The drug Ritalin contains the active ingredient methylphenidate. Methylphenidate can create addiction and dependency. Ritalin addiction should not be taken lightly.
What is Ritalin addiction?
Chemically, the drug methylphenidate is closely related to cocaine. Ritalin has a stimulating effect. That is why it is often misused. The active ingredient increases alertness and dispels signs of tiredness. It sets in a euphoric effect that allows you to party or study all night long. For meniere’s disease definition, please visit electronicsmatter.com.
Methylphenidate is sold as a substitute for speed among drug addicts. Ritalin is taken in tablet form, sniffed through the nose as a powder and squirted dissolved in water. Long-term use changes the brain metabolism. Ritalin increases the dopamine effect by blocking a protein in the nerve cell membrane.
Tolerance to the active substance develops over time and more and more of the substance is required to achieve the desired effect. After its discontinuation, this leads to an increase in the symptoms. Therefore, taking Ritalin can lead to severe psychological dependence.
Ritalin addiction often begins with the use of this drug to treat ADHD. It has been on the market since 1956. Shortly after it was launched, there were indications that Ritalin has a high potential for dependency and can become addictive. The exact mechanisms of action of the substance have not yet been finally clarified scientifically.
Ritalin sales have increased 40-fold in the last five years. The WHO classifies Ritalin as an addictive drug. Scientists refer to it as legal cocaine because doctors like to prescribe it. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is diagnosed more and more frequently.
ADHD is no longer diagnosed only in children but also in adults. This disorder manifests itself in hyperactivity, lack of concentration and increased impulsiveness. It is assumed that these disorders are related to the messenger substance dopamine. This has changed for the people concerned. Dopamine is important for thought processes and movement in the brain.
Ritalin significantly improves the symptoms in ADHD patients. Studies at Stony Brook University in New York show that long-term use leads to changes in the nervous system. Dopamine availability had increased by 24 percent in some brain areas of the reward center. If Ritalin is omitted again, the symptoms become worse. This in turn leads to an increase in the need for the active ingredient contained in Ritalin.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Ritalin can have a variety of side effects. These occur more frequently with dependence, especially when the substance is stopped. Nervousness and irritability are known long-term side effects. Due to the overstimulation of certain nerve cells in the brain, the supply of dopamine is exhausted.
Poor impulse control, hyperactivity, and disturbances in attention are more pronounced after stopping Ritalin than before starting the drug. Epileptic seizures can be triggered. Ritalin reduces appetite. This leads to weight loss and vitamin deficiencies. The active ingredient reduces cerebral blood flow by up to 30 percent. This damages blood cells in the brain.
Brain cells can die. This can cause the brain to shrink. So-called empty spaces can develop in the brain, which damage memory. Ritalin should not be taken by people suffering from depression. These can lead to suicidal thoughts and suicide.
It is also not suitable for people with cardiac arrhythmias and anorexics. If these groups of people take Ritalin abusively, the symptoms are particularly serious after stopping the drug.
Diagnosis & course of disease
Among drug addicts, Ritalin takes the place of cheap cocaine and speed. It has become one of the most popular and easily accessible drugs after hashish. If the supply of the active ingredient is reduced or discontinued abruptly after prolonged use, the characteristic withdrawal symptoms appear. These show up in a depressive mood, states of exhaustion and sleep disturbances. In addition, there is a strong desire to take Ritalin again.
Addiction to Ritalin has serious physical and psychological effects. In general, the concentration-enhancing effect of the drug decreases with regular use, while the side effects increase. A typical complication of this course is cramps, which often last for several minutes.
Heart rhythm disorders can also develop and, in the worst case, lead to a heart attack. In the event of an overdose, other acute complications can occur. It comes to cramps, fever, tremors up to respiratory paralysis and circulatory collapse. Being dependent on Ritalin greatly increases the risk of these life-threatening complications. In addition, the drug changes the personality.
In the long term, psychoses, mental disorders and tics develop. In addition, the libido decreases and the person concerned eventually becomes impotent. Skin inflammation and infections can also occur as a result of inadequate nutrition or the use of contaminated injection equipment. This is accompanied by weight loss and often also to deficiency symptoms.
