Ritalin is a mild central nervous system stimulant; it works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain. Ritalin or more commonly known by its generic name, Methylphenidate or MPH, is a psychostimulant drug prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder mainly in children, teens and young adults over 6 years of age. As a stimulant drug, Ritalin belongs to the class of medications called Piperdine and increases the levels of dopamine and Norepinephrine inside the brain.
Ritalin has a structural similarity to Amphetamines and its effects are similar to those of Cocaine, although much less potent then it. Ritalin is commonly prescribed and works by increasing the activity of the central nervous system. Its effects include increased alertness and attention as well as combating fatigue.
Why is Ritalin Prescribed?
Ritalin is most commonly prescribed to treat the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD for short. People with ADHD have problems focusing and paying attention. They may also have problems with controlling their behavior. This problem is most commonly seen in children over 6 years old, but ADHD can occur in adults as well. Ritalin is not the primary drug recommended for adult treatment. Ritalin may also be prescribed for the treatment of Narcolepsy. A person suffering from Narcolepsy may often appear paralyzed when they are sleeping. Also, these patients may suffer from hallucinations when they are just starting to fall asleep. Often times a person with Narcolepsy will fall asleep frequently during the day.
Statistics Relating To Ritalin
Ritalin is a stimulant drug, but it can have opposite effects from what is expected of a stimulant drug. Stimulant drugs usually cause hyperactivity, like the effect of drinking a few cups of coffee. When prescribed for children with ADHD, Ritalin is only given in low doses. These low doses produce a calming effect although it is unknown exactly why. It is known however that Ritalin affects certain chemicals in the brain. For patients prescribed this drug for the treatment of Narcolepsy it helps them to stay alert and awake during the day. This is because it is prescribed to them in much higher doses.
Ritalin should not be prescribed to patients with a history of anxiety or depression and panic disorder. These patients may be taking anti-depressant medications called Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor or MAOI's. Ritalin should not be administered to patients who have taken an MAOI drug in the past 14 days, as an adverse reaction may occur. Ritalin is also not recommended for patients with a history of Tourette's Syndrome, high blood pressure, seizures and Glaucoma. Ritalin is a federally controlled substance because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Selling or giving away Ritalin may harm others, and is against the law.
How Is Ritalin Abused?
Ritalin is a stimulant that is commonly abused. It is ingested in many ways. Some abusers take the Ritalin tablets orally, while others inject high doses of Ritalin mixed with water intravenously. Very often the Ritalin tablets are smoked on tin foil or crushed and snorted like cocaine. This drug can be habit-forming when used for long periods of time or at higher dosages than recommended. Some people abuse Ritalin because of the cocaine like "high" that Ritalin causes. Another reason for its abuse is its effects on weight loss. The drug is also sometimes abused by students who do not have ADHD, who feel that it helps them perform better in an academic setting. Abusing Ritalin can be very risky and may result in dangerously high body temperatures, an irregular heartbeat, and cardiovascular failure. Stimulants such as Ritalin are also known by their "street names" such as uppers and beanies.
Ritalin affects the levels of dopamine and Norepinephrine in the brains neurotransmitters; these neurotransmitters are called Monoamines. Ritalin increases the levels of these chemicals in the brain and body. This causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. It also constricts blood vessels, increases blood sugar levels, and opens up the pathways of the respiratory system.
Abusing Ritalin and taking this drug in high doses can have extremely dangerous consequences. Not only does it cause an irregular heartbeat and fever like body temperatures, there is also a potential for seizure and cardiovascular failure as well. Taking Ritalin repeatedly over a short period of time can lead to hostility and feelings of paranoia. Ritalin is not available without a prescription and is therefore illegal to distribute in the U.S.
Ritalin Abuse Treatment Options
Treatment for Ritalin addiction often combines detoxification and a behavioral therapy center. This form of treatment can be given at a drug rehabilitation facility.
Rehab is often recommended because treatment for Ritalin abusers must be similar to those being treated for cocaine abuse. Ritalin abusers are usually tapered off this drug slowly as to prevent shock to the body from withdrawal symptoms. There are no specific medications approved for the treatment of Ritalin abuse but antidepressants may be prescribed to manage the depression associated with early abstinence from Ritalin.