Ritalin is the brand name for the drug methylphenidate, a stimulant drug that is a Schedule II Substance. This means that how much is produced yearly is federally mandated because it has a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Over three million children in the United States take controlled substances for problems with hyperactivity and focusing. In the past thirty years, the use of Ritalin has skyrocketed.
It has been medically proven that Ritalin works for individuals diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. It has also been proven that attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short-term, but when taken over long periods of time, Ritalin is highly addictive and dangerous. What is important is to be informed about the pros and cons of any medication, especially if we are giving it to our children.
Here are some of the common side effects of Ritalin:
- Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
- Weight loss
- Heart palpitations
- Slowing of growth in children
- Changes in eyesight
- Sexual dysfunction
- Restriction of creative thinking
Because Ritalin is similar to cocaine, it has been and continues to be highly abused. Street names for Ritalin are: rits, rids, west coast, jif, mph, diet coke, kiddie coke, kiddie cocaine, vitamin R, poor man’s cocaine, skippy, skittles, smarties, and the smart drug. The dosage for children varies, and the dosage for adults should not exceed 60 mg. When methylphenidate is abused intranasally or intravenously, the effects are similar to the intranasal and intravenous effects of amphetamines and crack cocaine. Long term effects of Ritalin are drastic, even if taken as prescribed.
Some of the symptoms of long term use and abuse of Ritalin include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney damage
- Swelling of the extremities
Ritalin is a serious drug. For instance, one 17-year-old boy snorted crushed Ritalin pills and stayed awake for days. He went psychotic, killed his parents, and severely injured his siblings with a hatchet. A 14-year-old boy, on Ritalin since he was 7, beat another young boy to death with a baseball bat. Another boy, Matthew, was a teenager who had been on Ritalin for seven years. He died suddenly in March 2000. He had no prior history of heart problems, yet the autopsy revealed clear signs of small vessel damage. Matthew’s heart weighed 402 grams. A full-grown man’s heart weighs about 350 grams. His death certificate reads, “Death caused by long-term use of methylphenidate (Ritalin).”
Any prescribed medication has its positives and negatives and by getting as much information as you can about Ritalin and get second and third opinions from different doctors can help you make an informed decision about the use of this prescription medication.
If you think that you or someone you love may have an addiction to Ritalin, Florida Center for Recovery can help. To get an informational brochure about our treatment center and the programs we offer, please contact us at 800-851-3291. You may also visit our program page, online brochure and see our Facebook reviews at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/floridadrugrehabcenter/reviews/?ref=page_internal
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.