Unfortunately, millions of parents are wondering how their kid became addicted to Ritalin. The prevalence of Ritalin abuse and addiction among our youth is alarming. Far too many parents are left to wonder how this happened to their child.
Ritalin is one of the most widely abused prescription drugs on the market today. It is a stimulant drug (methylphenidate) mainly used to treat ADHD in children. Methylphenidate is similar to methamphetamine, but not as strong. Ritalin comes in three versions: immediate release, sustained release, and extended release. Each version releases a specific amount of the drug at different rates with different durations of action.
Although Ritalin is not addictive to children who use the drug as prescribed, there are far too many people who use the drug illicitly to obtain euphoria, loose weight, or to avoid sleep. However, when repeatedly abused, Ritalin poses a risk of addiction.
How Does a Person Get Addicted to Ritalin?
People who use Ritalin to control ADHD react differently to the drug than someone who uses it for recreational purposes. Medical use of Ritalin doesn’t cause the person to experience the euphoric effects that a recreational user will experience. Those individuals who wish to get high from Ritalin must take large doses of the drug. Besides developing a physical dependence and high tolerance levels, the user also develops a psychologic dependence on the drug. Once this happens, the person will need Ritalin on a daily basis to help them cope with everyday life. This psychological factor defines the difference between addiction and physical dependence.
Ritalin abuse is rampant on college campuses, especially during exam time. To further demonstrate the prevalence of Ritalin abuse among college-aged kids, the following facts should be useful:
- Ritalin or Adderall abuse was increased by 93 percent in recent years.
- More than 10 percent of US college students admit abusing prescription stimulants in the past year.
- Full-time college students are twice as likely to abuse stimulants as opposed to part-time students.
- College students have the highest prevalence rate of abusing prescription opiates.
There is an on-going debate as to whether Ritalin abuse leads to experimenting with stronger drugs. Likewise, there is a stigma surrounding the use of Ritalin for ADHD in young kids. However, the fact remains that with deliberate, repeated abuse, Ritalin becomes addictive.
Signs That Your Child is Addicted to Ritalin
Ritalin comes in several forms such as tablets, liquid, capsules and patches. When someone uses the drug as a means of getting high, they usually snort or inject it to increase the effects. For instance, when inhaled, the effects are felt within five to ten minutes. When injected, the effects are much quicker and more intense and are felt within ten to fifteen seconds after injection.
To determine whether your child is addicted to Ritalin, some warning signs or symptoms appear in many cases. For example:
Warning signs of Ritalin abuse:
- Dilated pupils
- Hallucinations, hearing voices
- Chest pain
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Rapid heart rate
- Nausea, abdominal pain
Extended results of Ritalin abuse:
- Loss of job or quit school
- Estranged from family and friends
- Financial problems
- No longer enjoys activities that we once enjoyable
- Social isolation
- Lack of interest in personal appearance
As with other drugs of abuse, Ritalin addiction is best conquered by entering a professional treatment program. In this type of program, your child is removed from the negative environment that contributed to their desire to experiment with Ritalin. Throughout the treatment process, your child will benefit from the expertise of compassionate, skilled addiction specialists. Also, each aspect of the program is designed specifically to target your child’s specific needs. Many thousands of people have found lasting recovery after attending one of these programs.
To learn more about how your child became addicted to Ritalin, or to begin a treatment program for your loved one, please call today. One of our representatives will be happy to assist you.