lead to alcohol poisoning or accidental overdose. Additionally, Ritalin itself when taken in large amounts can cause cardiac arrest or a seizure. Those who mix and match might also develop complex cases of addiction to multiple substances, all at the same time.
Ritalin Addiction Treatment In Idaho
It can be really difficult to recover from a Ritalin addiction on oneâs own. This drug has a way of quickly taking over a personâs life, which is why professional treatment is always recommended.
In order for treatment to work, it should include both detox and rehab. This ensures that the physical and psychological aspects of the addiction are both being addressed.
After detoxing, drug rehab is the next step in recovery. During rehabilitation, the patient participates in various types of therapy and counseling. They work with a therapist, have group sessions and may participate in family therapy. Any co-occurring disorders they may be diagnosed with will also be treated during rehab.
Also Check: How Many People Are Addicted To Drugs In America
Why Is Snorting Ritalin Dangerous
Ritalin is a prescription drug that carries minimal risks when taken exactly as prescribed. However, when abused, it can place users at risk of experiencing numerous health problems. Ritalin users who snort the drug may also accidentally take more than intended, increasing their risk of overdose. In some cases, high doses of Ritalin can lead to seizures, heart failure, and even death 3.
High doses of Ritalin can lead to seizures, heart failure, and even death.
Snorting Ritalin can be more dangerous than consuming it orally because of the potential to amplify the drugs effects in the brain, which may in turn increase the drugs addictive potential. In the brain, chemicals called neurotransmitters influence the way people feel. Stimulants like Ritalin affect two specific neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and dopamine, in the brain 3 to produce a euphoric stimulant high. This powerful high and the underlying biochemical mechanisms of stimulant intoxication can quickly lead to continued, compulsive drug useit keeps the user coming back time and again in spite of the negative physical or mental consequences that may occur over time 3.
Ritalins Effects On The Digestive System
Some people taking Ritalin find their appetite is reduced.
Nausea and stomach ache are also common side effects. Vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain frequently occur.
Long-term misuse of Ritalin can cause malnutrition and other related health problems. Unintentional weight loss is a common by-product of Ritalin abuse.
Recommended Reading: How To Battle Drug Addiction
The Dynamics Of Ritalin Abuse
Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant. Like other stimulants, Ritalin can elevate mood and boost mental energy.
It does this by changing patterns of activity in the brain. It affects the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine that control feelings and emotional responses. Ultimately, these alterations in brain activity can have a significant impact on behavior.
This is the secret of the drugs success against the symptoms of ADHD. Despite its chemical identity as a stimulant, Ritalin helps correct chemical malfunctions in the brains of people associated with ADHD. Paradoxically, people with ADHD actually become calmer and more in control under the effects of this drug.
But outside of a medical context, long-term abuse of Ritalin can have profoundly negative effects on the brain. When drug use is confined to the terms of a prescription, dependency will seldom develop. But normal neurotransmitter cycles become disrupted through Ritalin abuse.
In particular, taking too much Ritalin for too long can damage the brains capacity to produce adequate supplies of dopamine. This neurochemical is essential for healthy neurological functioning.
Dopamine shortages can lead to powerful cravings for Ritalin. At that point, consumption of the drug is the only way to satisfy the brains desire for more of this neurochemical. The sudden release of dopamine following Ritalin use creates a rush of pleasure and energy, which only strengthens the dependency.
What Is Ritalin Used For
Ritalin, a central nervous stimulant, is often prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . According to Healthline, 9.5 percent of US children in the 3-17 age group have a diagnosis of ADHD. While medications, such as Ritalin or Adderall, can be helpful to those who may need them, these drugs have been diverted into the hands of individuals with no medical necessity for them. Ritalin comes in the form of small pills that bear the imprint of its pharmaceutical manufacturer, Ciba. The milligram dosage is color coded: 5 mg pills are yellow, 10 mg pills are green, and 20 mg pills are white and yellow.
Also Check: How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Benzos
How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Adderall
Adderall is a medication that is prescribed to individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder . It is designed to help promote focus and curb hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. When Adderall is taken as prescribed for this purpose, it can make a world of difference in the lives of those with this behavioral disorder. Unfortunately, Adderall can be habit-forming when it is abused, making it highly appealing for those looking to get a stimulant high.
In the United States, approximately 2.5 million people are prescribed prescription stimulants like Adderall for the treatment of ADD/ADHD. A good portion of those who are prescribed this medication are children, teenagers, and young adults, primarily because the symptoms associated with this behavioral disorder become exasperated in school settings. That is why it is most common to see the abuse of Adderall in teenagers and young adults, as they have access to it and often utilize it as a study drug.
How Dangerous Is Ritalin
Like many prescription drugs, Ritalin is well-tolerated when its taken as prescribed, but it can be dangerous when its abused. Stimulants can often cause hypertension and increased heart rates. In people that abuse it, it can lead to potentially dangerous complications like irregular heartbeats, arrhythmias, and heart failure. If you already have heart-related complications, Ritalin can increase your risk for a stroke or other complications.
High doses of Ritalin can also cause potentially dangerous overdose symptoms. Overdose symptoms can include confusion, hallucinations, tremors, seizures, headache, heart palpitations, and hyperthermia. In severe cases, it can cause rapid muscle breakdown, convulsions, and circulatory collapse.
Also Check: How To Break Addiction To Phone
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 Jerseys 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.
Speed Kills Like Cheap Thrills
Trying to constantly stay ahead in life can drag us behind quickly. Life is going hit hard and its about keeping up with a perseverance that promotes your well being- not one that just makes things easier. Ironically that easiness can lead to a harder life. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need a drug treatment facility, please call 1-800-481-8457 or visit oarcstaging.wpengine.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.
Don’t Miss: Is Tramadol An Addictive Drug
Benefits Of Ritalin Addiction Treatment
There are many benefits of receiving treatment for a Ritalin addiction, including:
- Encouragement and support from others who are facing the same types of challenges
- The ability to safely talk about and process personal experiences with a therapist who can help explore the root causes of the addiction
- The ability to participate in family therapy and work on improving personal relationships
- Education on the disease of addiction
- Knowledge of healthy coping skills, including relapse prevention strategies, and the ability to practice implementing them in a safe environment
- The ability to take the time needed to truly invest in oneself and improve physical and mental health