What Is Ritalin?
Ritalin is a brand name for methylphenidate, the drug that is used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and narcolepsy. It falls in the class of central nervous system stimulants.
Ritalin’s mechanism of action is that it affects the chemicals in the nerves and brain and manages impulse control and hyperactivity issues.
Formats of Ritalin medicine:
Instant release – 3 to 4 hours
Sustained-release (SR) – 6 to 8 hours
Extended-release (LA) – 8 hours
The first two forms of tablets can be taken prior to a meal, with a gap of at least 30 minutes. Ritalin tablets and Ritalin SR tablets, at least 30 to 45 minutes before a meal. Long-acting extended-release capsules should be swallowed as a whole or sprinkled on to a spoonful of food and taken at once.
Ritalin uses also includes relief from muscle pain and headaches. Surprisingly, it can also treat acute depression and chronic fatigue. Children with ADHD issues are prescribed Ritalin by their doctors. However, one should note that Ritalin is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance owing to its habit-forming nature. In simpler words, the drug carries a high risk of addiction.
Street names for Ritalin:
- Poor man’s cocaine
- Study buddies
How Is Ritalin Taken?
When you use Ritalin as per the proper prescription given by a medical professional who diagnosed your situation, the drug can help achieve a calming effect. It helps you focus on your tasks when consumed in the right amounts. There is a unanimous agreement for the fact that Ritalin is a comparatively safe drug.
But for individuals that are wondering, “Is Ritalin addictive?” the answer is yes. Given the effectiveness of Ritalin in the treatment and management of ADHD, it is safe to assume, albeit wrongly, that it cannot be addictive. However, the truth is contrary to this belief, as the drug comes with a high potential for addiction, and Ritalin abuse side effects can be seen in children, teenagers, and adults alike.
During the 1990s, Ritalin use and abuse grew proportional to the increasing number of prescriptions. Ritalin recreational abuse is especially dangerous because the users may take higher doses than what’s prescribed. In addition, the modes of administration of the drug are typically different than the normal oral route prescribed for legal medications. Users either snort, inject, or crush them to inhale, which makes the delivery mechanism of Ritalin much faster than the intended methods. Besides, the side effects of Ritalin abuse also will be far worse.
Since Ritalin is a Schedule II narcotic, it has something in common with drugs such as cocaine and morphine: stimulant effects. Although Ritalin is a prescription drug, its generic counterpart is for purchase. Hence, there are a lot of teens who abuse the drug.
Even with proper medical dosage, the drug can show mild to severe side effects – both physical and psychological, including:
- Weight loss
- Heart problems
- Rapid breathing
Furthermore, it is a drug of dependence, meaning, long-term use can cause Ritalin addiction.
Also, the drug should not be taken together with certain other medications. For instance, if you have Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy, glaucoma, high blood pressure, and other problems, then you must inform your doctor before using Ritalin.
Besides, you should take the drug in the prescribed dosage, but never more. Otherwise, your body can go into a Ritalin overdose. Similar to other “uppers”, abusing Ritalin may cause abdominal cramps, tachycardia, tremors, fever, muscle twitching, and other symptoms. Overdose may sometimes lead to heart stroke, coma, and death.
Ritalin Addiction Symptoms In Students
While Ritalin is majorly used for kids; teens and adults abuse it to get high. Athletes, too, use it to enhance their alertness.
Because Ritalin helps enhance focus and concentration, students who may not have ADHD can also abuse the drug to improve their academic performance. Like amphetamines that are called “speed” or “uppers,” the reputation that Ritalin has earned is that it increases productivity. Since it is highly accessible, school and college students may use it to gain better grades, stay up late, or study more.
They may also take this Schedule II controlled substance to simply get high. In fact, the use of Ritalin and other methylphenidate consumption is markedly higher in the U.S. compared to any other country. Many students who have been diagnosed with ADHD and have access to prescription Ritalin may even sell their medications to other students who are in need of the drug so they can score better at their academic tests.
Ritalin abuse statistics show that a whopping 29% of students in a 2017 survey covering 9 colleges agreed to use prescription stimulant drugs like Ritalin to boost academic performance, and over 11% of them accepted using Ritalin for non-medical reasons. However, reports also suggest that there is no concrete evidence pointing towards enhanced academic benefit for those seeking Ritalin. Worse still, there may be severe side effects of Ritalin in children, when they take the drug unnecessarily.