Ritalin Abuse, Addiction & Treatment
Some illicit drugs are grown in clandestine fields hidden deep in the valleys of countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. When these crops bear fruit, dealers can sell their powders, potions, and pills on the illicit drug market. Often, they can make a lot of money with each batch of drugs they make and sell. But illicit drugs aren’t the only substances people can abuse. In fact, illicit drugs might not even be the most popular targets for people with a drug habit.
This prescription stimulant, made to help people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been linked to addiction episodes in people both in the United States and elsewhere across the globe. Getting better means getting help, and thankfully, there are a number of programs that are made specifically to assist people with their Ritalin addiction challenges.
Why People Abuse Ritalin
While people who use Ritalin for ADHD may feel only calm and focus due to the action of the drug, people who abuse the drug without a history of ADHD may have a completely different reaction to the drug and its power.
To people like this, Ritalin works as a traditional stimulant. Each dose makes people feel energetic, awake, and alive. They may be able to handle tedious tasks with ease, due to the added energy Ritalin can bring. Additionally, Ritalin can impact the pleasure pathway in the brains of people like this, so in addition to feeling energetic, people might feel blissful and euphoric.
The brain remembers these signals of bliss, and in time, the brain begins to call out for repeat performances of pleasure.
There’s a chemical reason for these urges, as altered brain cells may be unable to respond to signals of pleasure found in the environment. In time, only Ritalin will make people feel good. They’ll use it, over and over again.
There are deep risks involved with the abuse of prescription stimulants, according to testimony given to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources, including:
- High blood pressure
- Sleep deprivation
- Irregular heartbeat
Even one dose, if that dose is too large, could cause a massive hit to the heart that could result in death. Ritalin is just that powerful, and it’s continued abuse can push addicted people yet closer to the edge.
When formal treatment programs are complete, people with Ritalin addictions should have a comprehensive toolkit full of valuable insights that could help them to keep an addiction at bay. Relapse prevention coaching should be part of the discharge process.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that relapse prevention techniques for stimulant addiction involve:
- Learning about the relapse process
- Training in identifying warning signs and high-risk situations
- Developing coping skills and stress-management skills
- Addressing pleasant memories of stimulant use
- Reminding users not to test the limits of their sobriety
- Developing a lifestyle that’s protective
- Coaching in addressing slips
This is a long task list, and sometimes, people just don’t have the time to pick up all of these skills in a standard rehab program. They often need help that extends into the weeks and months that follow formal treatment.
Comprehensive addiction treatment programs provide ongoing support in the form of support groups, touchup counseling, and alumni support. These elements help people with addictions to stay involved with the sobriety community, and they might prompt people to continue to work to protect their sobriety, so they won’t slip back into destructive habits.