Ritalin is among the list of drugs abused by many Americans, particularly those wanting to remain alert and focus to improve their performance at school or work. Ritalin, or Methylphenidate, is a highly addictive prescription stimulant used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. If you or someone you love is abusing Ritalin, these 8 warning signs can help you to seek treatment and regain control of your life.
1. Strong cravings
Long-term use and abuse of illegal or prescription drugs result in chemical changes in the brain that make taking the addictive substance your new ‘normal.’ Strong or overpowering cravings is usually one of the first signs of addiction to this stimulant. These cravings occur when your brain is in need of that ‘fix’ that makes it feel a sense of euphoria and gives the body that rush of energy.
2. Compulsive drug seeking
Drug addiction is broadly defined as a strong compulsion to seek the addictive substance. Strong cravings usually lead you to compulsively seek and use Ritalin. You may be aware of the adverse effects of the drug, but you continue to use it, deny the addiction, or find reasons why you need to get a “fix.” Some persons may lie to their doctor or falsify a prescription to get a refill.
3. Larger doses than prescribed
Many people addicted to Ritalin have been prescribed the medication but continue to use it long after the course of treatment ends. Or they use it in larger amounts or more frequently than directed. Once you become dependent on the medication, you will need more and more of it to produce the same level of effect you were once able to achieve with smaller doses.
4. Crushing the tablet for use
Using the prescribed tablet in a form other than intended can increase its potency and make it several times more addictive than when used as directed. You may be addicted to this drug if you crush the tablet and use the powder for snorting or mixing it into a solution for injecting into a vein. People tend to do this so the drug can act faster, but this is a dangerous practice and increases the risk of addiction.
5. Poor performance
Some people use Ritalin to help them concentrate better or work or study for long hours. They see it as a shortcut to improving their performance. It actually has the opposite effect in the long run. After the “high” comes the crash. This leaves you feeling lethargic, irritable, sleepy, and with a foggy brain. The result is a reduced ability to stay focus, remember things, or complete tasks.
6. Paranoia or hostility
The feelings of euphoria you get from taking Ritalin can be exhilarating. You feel on top of the world! But at the other end of the spectrum of drug abuse is the ‘low’ feelings accompanied by paranoia, hostility, or aggression. You may also experience agitation, nervousness, blurred vision, an increase in heart rate, or breathing problems.
7. Poor decision making
Abusing this stimulant can come with harmful consequences associated with poor decision making. For example, when high on Ritalin you may drive or use machinery and increase your risk of causing an accident or injuring yourself or others. You may continue to take the drug despite the negative effects on your physical and mental health, your job performance, or academic grades. You may even begin to avoid your responsibilities as a parent, employee, or student.
8. Mood changes
A common behavioral change caused by Ritalin addiction is mood swings. One minute you’re happy and energized, the next you’re feeling sad, anxious, or depressed. You may even show signs of irritability or lack of interest in the things you once enjoyed. Some users may withdraw from their social circles or stop participating in recreational activities.
People addicted to this drug tend to notice certain withdrawal symptoms after the euphoria wears off. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils, anxiety, and depression. Some persons may experience high blood pressure, heart palpitations, dizziness, insomnia, or hallucinations.
Withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person and usually depend on the severity of drug abuse. You may try to avoid these symptoms by taking more of the drug but this only worsens your addiction. Professional treatment that involves detox and therapy are usually the safest and most effective ways to recover from Ritalin addiction. To learn more about Ritalin addiction and treatment options, please visit: https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/ritalin-addiction/.