Ritalin, or methylphenidate, is a medical drug that is used to treat ADHD (Attention deficient Hyperactivity disorder) and chronic sleep disorder. Ritalin is a safe drug when used exactly as prescribed and is used to treat children and adults alike. It stimulates the central nervous system and awakens the brain. However, it has huge potential to be abused. The majority of the abusers are teenagers and college students who use the pill to stay awake. Ritalin is available in the form of small sized pills, approximately about the shape and size of any aspirin tablet, labeled with the word “Ciba” which is the manufacturer name. The pale yellow tablets are of 5mg whereas the 10mg tablets are pale green and white color is chosen for the 20 mg tablet respectively. Abusers usually grind the tablets inti a fine powder and make it available for snorting. It has a water soluble nature which makes it easily inject able.
The drug is not very addictive when taken orally and used exactly in the quantity that is prescribed. However, when the quantity is increased, and the drug is taken like cocaine, smoked or snorted, it has the potential to wreck the user’s life. Like other benzodiazepine drugs, Ritalin causes the user to build up dependency for it, the drug is fast acting and quickly intoxicates the user but the effects last for only one to four hours. Once the high wears off, the user becomes tired and sleepy and to replicate the same effect, need to take the drug in a higher potency.
The Ritalin high produces feelings of pleasure, known as euphoria. The user feels alert and awake and is hyperactive. The focus and awareness of the user sharpen. Like the other drugs, Ritalin has side effects that are temporary. These include high blood pressure, increased heart and breath rate, dizziness, chest pains, and fever. Extreme cases can experience hallucinations, rashes, fainting, and seizures.
Adding up to that an injection of Ritalin horribly effects the body of the user. The sloid materials in the drugs block the small vessels when injected into the blood stream causing serious damage to the eyes and lungs. Not only the physical impairments but several emotional disturbances are also noticed even after a short term use. Studies have supported that Ritalin use may subsequently heighten the danger of cancer bringing genetic abnormalities in individuals.
As drug abuse continues, the user begins to experience chest pains and nausea. The drug is a stimulant and increases body metabolism. The constant fast beating of the heart leads to the high risk of heart disease and strokes. Snorting the drug can lead to damage in the nasal passages and loss of sense of smell. People who inject the drug have a chance of clots forming in their veins and of contracting blood borne viruses like AIDS and hepatitis.
As the tolerance increases, the user has to take larger amounts of drugs into their body to produce the same result. In doing so, they subject themselves to strong chances of overdose. Overdosing on Ritalin produces lethargy, psychosis, agitation, and seizures. In some cases, the user can go into a coma and even die.
One of the major factor largely contributing in the abuse is the highest rate of prescriptions that are written for the Ritalin and other stimulants respectively. The US data has reached the number of 5 million stimulant prescriptions soared in 1991 to roughly 35 million in 2007.
Withdrawal symptoms of Ritalin are psychological, and the sudden shortage of the drug can produce panic, anxiety, fatigue and even suicidal tendencies. To avoid these symptoms, the user must attain help from rehab centers who take the user through a medically supervised detox procedure. After the rehabilitation is complete and the addiction has worn off, the user needs to attend group therapy sessions to avoid relapse and to rebuild their life