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Ritalin (methylphenidate) is classified as a psycho stimulant, and is prescribed liberally by physicians to patients who are diagnosed with a condition that is referred to as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); additionally, this prescription medication is sometimes used in treating a condition that is called orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Many doctors have also been reported to prescribe Ritalin for patients who are diagnosed with Narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder that is characterized by chronic drowsiness; additionally, methylphenidate may be prescribed by doctors to counteract the mental and physical fatigue that is so commonly associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Side Effects of Ritalin (methylphenidate)

Ritalin use creates a number of side effects that should cause concern with any individuals who use the prescription stimulant. The most common side effects that are reported with the use of Ritalin, may include, but are not necessarily limited to: dizziness, headache, overstimulation, restlessness, and dry mouth, and erectile dysfunction, loss of appetite, insomnia, diarrhea, and constipation. The use of Ritalin has also commonly been reported to cause a significant spike in the user's blood pressure; this side effect is temporary in most instances and is not commonly reported to lead to any irreversible health problems. Several of the less common but potentially serious side effects of Ritalin use may include, but are not necessarily limited to: heart arrhythmias, chest pain, extreme anxiety and agitation, aggressiveness, uncontrolled motor tics and tremors, mood swings, paranoia, and difficulty urinating. When Ritalin is taken with antacid medications, it significantly increases the amount of the medication in the blood stream; unfortunately, this side effect of Ritalin greatly increases the risk of a potentially fatal overdose.

Ritalin has also been reported to have the potential to cause severe heart problems, according to research that is related to drugs that are prescribed for the treatment of ADHD; this cutting edge research has determined that stimulant drugs may be responsible for the thousands of people in the United States that are seen in emergency rooms each year with a series of heart related problems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires the manufactures of prescription stimulants to warn users of the cardiovascular problems that could be associated with the use of these types of medications; the specific cardiovascular problems that have been highlighted in the FDA's "black box" warnings include the risk of heart defects, heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and sudden death in people with a prior history of heart related problems.

Ritalin Abuse and Addiction

There is a very high potential for substance abuse related issues with Ritalin and various other different types of prescription stimulants that are being liberally prescribed throughout the U.S. The potential for the abuse of Ritalin is increased when this prescription stimulant has been injected; when the medication is ingested via injection, the effects have been reported to be almost identical to cocaine.

Ritalin abuse is so prevalent that it has been listed as a drug that is among one of the top ten prescription medications that is stolen. Ritalin that has been diverted to be sold on the street has a number of slang names that include Vitamin R, R Ball, and Kiddie Coke, just to name a select few. Some individuals that are prescribed Ritalin by a physician for legitimate reasons will sell this medication to people who wish to use the stimulant recreationally. Individuals who use Ritalin in this manner may crush the pills, so that they can snort the powdered form of the drug; additionally, some illicit users will dissolve the stimulant in water, to inject Ritalin, so that they will immediately feel the effects from the drug.

The reason that Ritalin is reported to be so highly addictive is because the powerful stimulant affects the area of the brain that produces dopamine (feel good chemicals); all drugs that offer such a feeling of euphoria will have a high risk of abuse potential. There has been an extensive amount of research that has indicated that when Ritalin is injected, the effects of the drug are virtually identical to the effects from injecting cocaine.

Ritalin addiction is pervasive with individuals who have taken the stimulant regularly for a significant period of time and developed a tolerance to the medication; once a person develops a tolerance to the drug, they will have to take more and more of the stimulant to be able to achieve the same initial effects. It is at this point, that the person will be at a great risk for developing a Ritalin addiction problem that requires professional drug treatment.

Ritalin Withdrawal

When a person who is addicted to Ritalin is attempting to withdraw from the drug, they will begin to experience a variety of psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms. Many of these symptoms have been reported to be severe, and can include, but are not limited to: extreme irritability, depression, and psychosis. Withdrawal from this stimulant may be extremely stressful and uncomfortable; thus, causing the individual to reach for more of the stimulant medication, so that they can relieve these symptoms. It is for this reason, that an individual who is going through the Ritalin withdrawal process should have professional supervision; additionally, upon completing this detoxification process, the individual should attend a quality drug rehab center that offers complete and comprehensive drug recovery care.

Ritalin Overdose

An overdose of Ritalin could potentially be fatal; symptoms may include, but are not limited to: high or low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, nausea, panic, rapid breathing, restlessness, vomiting, fatigue, hallucinations, abdominal cramps, aggressiveness, depression, convulsions, tremors or coma. Emergency treatment should be immediately summoned at the first hint of a Ritalin overdose problem; having a sense of urgency in this type of a setting is vital, and could be a life-saving measure.

Ritalin Drug Treatment

Treating a Ritalin addiction problem can be as simple as reaching out to a quality drug rehab facility; this one step could be the first one towards freedom from this powerful stimulant. Locating a drug treatment center that has a history of a high rate of success in dealing with this particular type of a substance abuse problem, could help a person to finally be free from the vice grip of Ritalin, once and for all.