Drug Rehabilitation

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Although it does not tend to gain publicity in the media, Ritalin is a commonly abused drug that can lead to high risks for addiction. Although there are many individuals that have valid prescriptions for Ritalin for treatment of certain disorders, it is becoming increasingly more prevalent for patients to sell the medication for profit. Ritalin, also known as Kiddie Coke, Smarties, Skittles, Vitamin R, and Rids, is also in the top ten for prescription drugs stolen in the United States. The drug has become more readily available on the streets, within schools, or right within the comforts of home.

In a recent report, over 10 percent of high school students admitted to recreational use of stimulant drugs, including Ritalin. Of the 1.1 million abusers of stimulant drugs, Ritalin was the drug of choice for between 1.6 and 3.4 percent of students in these upper grades. With this alarming pervasiveness, chances are that you may know a teenager or young adult that is quietly dealing with Ritalin abuse and addiction. Read on for increased awareness about the dangers associated with recreational Ritalin use and how to help those addicted turn their life around.

What is Ritalin?

Ritalin, also referred to as methylphenidate, is a central nervous system psychostimulant that impacts the chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. The drug increases the levels and efficiency of the neurotransmitters in the brain as well, by reducing the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine.

For these reasons, it is commonly prescribed to patients with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also used as an effective treatment method for the disorder narcolepsy, which is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to sleep. It can be used to treat depression, obesity, and fight exhaustion, too. Ritalin is often an integral and relatively safe part of the treatment program for individuals with these disorders at correct dosage levels.

Beyond its uses as a valid prescription medication, Ritalin is most often abused by high school and college aged students that are looking to get high or obtain heightened focus on school work. Ritalin comes is a variety of different forms, including tablets, liquids, patches, and capsules. The drug can be ingested orally, inhaled through snorting, or injected directly into the bloodstream. Research has discovered that the chance of developing an addiction to Ritalin is significantly increased when the user inhales or injects the drug, since the effects are intensified and experienced much quicker.

Ritalin is often underestimated for its severity due to the fact that it is a prescription drug provided to patients by medical professionals. However, Ritalin is a form of amphetamine and is a very close cousin to methamphetamine and other stimulant drugs that are well-known for being harmful. In fact, the human body cannot chemically distinguish Ritalin from cocaine or meth.

When properly used under the watchful eye of a physician, Ritalin does what it is intended to do for patients with imbalanced brain chemistry and does not make them high. When an unsupervised individual abuses the drug by taking a large dose in an unsafe manner, the body receives the exact same high that is associated with cocaine or meth.

Causes of Ritalin Addiction

There are a variety of different factors and motives that play a crucial role in the development of Ritalin abuse and addiction. Users can find comfort in the drug to numb away the pain that has resulted from a physical or psychological trauma. Students may begin using Ritalin to stay alert during class, stay awake to study for tests, or improve their cognitive focus to achieve better grades.

Unfortunately, when Ritalin is crushed and snorted or injected, its effects mimic those of cocaine and other amphetamines. Therefore, individuals that experiment with the drug just once or twice can end up becoming addicted. Ritalin can begin to take over the abuser’s entire life and have detrimental effects on once important areas.

Amphetamine drugs, including Ritalin, can be extremely addictive and cause consuming drug seeking behaviors. For teenagers and young adults, the easiest place to obtain illicit drugs is through classmates at school or on the streets. Those that are legal adults might also participate in doctor shopping, which is a strategy that involves faking symptoms to get the prescription from a physician.

In addition, parents of children that have attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder take wrongful advantage of the access to Ritalin. It usually begins with the parent taking one or two pills, enjoying the pleasurable effects, and asking doctors to provide unnecessary refills. Within time, the child may begin to be taken to multiple different doctors, so that the parent can take the extra pills on a regular basis and feed their addiction.

Once a person starts abusing Ritalin, the addictive qualities often cause them to go to great lengths to score their next high and avoid the awful symptoms of withdrawal. If they are craving the drug in their system, the person will ditch work, school, recreational activities, social functions, or family obligations just to get their hands on the drugs.

Ritalin Addiction Warning Signs

When a person is under the influence and abusing Ritalin, there are some tell-tale warning signs that exhibit their misuse of the drug. Several of these signals are key indicators that can be recognized to help evaluate whether the individual has become dependent on Ritalin.

