Ritalin withdrawal treatment: How to treat Ritalin withdrawal
Ritalin (methylphenidate) withdrawal is usually NOT life threatening. If you’ve been taking a regular Ritalin prescription dosage, most symptoms of Ritalin withdrawal are mild and resolve within a week. But the FDA has not approved medications (yet) for the treatment of Ritalin withdrawal. So how can you find Ritalin withdrawal help? We explore here, and invite your questions about Ritalin withdrawal at the end.
Effects of withdrawal from Ritalin
Stimulants such methylphenidate act in the brain similarly the brain neurotransmitters called monoamines, which include norepinephrine and dopamine. Specifically, stimulants enhance the effects of these chemicals in the brain. But when you stop taking Ritalin, the brain and central nervous system need time to adapt to the lack of regular methylphenidate. Consequently, when you withdraw from Ritalin a few key symptoms manifest. What are these symptoms? When do Ritalin withdrawal symptoms begin?
Withdrawal from Ritalin symptoms
The effects of Ritalin withdrawal vary by person, but can generally be expected to begin 12 to 24 hours after use stops. How long do Ritalin withdrawal symptoms last? Symptoms of methylphenidate withdrawal may persist for 1 to 2 weeks, or more.
Withdrawal from Ritalin symptoms seem to be most severe in the initial days following cessation of use, although people using Ritalin as prescribed can expect less intense symptoms than Ritalin addicts or abusers. Initial depression and feeling anxious are common in the first days of Ritalin withdrawal, with an intense craving for Ritalin sometimes present. When stimulants like methylphenidate are used chronically, withdrawal symptoms can include:
- disturbed sleep patterns
- dysphoria (a dissatsifaction with life)
- extreme fatigue
- prolonged periods of sleep
How to treat Ritalin withdrawal symptoms
Treatment for withdrawal from prescription stimulants, such as methylphenidate, is not medically life threatening and does not require pharmaceutical intervention. Still, some medications may be used during Ritalin withdrawal to treat symptoms and provide support. These include:
Antidepressants – Used to minimize risk of doing harm to self or others.
Benadryl – Used for sedation and for effects on possible dermatologic problems (itching and hypersensitivity of the skin).
Drug craving medications – Medicines such as bromocriptine, amantadine may address cravings for Ritalin, but without clear results.
Neuroleptics – This class of drugs can be used if needed to treat psychotic episodes provoked by high doses of methylphenidate.
Additionally, alternative treatments such as acupuncture to the ear may help ease symptoms of Ritalin withdrawal. But in any case, plenty of bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids is indicated as the body adapts to the absence of methylphenidate.
Best way to withdraw from Ritalin
The detoxification process for Ritalin can take a while to complete, with acute detox from Ritalin resolving 3-5 days, while some major symptoms can persist for 1-2 weeks. The first steps in stimulant withdrawal may be to taper the drug dosage and attempt to ease withdrawal symptoms. You MUST ask for your prescribing doctor’s input on this. Gradually reducing methylphenidate dosage over the course of a few weeks can help minimize the severity and intesity of withdrawal symptoms during detox, but requires medical supervision.
Secondly, the best way to withdraw from Ritalin is to be prepared. Educate yourself on pharmaceutical options, as well as home treatments for Ritalin withdrawal. Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor about withdrawal, and ask if s/he is open to prescribing medications which can help ease symptoms. Seeking referrals for alternative teratments for withdrawal from Ritalin can also help. As much as you can prepare in advance, the better the experience can be.
Finally, line up support during Ritalin withdrawal. Inform family and friends around you of what you’re going through. Schedule regular check-ins with your supervising doctor. Or seek inpatient detox help. Whatever you choose, having support can help you withdraw from Ritalin with confidence.
Ritalin withdrawal treatment questions
Do you still have questions about how to withdraw from Ritalin? Please ask them below. Or if you’ve been through Ritalin withdrawal and have some tips or suggestions to add…we welcome your experiences. We try to respond to all comments personally and promptly.