Long Term Ritalin Use Can Trigger Dependence
Ritalin is a brand name for methylphenidate, a strong stimulant, classified as Schedule II drug. In medicine, Ritalin is used for treating ADHD, narcolepsy, depression, and chronic fatigue. In fact, methylpehenidate affects the central nervous system and can lead to positive therapeutic outcomes. On the other hand, Ritalin triggers feelings of euphoria, which is why many people choose to use it recreationally.
Ongoing use of Ritalin may lead to physical dependence, and increased level of tolerance to the drug.
In the text below we review the basic facts about Ritalin use. We’ll take a look at the medical use of Ritalin and common methods for recreational use. We’ll also review the long-term side effects of use. Finally, we welcome you to share your questions and comments in the section at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all our readers with a personal and prompt reply!
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Medical Use Of Ritalin
As a prescription medication, Ritalin is mainly used to control symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in adults or children. Paradoxically, it seems to “slow down” some brain processes for people diagnosed with ADHD so that they can concentrate. In addition, Ritalin is used to treat:
- Chronic fatigue
Ritalin is classified in the group of medications called central nervous system stimulants. It acts on the brain receptors that suppress the appetite, increase attention span and alertness. So, Ritalin helps people gain focus, improve daily performance, and stay awake.
When taken as prescribed and under doctor’s supervision, Ritalin is a very effective and safe drug. It is available as a regular and extended-release tablet of 10-60mg. Depending on immediate, sustained, and extended release tablets, Ritalin’s effects have different duration periods. The effects can lasts anywhere from 3-4 hours for immediate, and 6-8 hours for extended release.
Ritalin Recreational Use
People use Ritalin outside of prescription guidelines, as well. It is classified as a Schedule II class of drugs by the Controlled Substance Act. So, any kind of use other than prescribed by a doctor is considered illegal. But why do people use Ritalin like this, in the first place?
The main psychoactive ingredient found in Ritalin – methylphenidate – increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. Methylphenidate is a chemical that creates a state of well-being, especially when it’s used in larger doses. This means that Ritalin triggers euphoria, which is the reason why people start to use it recreationally.
How do people use Ritalin?
Ritalin is available in various tablets for medical use. However, it is abused in many ways which may cause health problems. The biggest risk? Ritalin overdose.
Below, we review some of the more popular modes of Ritalin administration and their associated risks. Ritalin can be taken:
1. Orally – Chewing Ritalin releases the concentrated amount of methylphenidate that travels quickly into the bloodstream. Commonly, Ritalin is abused with combination of alcohol, illicit drug, and/or other prescription drugs. However, this can cause damage to the mouth that leads to gum problems and tooth decay.
2. Nasally – A pill is first crushed into powder, and then snorted in order to give immediate ‘hit’ in the brain. But, snorting Ritalin also increases the risk of overdose. Additionally, taking Ritalin via snorting may cause nasal necrosis and many more problems.
3. Intravenously – A tablet is first dissolved in water, and then injected. Ritalin triggers an almost immediate action, letting methylphenidate to enter in the bloodstream quickly. Administrating Ritalin this way, increases the risk of gaining HIV and hepatitis B and C.
NOTE HERE: Snorting and injecting Ritalin are very dangerous ways of administration, since Ritalin consists of non-soluble fiber (non-active ingredient) that can be lodged in the small blood vessels. Moreover, these two routes increase your addiction potential.
IMPORTANT: In any case of suspected Ritalin overdose immediately CALL 911 or CALL the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Long Term Ritalin Use
In medical terms, any condition that is treated with medications for 6 months and/or more is classified as “long term” or “chronic” use. Although long-term use of Ritalin is considered as safe and effective treatment when used as prescribed, taking Ritalin for years can affect your health.
First of all, long-term Ritalin use may cause Ritalin dependence and increased tolerance to stimulants. Moreover, those who are dependent on Ritalin experience withdrawal symptoms when the doses are stopped or lowered all of a sudden.
Some of the most common side effects of long-term Ritalin use include:
- Muscle tightness
- Uncontrolled movements
Further, taking Ritalin over the course of many months or years can cause even more serious problems which can be fatal for people with certain conditions. Here are some of them:
- Chest pain
- Constant mood change
- Irregular heartbeat
- Irregular breathing
- Loss of breath
Prolonged Use Of Ritalin
Continued Ritalin use for a longer period of time can cause physical dependence. The prolonged use of Ritalin can also lead to increased tolerance to the drug. When dependent or Ritalin-tolerant, users often start to increase the doses or frequency of use, just to get initial, desired effects. This can cause overdose or cause harm.
What happens if you’re Ritalin-dependent and then try to quit?
If you become physically dependent on Ritalin, your body has adapted to the presence of the drug. And when you try to lower the dose or completely stop taking Ritalin, you trigger withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms start only a few hours after the last missed Ritalin dose, but could last anywhere from a couple of days to several months.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with Ritalin withdrawal include:
- Irregular heart rate
Ritalin Use Questions
Addictive stimulants like Ritalin must be taken as prescribed by a doctor. Be very careful when you are using Ritalin because it can seriously damage your health.
If you still have any concerns about Ritalin use OR are looking for medical Ritalin detox or Ritalin addiction treatment options, please do not hesitate to ask. All your questions and comments are welcomed. We try to reply personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.