Ritalin addiction in children can lead to stunted growth. If the drug is eventually stopped, pronounced withdrawal symptoms can occur. Those affected often suffer from depression, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. The insomnia can persist for a few weeks to months.
When should you go to the doctor?
Ritalin addiction must be treated by a doctor. This condition can cause serious damage to the sufferer’s body if the addiction cannot be cured. For this reason, you should definitely consult a doctor at the first sign of Ritalin addiction. A doctor should be consulted if the person concerned suffers from irritability or severe nervousness without taking Ritalin. It can even lead to epileptic seizures or severe weight loss.
As a rule, the patients behave slightly aggressively or appear restless towards other people. In most cases, the symptoms of Ritalin addiction are first noticed by friends or family, so these groups should make the sufferer aware of the symptoms. In severe cases, these people need to start treatment. Ritalin addiction is treated by a specialist doctor, but a complete cure can never be guaranteed. The further course depends strongly on the type of dependency. In some cases, admission to a closed institution may also be necessary.
Treatment & Therapy
If the Ritalin has to be discontinued, this can only be done under careful medical supervision. After stopping the substance, severe depression often occurs. There are also effects of chronic overactivity. Prolonged abuse of Ritalin, which has led to psychological dependence, can already lead to psychosis while taking it.
The risk of psychosis remains even after the substance has been discontinued. It is possible to taper off the drug with simultaneous psychotherapeutic treatment. Afterwards, these people should no longer take Ritalin. Methylphenidate remains as dangerous a substance as cocaine and heroin. The side effects in addicts reach the same proportions as with crack.
In America, Ritalin is classified as particularly dangerous. In the US Army, recruits taking Ritalin are banned from military service. People who took Ritalin as a child due to ADHD symptoms are also declared unfit for work there.
Since the effect of the drug Ritalin can decrease over time, it should only be used for a short time and with great caution. A short-term intake does not build up a continuous level of effectiveness. Then no withdrawal symptoms are to be expected.
A differential blood count must be carried out regularly while taking Ritalin. The platelet count should also be determined at periodic intervals. Ritalin should not be prescribed solely on the basis of a single conspicuous behavioral characteristic.
Particular caution should be exercised in unstable patients and those with a history of drug addiction and alcohol problems. These groups of people tend to increase the Ritalin dose on their own.
Ritalin is prescribed for attention deficit disorder. Most of the patients are children. A high dosage is associated with the risk of dependence, especially if the drug is to be taken over a long period of time. Ritalin is also ‘abused’ as a stimulant by particularly ambitious students or at private parties.
There are two options for aftercare: The Ritalin is administered in a controlled manner so that dependency cannot develop in the first place. In the second case, the dependency already exists. This is where medical intervention takes place. The goal is to reverse the addiction. Follow-up care is carried out using behavioral therapy. The person concerned should learn to gradually reduce their Ritalin consumption.
Ideally, he no longer needs the medication after the treatment is complete. If there is no dependence yet, the patient should be able to get by with the previous dose in everyday life. Ritalin addiction is accompanied by physical and mental symptoms. These include heart problems, headaches, hallucinations or an aggressive mood. The complaints are dealt with during follow-up care.
An overdose can even be life-threatening. In such cases, the patient needs immediate hospitalization by the emergency services. Ritalin must be discontinued immediately and vital signs monitored. Clinical care ends upon discharge. Follow-up care is still ongoing to avoid a relapse.
You can do that yourself
If you are addicted to Ritalin, the first thing to do is stop taking the drug. Affected people are best advised to contact their family doctor. The doctor can prescribe a suitable alternative to Ritalin and determine any consequential damage during a physical examination.
Ritalin addiction itself can be managed by sufferers themselves by seeking therapeutic treatment. In cooperation with the therapist, the addiction can be overcome. In addition, the specialist can establish contact with a self-help group. If the child has a Ritalin addiction, a child psychologist should be consulted. There may be a serious reason behind the addiction that needs to be addressed. In any case, the drug must be discontinued in consultation with the doctor.
There are now some alternatives to Ritalin, such as Medikinet and Elvanse, that achieve similar effects. At best, the addiction is grounded by treating the underlying behavioral disorder. Early countermeasures are important for children. Behavior therapy, but also attending a suitable special school and a regular daily routine are important pillars of the treatment of ADHD and comparable diseases.