Ritalin, or methylphenidate, is a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system in order to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD, ADHD) in children. Using this drug for reasons other than following prescribed guidelines by a medical professional can lead to both abuse and addiction, which lead to major health problems if not treated properly.
Ritalin has been assigned a schedule-2 status in the Controlled Substances Act – this means it has a high potential for abuse, and can cause psychological and physical dependence on the user. When Ritalin is abused, it stimulates D1 dopamine receptors in the brain, which causes a euphoric high; this high is addictive, and is one of the main reasons why it’s hard to quit, thus, resulting in relapses.
When abused, it is used intranasally or intravenously. This manner makes the drug similar to coke, caused by a fast release of synaptic dopamine that leads to the euphoric high. In addition, using Ritalin without a prescription is another way to abuse the drug, which is often a sign of addiction. Abuse side effects include: hallucinations, confusion, aggressive behavior, extreme anger, delirium, depression during withdrawal, and panic states.
Signs of Ritalin abuse are: violent or erratic behavior, disturbed sleep patterns, dilation of pupils, nausea, loss of appetite, and increased heart rate.
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