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Methylphenidate (Ritalin And Concerta) Addiction

Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta) is one of the most common substances of abuse available in the United States. Although it is a prescription medication, you may find yourself abusing methylphenidate to lose weight, increase focus, or experience its pleasurable effects.

However, you need to understand that using this medication without a valid prescription or against your doctor's express instructions could be detrimental to your health and wellness. It could also cause you to start struggling with a substance use disorder that may be difficult to overcome.

Read on to find out more:

About Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta)

Methylphenidate is classified as a psycho-stimulant substance that works on the CNS or the central nervous system. Doctors typically prescribe it for the treatment of narcolepsy, ADD, and ADHD under the Concerta and Ritalin brand names.

Due to its working mechanism, you may be tempted to abuse methylphenidate by taking it without a valid prescription or outside of the guidelines that your doctor provided when they gave you a prescription for it. This is because you may want to lose weight, boost your focus, or experience its intoxicating effects.

Other Names for Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta)

On the streets, methylphenidate is known by a wide variety of names among people who are looking to avoid detection by law enforcement officials and other authorities. These street names include:

  • Bits
  • Diet Coke
  • Kibbles
  • Kiddie Cocaine
  • Kiddie coke
  • Rids
  • Skittles
  • Smarties
  • Vitamin R

Signs and Symptoms of Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta) Addiction

If you abuse this drug, it will cause effects that are similar to what you would experience if you took cocaine. Over time, your ongoing substance abuse and addiction will start being displayed through the following signs and symptoms:

  • Abnormal movements that are similar to Tourette's syndrome
  • Agitation
  • Altered sexual desire
  • Anxiety
  • Asking for methylphenidate from other people
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Behavioral changes
  • Being deceptive about your whereabouts, who you are spending time with, and where your money is going
  • Building up tolerance to methylphenidate
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in mood
  • Chest pain
  • Continuing to take the drug even though it has causing problems in your life
  • Crushing and snorting the drug
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Doctor shopping so that you can get additional pills
  • Euphoria
  • Experiencing urges for the drug
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking the drug or significantly reduce its use
  • Extreme changes in the company you keep
  • Feeling like you should cut down on using this drug but finding that you are not able to do so
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • General nervousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Having extra cash, which could indicate that you are selling drugs or stealing
  • Headache
  • Higher level of sociability
  • Ignoring the negative psychological and physical effects that arise due to methylphenidate abuse
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Low appetite
  • Lying so that you can acquire methylphenidate
  • Methylphenidate cravings
  • Nausea
  • No longer engaging in certain activities related to your hobbies, work, or family due to drug use
  • OCD-like syndrome.
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Poor performance in various areas of life, including school, home, and work
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Social withdrawal
  • Spending a lot of money and time looking for, acquiring, and using the drug
  • Stealing to get your hands on the drug
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Suspiciousness
  • Taking methylphenidate pills that you do not have a prescription for
  • -Taking more of the drug than you originally planned or intended
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Uncharacteristically poor hygiene and self-grooming habits
  • Uncharacteristically taking loans
  • Using methylphenidate even in dangerous situations
  • Using methylphenidate just because you would like to increase your focus or experience its pleasurable effects
  • Vomiting

Short and Long-Term Effects of Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta) Abuse

When you take methylphenidate, it will increase the dopamine activity in your brain. As a result, you are going to experience pleasurable effects. Over time, however, ongoing Ritalin or Concerta abuse could lead to adverse effects. The following are some of the short and long term side effects that come with using this drug:

  • Addiction
  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Blurred vision
  • Cardiac damage
  • Changes in eyesight
  • Circulation problems
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Dangerous weight loss
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping (or insomnia)
  • Diminished appetite
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Excitation
  • Facial flushing
  • Fever
  • Formication (or feeling like there are bugs crawling under your skin)
  • Grandiosity
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased aggression
  • Involuntary movements
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Malnutrition
  • Mania
  • Muscle twitching
  • Nausea
  • Organ damage
  • Painful and long-lasting erections (or priapism)
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Perseveration (or repeating meaningless tasks excessively)
  • Psychological symptoms
  • Psychotic disorder symptoms
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Respiratory problems
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin infection
  • Skin rash
  • Stomach ache
  • Substance dependence
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suspicion
  • Sweating
  • Toxic shock
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Violence
  • Viral infection
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Vomiting

Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta) Overdose

If you take an excessive dose of methylphenidate, there is a high risk that you could suffer a drug overdose. This condition will often be accompanied by some, most, or all of the following symptoms:

  • Aggression
  • Changes to personality
  • Dehydration
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney damage
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Numbing or swelling the feet, ankles, or hands
  • Panic
  • Psychosis
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Spasms
  • Sudden heart attack
  • Sweating
  • Symptoms that resemble those from schizophrenia
  • Tremors
  • Twitching
  • Vomiting

If you experience any of these symptoms and you have abused methylphenidate, it is recommended that you call 911 or your local poisons control center as soon as possible. This is because a methylphenidate overdose is considered to be a medical emergency that should be managed in good time before it leads to adverse or even fatal outcomes.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta) Withdrawal Symptoms

If you have been abusing methylphenidate for some time and have developed tolerance to its effects, there is a high risk that you could suffer some withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug or significantly reduce your usual dose. When this happens, you will display the following symptoms:

  • Aggression
  • Anhedonia (or being unable to feel pleasure)
  • Anxiety
  • Crankiness
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Exceptional hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy sleeping
  • Hypersomnia (or sleeping excessively)
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Strange dreams
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tiredness

While withdrawing from methylphenidate, it might be difficult for you to overcome your abuse of this drug. In fact, these withdrawal symptoms are some of the main reasons why you may not be able to stop taking methylphenidate.

For this reason, it is recommended that you seek addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs that can help you withdraw from your drug abuse in a safe and secure environment.

The Best Options for Methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta) Addiction Treatment

Professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs are useful resources that can help you quit this drug. This is because they will provide you with the focused services and care that you need to maintain your long term sobriety and recovery.

At the moment, there are no medications that have been approved by the FDA - the Food and Drug Administration - for the treatment of stimulant use disorders such as those involving Ritalin and Concerta.

To this end, most drug rehabs will use psychotherapy and other evidence based treatment approaches to help you overcome your methylphenidate use and addiction. Examples of these approaches to treatment include:

  • Behavioral therapies
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Contingency Management
  • Matrix Model

These approaches will be offered on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Inpatient treatment would be ideal if you have a severe stimulant use disorder and other co-occurring addictions or mental health and medical disorders.

You can also opt for outpatient drug rehab if you have a relatively mild or short lasting methylphenidate addiction without any other co-occurring disorders. Outpatient rehab may also prove useful if you have already been through inpatient treatment but still need additional help to fully overcome your addiction.


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