Ritalin abuse can wreak havoc on a person’s body, mind, and spirit. Many people start taking Ritalin so they can excel at school, sports, or work. But the highs of Ritalin are short-lived, and are quickly followed by a hard crash soon after. These ups and downs can create a vicious cycle in which the person feels powerless to stop the habit. Recovering from a Ritalin addiction is painful not only physically, but also emotionally. Seeking help is usually the only way to break out of this harmful pattern.
Spotting a Ritalin Addiction
The United States, shockingly, creates and consumes over three-quarters of the Ritalin in the world. Through Ritalin is still the go-to prescription for children with ADHD, more and more teens are lying to doctors about symptoms so they can get prescriptions for Ritalin. Students and athletes are prone to Ritalin abuse because of the pressures they face in daily life to perform.
Because the high (a burst of energy and focus) only lasts up to 4 hours, users experience burnout the next day, which then compels them to seek another high. If someone you know is buying Ritalin on the streets—where it’s available quite readily—it’s because they feel out of control. This points to an addiction, as do periods of high productivity followed by depression and inactivity.
There are several symptoms you can watch out for when someone is abusing Ritalin. A person might stay up for days at a time without any reason, and seem uncharacteristically awake and jubilant. They’re able to concentrate on a single task for hours at a time without breaking focus. But this state won’t last forever; it’s usually followed by a period of irritability, fatigue, and the search for more drugs.
Consequences of a Ritalin Addiction
One of the scary parts of Ritalin abuse is that a person’s brain quickly becomes addicted to the dopamine kick it provides. So they begin to need the drug in order to simply feel normal. And in order to feel exceptionally alert, they need a higher dosage. From here, the cycle continues. Your loved one might start losing relationships, getting more and more driven to obtain Ritalin, and not be able to stop—even when they desperately want to.
Prolonged use of Ritalin can lead to neurological changes in the brain that can cause mental illnesses like depression, problems with emotional regulation, and impulse-control issues. Long-term Ritalin addiction can also permanently impair the user’s memory and learning abilities. If someone is snorting or injecting Ritalin, the risks only increase to include heart problems, suicidal ideation, and possibly death.
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The Importance of Treatment
If someone you know is struggling with a Ritalin addiction, it’s imperative that they seek treatment immediately. Ritalin abuse can have serious health consequences, as well as long-lasting negative effects on one’s personal and work life. And if the person suffers from a mental illness or pre-existing heart condition, the health risks are greatly increased.
Specific treatment approaches might vary depending on when the abuse began, with recovery being harder the longer the addiction has been going on. While detoxing can be painful and challenging, doing it in a safe and medically supervised environment makes it much more achievable. No matter what level the addiction is, a compassionate rehab program can help your loved one begin to recover and rebuild their life: understanding and treating the problems that fueled the addiction to move forward.
Connect with us today to discover more about how you can help a loved one suffering from an addiction to Ritalin.