Methylphenidate Addiction

Colorful Pills

Defining Ritalin

Ritalin (Methylphenidate) is a central nervous stimulant drug commonly used to treat attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy in both children and adults. Other drugs that are used to treat ADHD and are used as recreational drugs are Methamphetamine, Amphetamine, Dextroamphetamine etc. Ritalin travels through the central nervous system to decrease restlessness and agitation, and increase focus. The main ingredient in Ritalin is methylphenidate. Ritalin is often compared with Adderall as both are drugs used to treat ADHD symptoms. Like Adderall, Ritalin inhibits the brain cells from taking in dopamine and norepinephrine to decrease excitability that is associated with attention deficit.

Ritalin should be taken orally. A small dose of Ritalin is given initially and increased gradually. The amount and strength of the dose is given on an individual basis. Ritalin should only be allocated to the user as each individual has different behavioral reactions.

Illegally, Ritalin can be snorted in pill form or injected directly into the system. While Ritalin is an over-the-counter drug used legally to treat ADHD, it still gets purchased for illegal means. Since the 1990’s, recreational as well as illegal Ritalin use has increased among students to treat stress and increase concentration during exams along with Adderall.

Side Effects of Ritalin

Short-Term

  • Irritability
  • Tension
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Light-headedness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Panic

Long-Term

  • Decreased effectiveness
  • Physical and psychological dependency
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Depression

Ritalin Do’s and Don’ts

Ritalin should be taken as prescribed. If a dosage is missed, take it when remembered. Do not double the dose.

People with a history of mood disorders or Tourette’s syndrome should consult a doctor before taking Ritalin as severe anxiety may contradict the effects of the drug.

Ritalin should not be shared with others. Doses are prescribed on an individual basis of ADHD, so what works for one person may be too strong for another.

Ritalin should not be taken during pregnancy and women who take Ritalin should talk to their doctors about any possible risks during breastfeeding.

If signs of allergic reaction occur, it is important to seek professional help immediately. Common allergic reactions include:

  • Hives
  • Labored breathing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

Addiction and Overdose

When taken in excess, Ritalin has the potential to become addictive and habit-forming. Ritalin should be taken with caution as addiction can lead to drug dependency, cravings, and increased tolerance. Withdrawal symptoms such as extreme fatigue, depression, and possible worsening of symptoms can occur if stopped abruptly.

Overdose on methylphenidate can lead to acute toxicity which can be extremely harmful for the body and overdosing on Ritalin could be fatal and life-threatening. If overdose is suspected, call 911 immediately. Signs of overdose may include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Tremors
  • Coma
  • Death

Treatment

If you or someone you know sees the signs of a Ritalin addiction or has just experienced overdose on Ritalin, it is important to seek help. It is best to consult medical professionals and therapists found in a drug rehab facility to treat the addiction.

Defining Concerta

Concerta (Methylphenidate Hydrochloride) is widely used in the management of ADHD as well as ADD in children and adults. Concerta increases the amount of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, and stimulates the central nervous system. As Concerta is a habit-forming drug, it has been used recreationally as well. When used in excess, Concerta releases the neurotransmitters, causing a euphoric high, which can be harmful for the body.

The effects of Concerta begin to take effect within an hour of ingestion and methylphenidate stays in the body for up to 2 days. The use of Concerta for ADD or ADHD should be monitored closely by a physician. It is important to contact him or her if there are any issues before or while taking Concerta.

Side Effects of Concerta

Short-Term

  • Chest pain
  • Tachycardia
  • Fever
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Skin rash or hives

Long-Term

  • Confusion
  • Severe depression
  • Hives
  • Hallucinations
  • Numbness in the hands
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Skin pallor
  • Irritated eyes
  • Scaly skin

Concerta Do's and Don'ts

Concerta should be taken only as prescribed by a physician. If the dose is missed, do not take an extra dose to make up for it.

Concerta should be taken a few hours before bedtime to reduce the chances of insomnia.

Individuals using Concerta should monitor their pill intake. Pills should not be shared with others, as Concerta is highly addictive.

Doses of Concerta taken should not be increased without prior advice from a physician.

Concerta should not be taken by patients with glaucoma or anxiety disorders.

Signs of allergic reaction towards Concerta may include:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Tachycardia
  • Flushing
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Muscle spasms
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling

The presence of any of these signs indicates the need for urgent medical attention.

Addiction and Overdose

Concerta presents a high risk of addiction. Physiological dependence to the drug usually follows chronic use or taking increasing doses of the drug successively without any clinical reason, affecting the body’s ability to function normally without presence of the drug.

Note that abusing Concerta may cause sudden fatality in both adults and children. Some of the common signs of overdose include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Flushing
  • Severe headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Muscle twitching
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

If any of the above signs occur, it is extremely important to get help from a medical facility if any of these overdose signs appear.

Treatment

It is recommended to follow a holistic model of treatment for Concerta addiction. This includes the use of medication, social support, and mental therapy in combination to achieve a synergistic effect. For best results, treatment of Concerta overdose is best done in a controlled environment such as a drug rehabilitation facility. Chances of recovery are high when treatment procedures conform to this model because it reduces access to drugs and facilitates compliance to addiction therapy. If you or a loved one has an addiction to Concerta, it is best to seek help immediately, before the addiction worsens. Remember that it is never too late to get help for addiction.

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