Saturday October 1st 2016

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How to help a Ritalin addict?

As a friend or a loved one of a Ritalin addict it’s helpful to know that the first step to recovery starts when the addict asks for help. This moment is a turning point because you can only help those who want to help themselves. Showing understanding and offering your support may spark a new hope for a loved one who is facing Ritalin addiction.

But, what can you do to help someone with Ritalin addiction? As a friend, a partner, or a loved one of someone with Ritalin addiction, you first need to inform yourself about the effects of Ritalin’s addictive behaviour. In this article we review what steps you can take to help a Ritalin addict, but also explain how professional addiction treatment programs can address addiction. At the end, we welcome your questions in the section below.

Helping a Ritalin addict quit: Step 1 is about motivation

The first conscious step to recovery starts when a person actively wants to treat Ritalin addiction. This usually happens when you experience constant negative effects and begin to realize that you have entered a labyrinth of constant cravings and dissatisfaction.

However, quitting Ritalin is not that easy. In fact, it is very difficult for people addicted to Ritalin to achieve and maintain long-term abstinence. Studies show that long-term Ritalin use changes a person’s brain function, causing them to crave the medication more, and making it increasingly difficult to quit. In ideal cases, people do not wait to hit rock bottom before asking for help. It would be best if your loved one can seek treatment before the consequences get severe.

Helping Ritalin addiction through proper treatment

The best way to address any drug addiction is by asking for professional help. Medical professionals have been treating addiction for decades and have developed evidence based treatments that work! While some people may not require a stay in rehab, others can benefit from residential rehab treatment. When entering a treatment facility make sure that you bring only the essential items you need, such as:

  • list of names, addresses and phone numbers of people you wish to have contact with
  • prescription medications
  • small amount of cash
  • notebook or a journal
  • pictures of loved ones
  • comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing
  • personal hygiene and beauty products

Generally, the course of Ritalin addiction treatment is as follows:

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  1. First, ASSESSMENT. When you enter a drug treatment program you will be interviewed and examined in order to determine the severity of the Ritalin addiction. This procedure of interviews and assessments is usually accompanied with blood and/or urine tests, and other physical and mental health examinations.
  2. Next, DETOX. The second phase during Ritalin rehab is detoxification, when needed. During Ritalin detox, the drug methylphenidate will be removed from your body using wither a slow taper or a cold turkey withdrawal protocol. Detox is done carefully and under the supervision of a professional medical staff. Doctors and nurses will provide medical and emotional support as you go through withdrawal.
  3. Then, BEHAVIORAL and PSYCHOTHERAPY. When your body is free from Ritalin, an individual treatment plan will be tailored for you. The therapeutic process usually includes a combination of psychological/behavioral therapy and medications. During your treatment, health services and family-based support systems are also included.

How to help a Ritalin addict friend

Helping a friend through the struggle with Ritalin addiction is a way to make your connection stronger. Sometimes, facing a difficult problem can reconnect loved ones and rebuild relationships. Here are some recommendations on how to help your Ritalin addictive friend or loved one:

  1. Show readiness to listen what your loved one has to say.
  2. Show empathy for their problem.
  3. Avoid judgement or any kind of tension that could provoke conflict.
  4. Try to put yourself in the person’s shoes and do not forget to treat the person like you would like to be treated.
  5. Observe your loved one’s behaviour and inform yourself about the signs and symptoms of Ritalin addiction.
  6. Set boundaries and tell your loved one that you will not engage in anything that promotes their continued use of Ritalin.
  7. Warn your loved one about the consequences of an addictive behavior and persuade them to enter treatment.
  8. Suggest your loved one a treatment program.
  9. Keep contact and track of your loved one treatment and progress.

Last but not least: Have a welcoming attitude towards your loved one after they finish their Ritalin addiction treatment. Your presence can help them feel that they are not alone.

Self help Ritalin addiction

Self-help can be defined as the act of helping or improving your Ritalin addiction condition without depending on the help from others. Examples of self help treatments would include:

Most drug addiction treatment programs encourage patients to participate in a self-help group during and after their formal treatment.

Getting help for Ritalin addiction

When facing an addiction problem you can always call SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This helpline is intended for individuals and family members facing mental health and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

The following resources can help you address the physical and psychological aspects of your Ritalin addiction.

  • Physicians, family doctors, or general practitioner MDs
  • Licensed Psychologist or a Psychiatrist
  • Addiction treatment facilities and detox clinics
  • Addiction Counselors

Helping a Ritalin addict questions

You may still have questions regarding Ritalin addiction programs. We welcome those questions in the comments section and try to provide answers as quickly as we can.

Reference sources: NIH: Self-help and drug addiction treatment
SAMHSA: SAMHSA’s National Helpline
FDA: Ritalin

Photo credit: FGMB

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