Help for Ritalin addiction

Find help for Ritalin addiction with your family doctor, licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or treatment center. What can you expect? We review here.

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Ritalin addiction help

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a prescription stimulant commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although Ritalin is often prescribed to treat children with ADHD, methylphenidate has become an increasingly addictive drug for people of all ages and economic statuses.  How do you get addicted to Ritalin?   By taking Ritalin other than prescribed or for euphoric effect (to get high).

Once you’ve identified Ritalin addiction signs, how can you get help for an addiction to Ritalin?  And how are experts currently treating Ritalin addiction?  Here, we will explore your options on HOW and WHERE you can find help for a Ritalin addiction. At the close of the article, we welcome any questions you have regarding Ritalin. We try to answer all questions personally and promptly

Why is Ritalin addictive?

Ritalin is a stimulant and was originally prescribed to treat narcolepsy, depression and chronic fatigue. As a stimulant, Ritalin will suppress the appetite, increase attention and focus, improve performance and help the user stay awake. When Ritalin is taken under a physician’s supervision it can be an effective and safe drug. However, when Ritalin is taken in larger doses or used in a manner other than prescribed, it can become a highly addictive drug.

When methylphenidate is taken, it increases a chemical called dopamine in the brain, which is associated withfeelings of pleasure. This is how Ritalin creates a feeling of euphoria. Euphoric feelings can cause psychological dependency on methylphenidate. Over time, the mind and body is “tricked” into thinking the drug is necessary in order to accomplish ordinary tasks, which causes dependency and addiction.

Treatment to help a Ritalin addiction

There are three main types of treatment for Ritalin addiction.

1. Detoxification and withdrawal from Ritalin

The first step to overcoming an addiction to Ritalin is to detox from methylphenidate. When physical dependence on Ritalin is extreme, suddenly stopping Ritalin cold turkey without supervision can be dangerous. Detoxing from Ritalin can result in intense withdrawal symptoms including vivid dreams/nightmares, depression, dysphoria, increased appetite, insomnia, fatigue, hypersonic, psychomotor retardation and/or changes or disruptions in heart rhythms. While medications are not currently authorized by the FDA to support Ritalin withdrawal, it is important that this process is supervised by a medical professional to avoid complications.

2. Physical stabilization and treatment of Ritalin PAWS

Once the initial detox from Ritalin is accomplished, it is important that your mental and physical health is stabilized. Heavy and longtime use of Ritalin can result in protracted withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), which is a set of various symptoms expected to occur when the Ritalin is no longer being used. These symptoms can last for several weeks or months in some cases and may include excessive cravings of the Ritalin, irritability, mood swings, sleeping problems or depression. It is important to see a mental health professional to diagnose and help treat Ritalin PAWS. Mild antidepressants may be prescribed during this time.

3. Psychological Ritalin addiction treatment

One of the most important factors in getting help for an addiction to Ritalin is to identify the beliefs, thoughts and reasonings that compel Ritalin use. Psychological treatment for an addiction to Ritalin helps to address the psychological and emotional patterns that lead to the drug use and address changing the thoughts that encourage the need for the Ritalin. Behavioral changes, including stopping the use of the drug, is extremely difficult without understanding and accepting a change in thinking.

Getting help for Ritalin addiction

Asking for help is the first step in getting help for a Ritalin addiction. But where do you go and who can you ask for help? You can find help for Ritalin addiction by seeking out any of the following:

Addiction treatment center – Inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment centers are experienced and trained to teach you about the effects addiction has on the brain, the causes of an addiction and how to safely overcome your addiction to Ritalin. Treatment centers offer the full service of addiction treatment therapies, from detox to counseling to aftercare and relapse prevention.

Addiction specialist– It can be very helpful to talk about your addiction with someone who understands addictions, such as a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist.

Family and friends – Your family and friends can be very helpful providing you with the support you will need as you are getting help for Ritalin addiction. Those closes to you can also help you find additional support in your community.

Medical professional – Your family doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist can help taper your use of the Ritalin as well as refer you to other Ritalin addiction treatment providers.

Religious leaders – A trusted religious leader from your place of worship will be able to provide you with support, understanding and help with finding the treatment best suited for your needs.

How to help a Ritalin addict

There are several things you can do to help a loved one who is addicted to Ritalin. The first (and one of the most important things you can do to help) is to stop enabling the addict. This may be difficult, but it is a vital part of addiction treatment. Additionally, psychological therapies such as individual, group counseling, or family therapy are excellent ways to address personal or systemic problems which can lead to addiction. Learn as much as you can about the nature of addiction and get involved in the therapy process.

A more formal way to to help a Ritalin addict is to plan an intervention. An intervention is a pre-planned conversation with the Ritalin addict and other loved ones about the effects of addiction. The goal of an intervention is to help the addict make the decision to get treatment for their addiction. There are two types of interventions:

Informal intervention – During an informal intervention, friends and family have a conversation with the Ritalin addict to share howaddiction has impacted relationships. The need for treatment is also discussed, and treatment options should be planned in advance of the conversation. There are no professionals involved with an informal intervention.

Formal interventions – During a formal intervention, family and friends confront a Ritalin addict in a structured environment and with the assistance of a professional.

Ritalin addiction helplines

Finding help for an addiction to Ritalin can be as easy as making a phone call. These help lines and hotlines can help address an addiction to Ritalin.

1-800-662-HELP This National Drug Abuse hotline refers you to treatment centers in your are which provide treatment/counseling centers for prescription drug addictions.

Help with Ritalin addiction questions

Still have questions about how to find help with Ritalin addiction or jpw help someone with a Ritalin addiction? Maybe you have an experience you would like to share? If so, please leave your questions, comments, and experiences about help for Ritalin addiction below. We will respond to you promptly and personally.

Reference Sources: NIDA: DrugFacts: Stimulant ADHD Medications – Methylphenidate and Amphetamines
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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