Some of the symptoms associated with Ritalin abuse include:

  • Increased aggression, violent urges to others or self, mood swings, and anger
  • Euphoria followed by dysphoria, depression, panic, anxiety, and irritability
  • Nausea, abdominal discomfort, dizziness, and headaches
  • Cardiac arrhythmia, tachycardia (fast resting heart rate), and angina (chest pain)
  • Pupil dilation, alopecia (hair loss), and diaphoresis (excessive sweating)
  • Paranoid delusions, visual hallucinations, hearing voices, and confusion
  • Increased or decreased libido and stunted growth
  • Loss of family members, friends, employment, money, and interest in activities that were once enjoyable

Ritalin abuse and addiction promotes harmful impacts on the user’s physical, social, and psychological lives. Since users are consistently attempting to reach a high, they inevitably reach a point where the Ritalin wears off and they come down. Therefore, it is quite recognizable to take note of these dramatic mood swings and negative side effects resulting from the drug.

If you witness these kinds of addiction symptoms in a loved one or are experiencing them yourself after drug use, it is essential to seek help. Contact a specialized mental health professional or drug treatment center to let them know of your concerns. Although addiction is never easy to overcome, the difficulty eases if immediate action is taken.

Ritalin Addiction Treatment

Due to the intense stimulant effects and strong addictive qualities of Ritalin, overcoming the addiction involves a complicated and difficult battle. The first step towards successful treatment for the addict is admitting that they have a Ritalin addiction. If the person fails to recognize the problem, it is recommended that loved ones address the symptoms, express support, and encourage admittance.

Once the individual realizes the problem, he or she can take the necessary steps to recover by seeking an inpatient rehabilitation center. They should seek the valuable assistance of a counselor, supportive friends and family members, and the professional staff of an inpatient treatment facility.

When a patient with substance dependence to a drug like Ritalin enters a rehabilitation center, the licensed therapists and specially trained medical professionals will conduct testing. The patient will undergo a medical examination, mental health evaluation, and interviewing about their history. The purpose of this treatment process is to determine whether there are co-occurring mental disorders that influenced the patient’s abuse.

Test results will also provide vital information, including the level and intensity of the addiction, which is necessary for creating a successful treatment plan. The therapists and psychologists on staff will then build a customized individual rehabilitation plan for the patient while admitted to the treatment center.

One of the most crucial components of the treatment program is the detoxification process to eliminate the drug from the patient’s system. When Ritalin is abruptly discontinued, withdrawal symptoms are immediate and at times severe. The severity of the experienced symptoms is usually associated with the length of abuse, dosage amount or strength, frequency of use, and the ingestion method of abuse.

Some of the common withdrawal symptoms of patients with Ritalin addictions include:

  • Extreme fatigue, tiredness, lethargy, and malaise
  • Depression, anxiety, irritability, and anger
  • Hunger and cravings
  • Disturbed sleep patterns or insomnia
  • Irregular heart rhythms and/or chest pain

Depending upon the severity of the addiction and other health conditions, the patient can experience these symptoms for a week or even more. Although these withdrawal symptoms are usually not life-threatening, it can lead the addicted individual to be tempted to start using the drug again to end the intense discomfort.

Within an inpatient drug treatment center, the staff is specially trained to help minimize the symptoms and provide psychological support to the patients throughout the tough withdrawal process. Compared to users that try to go through the withdrawal without supervision, those in inpatient treatment facilities are more likely to avoid the risk of relapse.

Immediately following the physical stabilization of detox, the rehabilitation treatment shifts its focus towards dealing with the psychological issues that have played a role in the addiction. Ritalin addiction is characterized by powerful psychological cravings for the drug. Often times, patients have an even more difficult time overcoming these cravings than the physical withdrawal symptoms.

Through therapy and support groups, patients are educated about how they can avoid future temptations after release. Negative feelings, such as guilt, shame, or anger, will be addressed thoroughly. Patients learn to recognize the reasons they do not need to get high to have a successful life. One of the major benefits of inpatient treatment centers is the ability for patients to provide support to one another through the journey in a caring, safe environment free from temptations.

While it is true that the paths individuals follow to develop an addiction and the methods of abuse may differ, the only way to successfully end a Ritalin addiction is to enroll in a drug rehabilitation program. Within rehab, patients are granted comprehensive access to all the support resources that are required to fight the addiction on all fronts. If you or someone you love is suffering from Ritalin addiction or dependence, please utilize the information included within this article. Find the needed help for winning this battle and work towards achieving a bright, addiction-free future.

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