Ritalin Drug Abuse, Signs and Symptoms, Detox and Withdrawal

What Is Ritalin?

Methylphenidate – more commonly known by the brand name Ritalin, among others – is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, a member of the phenethylamine and piperidine classes of medications, prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is a class B controlled substance in the UK, legally available only by prescription. However, due to the energising and euphoric “high” which it produces, Ritalin is also used and abused recreationally, including by younger people due to its increasing popularity as a prescription for ADHD. Ritalin is considered moderately to highly addictive, with a dependence liability similar to that of amphetamine.

If you are interested in hearing more about prescription drug rehab – call us now and speak to an experienced addiction counsellor!

Effects Of Ritalin

Ritalin’s stimulant effects are valuable in the treatment of ADHD as they include an increased clarity of thought and capacity for focus in the user. At higher dosages, the stimulant effect becomes more pronounced and the user enjoys a mild euphoria and raised energy levels, as well as feeling more confident and disinhibited. Unfortunately, Ritalin is associated with several unpleasant side-effects including anxiety; nausea; abdominal pain; agitation; irritability; a loss of appetite; dry mouth; dizziness; tics; blurred vision; tachycardia; changes in blood pressure; grinding of teeth; and sweating.

Over the long term, abuse may have significant adverse effects, such as negative gastrointestinal effects including pronounced weight loss; damage to the heart; hypersensitivity (including skin rash, urticaria and fever); priapism; libido disorders; and the occurrence of disorientation and even hallucinations. Ritalin has also been associated with the emergence of new psychotic symptoms in individuals and is known to worsen psychosis in patients already diagnosed with the condition.

Withdrawal And Detoxification Process

Ritalin addiction can result in the manifestation of serious withdrawal symptoms if and when the addict ceases taking the drugs. The precise nature and severity of the symptoms will vary considerably from one user to another depending on various factors including the dosages consumed; the frequency of consumption; the length of the addiction; and the physiology of the addict, among others.

For many people going through withdrawal can be extremely distressing, even apparently unbearable, without support, and a tragically high number of people each year result to self-harm or even suicide in an attempt to cope with or escape – or put an end to – the unpleasant symptoms which may manifest. As a result, withdrawal is a perilous process and should never be attempted without the assistance of a medical professional: various “at home detox” kits are available on the internet but doctors strongly advise against this method, for the aforementioned reason.

Detox Timeline

As mentioned above, each case of addiction and subsequent withdrawal is unique, and it is impossible to provide a timeline of withdrawal which will be applicable to every addict. However, if you are addicted to Ritalin, a rough guide to what you may expect from withdrawal is as follows:

  • 0-24 hours: You may start feeling anxious and irritable a few hours to a day after your last dose. Cravings will begin to manifest and quickly will become intense.
  • 1-3 days: Your anxiety, and irritability and restlessness will become pronounced and mood swings may be extreme. You may experience sudden and intense hunger. Cravings will be frequent and intense, while insomnia may manifest.
  • 3-7 days: Your symptoms are likely to peak around three days and may include paranoia and extreme lethargy as well as all the above conditions. Depression is likely to set in even as other symptoms begin to decline in intensity and frequency.
  • 1-2 weeks: Most symptoms will begin to fade after around a week although insomnia may persist and depression is likely to intensify. After a fortnight in most cases, the withdrawal will be complete.

If symptoms – in particular depression – persist for longer than two weeks, you may be suffering from post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) which may last for months or even years and may require therapy to deal with the worst effects.

Treating Ritalin Addiction

Since the addictive nature of stimulants such as Ritalin became clear, a large number of different treatment methods have emerged. Some of these are not endorsed by the medical community, and may be extremely dangerous to the user; do not embark on a course of treatment – especially one which you have found online without a recommendation from a doctor or addiction specialist – without consulting your GP.

Your GP should always be your first port of call and you may wish to discuss with them options such as private addiction counselling, NHS services and support groups. However, the consensus amongst the medical community is that rehab is the most effective treatment option for long-term recovery as only rehab provides a holistic combination of medically assisted detox, a variety of therapy models, dietary and fitness plans, peer group support and reliable confidentiality.

Detox & Rehab Benefits

Rehab has proven extraordinarily successful in helping countless addicts to achieve long-term recovery. Some of the advantages of rehab include:

  • A medical detox, where highly qualified professionals will make the addict’s journey through withdrawal as comfortable and safe as possible.
  • Pleasant, peaceful surroundings in which an addict can focus wholly on his or her recovery.
  • A broad range of therapy options to ensure the most appropriate therapeutic care for each patient.
  • Group therapy, providing patients with a peer group of those who have been through similar experiences and can share advice and support.
  • Bespoke dietary and fitness plans, working on the principle of “healthy body, healthy mind”.
  • Complete confidentiality to ensure that patients need not be concerned about details of their condition becoming public knowledge.
  • One year’s free aftercare, providing supplementary support as the recovering addict readjusts to a drug-free life.

What Now?

Because Ritalin is a prescription drug, its abuse does not tend to attract the same degree of stigma as that of many other drugs, especially illegal substances; nevertheless, the impact of Ritalin addiction can be just as devastating as that of any other drug on the market. However, do not despair: significant expertise has been developed in the treatment of addiction to these drugs, and every day a great many people set out on the road to recovery with the assistance of addiction specialists like our team at Primrose Lodge. If you are ready to take the first step towards joining them, and eventually towards the resumption of a happy and healthy life free of Ritalin,

Call us today on 0203 553 9263 to discuss how we can help you turn your life around.

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Call Now 0203 553 9263
Call Now 0203 553 9263

Call Now 0203 553 9263

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