Developing Dependence or Addiction to Ritalin

in Addiction
Published May 9, 2021
ritalin withdrawal

Ritalin, the brand name for the drug Methylphenidate, is prescribed to treat individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. When used appropriately, it can help both children and adults focus on a task at hand, remaining still and calm when necessary, and avoiding distractions. It can also be used to treat narcolepsy, a type of sleep condition. However, this drug is often misused, leading to dependency and addiction. This, in turn, can cause serious health consequences and even overdose.

How Ritalin Should Be Used

Ritalin can be prescribed in a variety of different forms, such as a capsule, tablet, or liquid, and is to be taken orally. The doses an individual will be prescribed a day are dependent upon their age and condition. The last dose of the day should be taken well before bedtime because it can lead to trouble sleeping if taken too late. The medication should be taken exactly as prescribed and at the same time each day.

Ritalin is a stimulant, and it works by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that causes feelings of pleasure. When it goes into effect, an individual will experience a reinvigorated sense of motivation. For example, a schoolchild who struggles to pay attention in class may experience a sense of encouragement to get their work done. They may even find their school work to be more interesting.

Ritalin Misuse

Ritalin is highly addictive, and it is misused when an individual doesn’t take it as prescribed or takes it without a legitimate prescription. In recent years, there have been rising cases of Ritalin being sold or given to those who were never prescribed the medication. This is especially common among college students, some of whom look at this medication as a type of study aid. They believe that taking it will help them stay up and study for an exam or focus better in class. Others may use it with the intention of trying to lose weight. This practice of selling Ritalin is not only dangerous but highly illegal. An individual found guilty of this can face a severe fine or even jail time.

Determining if an Individual Is Addicted to Ritalin

When an individual misuses Ritalin or takes more of it than prescribed, they can build up a dependence on it over time. When this happens, they will need more and more of the drug to experience the same effects. Dependence on a substance is a criterion for substance use disorder (SUD), with an individual needing to meet at least one more criteria to be diagnosed with a mild SUD.

An individual can ask themselves other questions to determine if they are addicted to Ritalin and experiencing Ritalin withdrawal. They include:

  • Have they tried to cut back on their use but struggled to?
  • Have they continued to use it despite experiencing negative health effects?
  • Have they continued to use it despite it causing them to experience trouble in their relationships?
  • Have they continued to use it despite it causing them to struggle to keep up with their responsibilities?
  • Do they experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to cut back from taking it?

Someone going through Ritalin withdrawal will likely experience some unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms will vary depending upon how long they took the drug and what type of dose they were taking. They could include but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Changes in appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Irritability
  • Severe fatigue
Dangers of Developing an Addiction to Ritalin

Someone who is misusing Ritalin could suffer from a variety of unpleasant side effects. Some of these side effects could be long-lasting. They may include:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Weight loss
  • Panic Attacks
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis and dental problems


These side effects can be exacerbated if an individual uses Ritalin in combination with other drugs or alcohol. The most severe danger of developing an addiction to Ritalin is the risk of potential overdose and death.

Seeking Treatment & Ritalin Withdrawal

Someone dealing with Ritalin addiction should consult their primary care physician, who will likely provide them with a referral to a medical treatment facility. They will likely recommend that the patient goes through a medical detox. During this process, the individual is supported through withdrawal symptoms that accompany the body’s natural process of restoring balance. At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we offer an effective detox service that successfully manages withdrawal symptoms to ensure patients are as comfortable as possible as they recover.

Ritalin is a stimulant drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. It requires a medical prescription. Ritalin increases the level of dopamine in the brain, creating a sense of motivation. When used correctly, it can help an individual focus on completing a task at hand, avoiding distractions, and staying calm and still when necessary. Ritalin is highly addictive and is frequently misused and sold illegally. College students, in particular, have been known to misuse this drug to stay up late to complete schoolwork or focus better in class. Misusing Ritalin is dangerous and can lead to a variety of different health problems. These could include heart attack, overdose, or sudden death due to high blood pressure. If you are addicted to Ritalin, there is help available. At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we offer a variety of different resources and treatments that can help you throughout the recovery process. Take the first step towards a healthier life today by contacting us at (866) 296-5242.