Ritalin Abuse

Ritalin AbuseA growing number of young people are snorting Ritalin — a much-lauded drug for hyperactive children — to lose weight, study for exams and in some cases, just to get high, according to some drug experts. Teens and 20-somethings are the key abusers, and some even go to their doctors and fake symptoms in order to get prescriptions for Ritalin that they subsequently misuse themselves, and even sell to their friends, experts said. There has been a six-fold increase in emergency room visits associated to Ritalin abuse over the past decade, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, which tracks drug abuse data for federal health authorities. There were 271 Ritalin-related emergency room visits in 1990 and 1,478 visits in 2001.

What is Ritalin?

Ritalin is the common name for methylphenidate, classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II narcotic—the same classification as cocaine, morphine and amphetamines.1 It is abused by teens for its stimulant effects. Even when Ritalin is used as a prescription drug, it may have severe effects including nervousness, insomnia, anorexia, loss of appetite, pulse changes, heart problems and weight loss. The manufacturer says it is a drug of dependency.

What are the effects of Ritalin abuse?

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant, similar to amphetamines in the nature and duration of its effects. It is believed that it works by activating the brain stem arousal system and cortex. Pharmacologically, it works on the neurotransmitter dopamine, and in that respect resembles the stimulant characteristics of cocaine. Short-term effects can include nervousness and insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headaches, changes in heart rate and blood pressure (usually elevation of both, but occasionally depression), skin rashes and itching, abdominal pain, weight loss, and digestive problems, toxic psychosis, psychotic episodes, drug dependence syndrome, and severe depression upon withdrawal.

High doses of stimulants produce a predictable set of symptoms that include loss of appetite (may cause serious malnutrition), tremors and muscle twitching, fevers, convulsions, and headaches (may be severe), irregular heartbeat and respirations (may be profound and life threatening), anxiety, restlessness, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions, excessive repetition of movements and meaningless tasks, and formicaton (sensation of bugs or worms crawling under the skin).

Children and adults prescribed Ritalin to treat ADHD or narcolepsy do not appear to develop tolerance to its therapeutic effects, but abusers develop tolerance to the effects they seek from the drug. Chronic heavy use can lead to physical dependence, and withdrawal symptoms include exhaustion and severe emotional depression. Ritalin abusers who become psychologically dependent may experience cravings for the drug and feelings of panic if the drug becomes temporarily unavailable.

Amphetamine abuse such as Ritalin abuse is big problem in the country and unfortunately it is affecting the younger population. The best way of course to help someone who you know has a Ritalin abuse problem is to send them to drug rehab. Also look for alternatives to Ritalin to help with ADD. The less people are prescribed the drug the less it can be abused.

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs

Once you know the ways to tell if someone is addicted to drugs it can be fairly easy to spot. Before knowing the signs of addiction it can be almost impossible to notice as well as understand what is going on with someone who has a drug problem. If you think there may even be a slight chance that someone you know is addicted to drugs then read on. In fact, if you think there is a chance you, yourself, might be addicted to drugs, then also, read on. This blog will explain how to know if someone is addicted to drugs.

 

  • They are neglecting their responsibilities at school, work, or home (e.g. flunking classes, skipping work, neglecting their children) because of their drug use.
  • They are using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high, such as driving while on drugs, using dirty needles, or having unprotected sex.
  • Their drug use is getting them into legal trouble, such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, or stealing to support a drug habit. 
  • Their drug use is causing problems in their relationships, such as fights with their partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of old friends.

How to Know if someone is Addicted to Drugs for the drug user

  • You’ve built up a drug tolerance. You need to use more of the drug to experience the same affects you used to attain with smaller amounts.
  • You take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms. If you go too long without drugs, you experience symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking, and anxiety.
  • You’ve lost control over your drug use. You often do drugs or use more than you planned, even though you told yourself you wouldn’t. You may want to stop using, but you feel powerless.
  • Your life revolves around drug use. You spend a lot of time using and thinking about drugs, figuring out how to get them, and recovering from the drug’s effects.
  • You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, and socializing, because of your drug use.
  • You continue to use drugs, despite knowing it’s hurting you. It’s causing major problems in your life—blackouts, infections, mood swings, depression, paranoia—but you use anyway

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs: Physical warning signs of drug addiction

  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs: Behavioral signs of drug addiction

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs: Psychological warning signs of drug addiction

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason

If you think you know someone is addicted to drugs the next step would be to try and help them or if it is you addicted to drugs, help yourself. There are many resources available today for people who are addicted to drugs including interventions, detox programs, inpatient treatment programs, outpatient programs and so much more. Someone who is addicted to drugs is going to need help. If they are unwilling to get help you cannot force them into getting better, remember that. What you can do, is let them know there is a way out if they want it.