Ritalin is a prescription stimulant commonly prescribed but also commonly abused. Learn more about Ritalin addiction signs, withdrawal and treatment options.
Ritalin is a legal prescription medication used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s the brand name for the drug methylphenidate, which is a stimulant that provides those who need it with increased focus, attention and behavioral control. It’s also prescribed for the sleep disorder narcolepsy. However, just because a drug is legal and has a prescription purpose doesn’t mean it’s free from addiction.
Ritalin has the potential for misuse, abuse and addiction, as well as harmful side effects. It should only be taken according to your doctor’s prescription. If you use it for other purposes, it could cause problems in your life.
If you or someone you know has been using Ritalin in a way that is not intended—or even if you have been following a Ritalin prescription for a while—you may have noticed that the drug use has been affecting your life in a negative way. Treatment professionals can assess you for problematic Ritalin use and provide a treatment plan that will help you stop using the substance and find a way forward.
Even though Ritalin is a legal prescription medication, it’s a psychoactive stimulant that can create changes in your body and mind, especially when you rely on it long term. You can become tolerant to Ritalin, resulting in the need to keep taking higher doses to get the same effects.
Yet when you take this drug in high doses and/or over time, your body can become dependent on it. In other words, your brain and body adapt to always receiving the drug and come to expect more of it. And when you suddenly stop taking the drug, you could experience withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts to its absence. With Ritalin, these withdrawal symptoms can include serious changes to your mental health and mood. Tapering off the drug may help reduce the withdrawal symptoms.
While dependency can be a part of addiction, it also involves behavioral changes that developed because of your use of a drug. It is possible to become addicted to Ritalin, even if you’re taking the medication according to your prescription.
Nonetheless, you could increase your addiction risk if you’re misusing or abusing the drug. For example, you could be using Ritalin in a way that doesn’t follow a prescription. You could be taking it for its off-label uses of creating euphoria or of providing focus for school or work though you have not been diagnosed with ADHD. Or, you could be taking higher doses or taking it more often than your prescription instructed.
If you have a Ritalin addiction, you would have developed certain behavioral changes. Above all, you find yourself unwilling or unable to stop taking Ritalin despite problems it’s been causing in your life, such as trouble committing to work and tension in your family life. You might also notice that you spend a lot of your time thinking about when you’ll take Ritalin next and how to get more of it. An addiction professional can help you figure out whether you have a Ritalin substance use disorder, which encompasses substance abuse and addiction.
At Transformations Treatment Center, we can offer you an individualized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs. We provide different levels and tracks within our programs, which include outpatient programs, partial hospitalization and an intensive outpatient program. Within each program, we provide a holistic approach that targets the many areas of life affected by addiction. Depending on your situation, your individualized plan of care could include treatment for a co-occurring disorder, whether you have another substance use disorder, a mental health disorder or both.
An addiction often requires a two-step treatment process. This includes detoxification, or detox, and rehab. During the detox stage of treatment, we focus on dependency. You would stop using Ritalin and get through any withdrawal symptoms you may encounter. Through our Summit Detox facility, we provide medical monitoring and medication to make the withdrawal process easier to handle and safer. The second step is rehab, which can include therapy and other methods to work on the behavioral changes addiction has created. At Transformations Treatment Center, we can help you see how addiction became a part of your life. As well as how to move away from it into a new future.
Going through rehab treatment does not mean your recovery journey is over. Instead, you need to take what you have learned and apply it to your daily life. Toward that end, we provide an aftercare program to stay connected as you deal with the stressors and triggers of everyday life. By keeping in touch, we aim to help you be successful with recovery and avoid relapse.
Ritalin has benefits to people with ADHD and narcolepsy. However it can lead to dependency and addiction in these people and also those who misuse it. Has this happened to you? A substance use disorder with Ritalin will in time lead to problems in your life, if it hasn’t already. When you are ready to reclaim your life from addiction, contact us at Transformations Treatment Center so we can get started on your individualized treatment plan.