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How to Help Someone With Ritalin Addiction

Help for Ritalin Addicts

Ritalin (generic name: methylphenidate) is a highly addictive prescription stimulant medication used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is a widely prescribed medication, making its abuse a common problem across the U.S.

Addiction to Ritalin often necessitates participation in a specialized substance abuse treatment program. It can be extremely difficult for someone battling a dependency on the drug to cope with the problem independently.

Types of treatment for Ritalin addiction vary and may include some combination of the following:

Is Ritalin Addictive?

Ritalin is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it carries a high potential for abuse and may lead to the psychological and/or physical drug dependence.

Ritalin is believed to influence dopamine levels within the synapses. By increasing levels of synaptic dopamine, it produces intensely gratifying sensations of euphoria. In fact, the drug is both pharmacologically and structurally similar to cocaine—with similarly rewarding stimulant effects.

Ritalin is the most commonly prescribed stimulant medicine and is among the most abused drugs in the United States. Methylphenidate and Ritalin are available in several different forms, including:

  • Tablets.
  • Patches (marketed as Daytrana).
  • Capsules.
  • Liquids (marketed as Methylin and Quillivant).

Several studies have suggested that the addiction potential of Ritalin is much higher when the drug is crushed up and inhaled nasally or injected, as the effects are felt quicker and more intensely.

What Are the Signs of Ritalin Addiction?

Potential signs of Ritalin addiction may include:

  • Pupil dilation.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Abdominal pains.
  • Chest pains.
  • Heart rhythm changes.
  • Changes in libido.
  • Psychological symptoms (such as paranoid delusions, hearing voices, expansive thought, depression, etc.).
  • Ritalin withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not administered.

One of the telltale signs of addiction is using a drug in a manner that is different than prescribed. For instance, individuals abusing Ritalin may:

Understanding whether you or a loved one has an addiction is not simply about recognizing the physical symptoms. Someone struggling with addiction may also exhibit social and behavioral changes.

If your use is affecting both your health and the way you conduct your life, you are likely addicted to Ritalin. Those who regularly take Ritalin should monitor themselves continually for the following common signs of addiction:  

  • Disrupted sleep patterns—Individuals who are addicted to Ritalin will often stay up all night and then have extended periods of crashing.
  • Erratic behavior—Addicted individuals will exhibit periods of hyperactivity, which are characterized by extreme alertness and intense mood swings, ranging from euphoric highs to depressive lows.
  • Irregular eating—Addicted individuals may exhibit rapid changes in weight or appetite.
  • Interpersonal difficulties—Addiction can lead to difficulties at school, work, and in other relationships. You may even be drawn to withdrawing from others.

If you are concerned about your use of Ritalin or have noticed any of the signs listed above in someone you care about, talk to a doctor or addiction specialist.

Ritalin Addiction Treatment Programs

Should you or someone you know struggle with addiction to Ritalin, there are a number of treatment options available.

Detox Programs

One of the first steps in treatment is detoxification of the body from drugs. Withdrawal from stimulants like Ritalin can be very uncomfortable. A period of supervised, medically assisted detox can help manage your symptoms and increase comfort.

Most addiction treatment centers are staffed with professional medical personnel, along with other trained staff, to assist with the detoxification process. The duration of the detoxification period will vary based on the person and the severity of the dependence.

Learn about 3-day, 5-day, and 7-day detox programs.

Ritalin Rehabilitation


The next step in Ritalin addiction treatment is beginning the rehabilitation process. This is the stage of treatment where patients begin to address any psychological dependence on the drug.

Drug rehabilitation treatment includes therapy and group counseling to address the mental component of addiction. Rehabilitation will also address relapse prevention by providing the patient with the tools they need to be successful in life outside of the treatment center without the drug. This may include transfer to a sober living facility, skills training, family counseling, and more.


Find Ritalin Rehab Programs

Recovery from Ritalin addiction often requires treatment. Trying to overcome addiction alone can be frustrating and difficult. There are a number of treatment options that can help you break free from a substance use disorder and finally feel like yourself again. Rehab programs are located throughout the U.S., and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. You can use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Services Locator to search for rehab centers. Many state government websites will also provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need. To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov.’ Once your state website is located, substance use resources shouldn’t be hard to find, and they should provide further phone contacts for your assistance.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted rehab facilities across the country. Reach out to us today at for more information on how we can help you reclaim your life or the life of someone you know from the grip of Ritalin addiction. You can also quickly and easily check your insurance coverage for free by filling out the form below.

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