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 / Stimulants / Ritalin Abuse And Addiction

Ritalin Abuse and Addiction

About Ritalin

The chemical methylphenidate is known as Ritalin, and it is used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It works by altering the concentrations of certain natural compounds in the brain.

Stimulants are a type of drug that includes methylphenidate. It can help you improve your attention span, stay focused on a task, and manage behavioral issues. It may also aid in task organization and the development of listening skills. This drug also treats a specific type of sleep disturbance (narcolepsy).

It can be very addictive, especially if someone misuses or takes it differently than prescribed, like injecting or snorting it.

Abuse of Ritalin

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classes it as a Schedule II narcotic, which means it has a high potential for abuse.

Ritalin addiction typically occurs when users take it for reasons other than medical necessity or over the prescribed dosage. Those who abuse Ritalin often take it to:

  • Loss weight

  • Improve alertness or stay awake

  • Get up there


Ritalin is often called a "smart drug," even though using methylphenidate to improve school performance is still a hot-button issue (Frati et al., 2015).

Taken in ways other than what the doctor says, Ritalin users can get a "high" that isn't there when the users take it directly. When users snort Ritalin, for example, the effects can be similar to those of cocaine, which makes people feel happy.

Indeed, Ritalin addicts often have a pattern of abuse that looks much like cocaine addicts. An intravenous drug dose can quickly cause a person to become dependent and addicted.

Did You Know Rolling Hills Recovery Center Offers Treatment for Ritalin Abuse?

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Signs and Symptoms of Ritalin Abuse

When you think you or someone you know might be a Ritalin addict, you need to know the signs of abuse and look for them. The following are some of the indications and symptoms of Ritalin abuse:

  • Reduced hunger and weight loss.

  • In this case, pupils are getting bigger.

  • Dizziness or fainting.

  • Impaired sight.

  • The heart is beating quickly.

  • Stomach pain.

Medically Reviewed:


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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Key Ritalin Statistics

Ritalin addiction is becoming more common because:

  1. ADHD and ADD diagnoses are becoming more common each year.

  2. Therefore, the availability of Ritalin also increases with the number of diagnoses. This means that more people are taking Ritalin.


The following statistics help to show how big the problem is:

A report from the Centers for Disease Control says that in 2011, 11% of children had ADHD in the United States.

The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) found that 1.3 million teens said they used Ritalin or Adderall in the 30 days before the study.

Report: In 2005, 13,379 people went to the emergency room because of side effects from ADHD stimulant use. By 2010, that number had grown to 31,244 people.

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About Ritalin
Abuse of Ritalin
Signs and symptoms of Ritalin abuse
Key Ritalin statistics
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