Sounds Like: ri.tuh.lin
Classification: Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulant
Controlled Substance Act Schedule: II
Other names for Ritalin
Ritalin is a brand-name prescription medication that belongs to the drugs class central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Similar to Adderall, it’s a popular treatment option for attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (sleep disorder). Ritalin contains the active ingredient methylphenidate, which works by increasing the blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature of its users to make them more alert.
The pharmacology of Ritalin is closely related to cocaine. Ritalin binds to the same receptors as cocaine, releasing more dopamine in the brain and body to produce similar, short-term effects of happiness and alertness.
Due to its short-term effects, Ritalin has an increased risk for abuse and addiction. The prescription stimulant is known to improve attention and focus in its users, making it the drug of choice for students with school demands. In addition to its use as a study aid, Ritalin is often combined with alcohol, a CNS depressant, to help people feel more alert and less drunk in party settings.
Repeated use of Ritalin can lead to mental and physical dependence, especially for people who take it without a prescription or use more than what’s prescribed. Prolonged use can cause serious side effects like sleeping and heart problems, depression, and mood swings. These are examples of withdrawal symptoms or signs that a person’s body depends on Ritalin to “feel normal.”
Many people might continue using Ritalin to soothe their withdrawal symptoms, despite negative physical and social consequences. Drinking alcohol while taking Ritalin or combining it with other CNS stimulants like Adderall or cocaine can increase the risk of serious complications like strokes, seizures or a fatal heart attack.
If you or someone you know experiences withdrawal symptoms as a result of taking Ritalin, substance use experts recommended tapering your body off the drug under the supervision of trained medical staff at a drug detox center.
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Chemist Leandro Panizzon created methylphenidate, the generic name for Ritalin, in 1944 after his wife Margarita (nicknamed “Rita”). Ritalin is used almost exclusively to treat children diagnosed with ADHD, although it’s also prescribed for ADD and narcolepsy. According to the DEA, some children might experience ADHD symptoms into adulthood. As a result, methylphenidate prescriptions for people 18 years of age and older are a growing market.
Take Ritalin exactly as directed by your doctor or pharmacist.
Ritalin is taken by mouth in pills that are white or yellow in color. Doctors recommend taking five milligrams twice daily for children six years or older diagnosed with ADD. The usual dose for adults diagnosed with narcolepsy is 20-to-30-milligram tablets taken two or three times per day, usually 30-to-45 minutes before meals.
If any of these side effects become severe, immediately call a doctor.
Uncontrolled cravings for Ritalin
Unsuccessful attempts to stop using Ritalin
Physical withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using Ritalin
Prioritizing use of Ritalin over spending time with family or friends
Legal or financial problems
Use of Ritalin despite adverse or negative behaviors
Stealing money or items to pay for Ritalin
Lying to doctors or therapists to get more Ritalin
Inexplicable weight loss
The main people who misuse Ritalin are younger than 25 years old
Prescription Ritalin costs about $0.30 per 20-milligram pill
Nearly 1% of eighth, 10th and 12th grade students reported nonmedical use of Ritalin within the past year