Searidge Drug Rehab

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RITALIN ADDICTION

Searidge Foundation provides an individualized treatment plan for individuals struggling with Ritalin addiction. All our plans are uniquely catered to the patient through informed shared decision-making. Searidge offers the following treatment plans to individuals struggling with Ritalin addiction and misuse:

  • Ritalin detoxification
  • Ritalin intervention
  • Ritalin rehabilitation
  • SMART recovery
  • Ritalin detox

WHAT IS RITALIN?

This photo depicts a man with a glass of water in his hand and a possible Ritalin pill in the other.

Ritalin is a psychostimulant typically prescribed to individuals with adult or child attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It was first synthesized in the middle of the twentieth century with the active ingredient methylphenidate. Shortly after its discovery, Ciba Pharmaceutical Company began marketing it to treat a variety of mental illnesses such as depression, psychosis, narcolepsy, and chronic fatigue. Eventually, Ritalin became a potential candidate for the treatment of ADHD, formerly known as hyperkinetic syndrome. Today, the United Nations reports that 85% of the world’s Ritalin is consumed in the United States alone.

RITALIN ADDICTION

Misuse of Ritalin can occur in both those with a prescription and without. Typically, Ritalin misuse is classified as an individual taking more than their recommended dose of the drug for purposes other than its intended prescription. Further, addiction can occur in conjunction with misuse whether someone is prescribed Ritalin or not. Like other drugs, the classic hallmarks of addiction are withdrawal and tolerance. Through continued use, an individual will require more of the same drug to achieve the same effects. Further, should they stop taking the drug or when the drug leaves their system overtime, they will experience withdrawal. Both phenomena can lead to further drug-seeking behaviour, making it difficult for an individual to stop taking Ritalin. Lastly, insufflation of Ritalin can produce the same euphoric effects of cocaine which makes it desirable for those with addiction who cannot afford cocaine or easily access it.

SHORT-TERM EFFECTS AND RISKS

  • Irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Pupil dilation
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Vision impairment
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Stomach pain
  • Possible overdose

LONG-TERM EFFECTS

  • Paranoia
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Violent behaviour
  • OCD-like behaviour
  • Delusions of grandeur
  • Possible overdose

PHARMACOLOGY OF RITALIN

The exact pharmacological mechanisms of methylphenidate, the active ingredient of Ritalin, are still under investigation. However, animal studies suggest that triggers an efflux of dopamine from dopaminergic neurons. Further, it appears to be dual-action in the sense that not only does it promote the release of dopamine into the synaptic cleft, it prevents its reuptake. Consequently, this results in higher levels of dopamine in the brain for a longer period. In turn, this influences both hyperactivity and behaviour.

Clinical trials with animals reveal that methylphenidate plays a role in the brain’s adrenergic system as well. In addition to interfering with dopamine levels, the drug prevents the reuptake of norepinephrine which is primarily involved in arousal. Therefore, higher levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain is related to increased arousal and therefore hyperactivity. Finally, research suggests that methylphenidate interacts with the serotonergic system of the brain. In turn, this is speculated to reduce hyperactivity.

All these mechanisms working in conjunction produce the desired effects of somebody with a Ritalin addiction. Increased levels of catecholamines (e.g., dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine) in the brain can lead to feelings of euphoria or relaxation. In turn, this provides relief from psychological and/or physical distress.

The pharmacological effects of methylphenidate can be altered depending on the route of administration. For example, individuals may choose to insufflate Ritalin, thereby allowing methylphenidate to cross the blood-brain barrier faster. Recent studies have indicated that this produces the same high as insufflation of cocaine – which is a desirable effect for some people with addiction. This is an important consideration. Oftentimes, Ritalin may be more accessible than cocaine as it would be cheaper and more readily available.