Ritalin (Methylphenidate)

Ritalin, a highly addictive prescription drug, acts as a central nervous system stimulant to improve memory, concentration and focus.  An upper similar to cocaine, Ritalin remains one of the most widely prescribed drugs in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy by increasing one’s attention.

Cousin prescription stimulants, Ritalin and Adderal, are both classified as Schedule 2 drugs because they carry high risk for abuse and dependence.

Ritalin increases concentration even when the user has no signs or symptoms of ADHD, thus a recent trend in college campuses involves using Ritalin to improve and enhance academic performance.  While Ritalin use involves 10% of our youth, the appeal to the college age group is an increasing problem.  These students are looking for a competitive edge, and they will do whatever it takes to get ahead.  They do not believe Ritalin addiction is as serious as drugs like Cocaine and Methamphetamine.  Once addicted, they feel without Ritalin everything becomes more difficult.  Many fail to realize that legally, Ritalin is really no different from illicit street drugs.

Recreational Ritalin use involves taking pills orally, or crushing and snorting.  Some Ritalin abusers may dissolve the pill in water so they can inject it.  This causes an immediate euphoric reaction that becomes very psychologically addicting.  A normal dose lasts from 3 to 4 hours, while an extended release tablet works for up to 8 hours.

After entering the blood stream, Ritalin arouses the brain stem and cortex.  Like cocaine, Ritalin releases the feel good hormone, dopamine.  This is the neurotransmitter associated with attention, movement, and pleasure.

All stimulants have an affect on dopamine levels in the brain.  Over time, excessive increase in dopamine disrupts normal brain activity between cells and sends them into overdrive, which leads to physical addiction.

Ritalin Slang Terms:

  • brain steroids
  • kiddie coke
  • rids
  • r ball
  • smart pills
  • vitamin
  • speed


Ritalin produces a stimulant effect, including euphoria, appetite suppression, wakefulness, as well as increased focus and attention.  This effect is beneficial in treating ADHD and narcolepsy.  Because Ritalin is a stimulant, a strong potential for serious repercussions exists.  Side effects can be defined as health risks, or symptoms you do not want when taking a substance.

Ritalin abuse causes the following side effects:

  • Insomnia
  • Anorexia
  • Malnutrition
  • Euphoria
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Jitteriness
  • Rebound – depression when coming off
  • Blood glucose problems
  • Fainting
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Although Ritalin has some medical benefits, it is known to be highly addictive.  Child psychology professionals argue as to whether or not treating children with Ritalin for ADHD leads to drug addiction.

Individuals abusing Ritalin risk psychotic episodes, binge use, sleep disturbances, cardiovascular problems, and psychological addiction.  Adverse effects occur when Ritalin is suddenly stopped.  Some of these serious side effects from quitting “cold turkey” include: anxiety, depression and paranoia.

If you or someone you care about needs help with Ritalin addiction, please call getPhone(); ?>. All calls are confidential.

Get Help Now! Our 24 Hour Helpline has professionals waiting to help. Call (877) 710-5901 for help right now near you!
Featured Treatment Programs: