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Ritalin is Methylphenidate, which is a central nervous system stimulant.  It is most often prescribed for psychiatric disorders and for narcolepsy. 

Ritalin has been ritalin_large.jpgclassified by the DEA as a schedule II narcotic – meaning that it has a high risk of addiction, but that it may have some accepted medical uses.  Other schedule II narcotics include cocaine, speed (or methamphetamine), and opiates (including opium, oxycontin, morphine, etc).  

Other brand names for Methylphenidate include Concerta, Metadate CD, Metadate ER, Methylin, Methylin ER, Ritalin LA, Ritalin-SR and Ritaline. 

Street names for this drug include Vitamin R, Kiddy coke, Jif, R-ball, Rids, Rit, Ritz, Smart drug, Kibbles and Bits and Pineapple.

 

Ritalin History

Methylphenidate was first synthesized in the 1940s and was marketed as Ritalin in the 1960s.  Sales of Ritalin rose significantly in the 1990s as more Americans were given the psychiatric diagnosis of ADD and ADHD. 

Much controversy surrounds the use of Ritalin as a medical drug as it has many similar characteristics to other amphetamines (speed).  For many years, several different groups have fought the prescription to and use of Ritalin by children.

Recent medical tests have shown that children using Ritalin may develop heart conditions later in life.  This is because Methylphenidate speeds up the heart along with stimulating the central nervous system.

Additionally, Ritalin has a long history of abuse and has been sold to both children and adults by drug dealers as “watered down speed”.  Recent news has reported Ritalin abuse among athletes-reportedly obtaining fake prescriptions for the drug as various governing organizations have cracked down on amphetamine use.  It has been reported that scientists have abused the drug to work longer hours. 

Additional reports can be found stating that nurses, teachers and pharmacists have stolen Ritalin from their places of business (teachers even going so far as to confiscate the drug from student lockers) – these professionals have then turned around and sold the drugs on the street.   

Lastly, much speculation surrounds Ritalin being a gateway drug.  Because of it’s designation as a Schedule II narcotic, many worry that Ritalin use will lead to illicit drug use.   

Since psychiatrists and medical professionals do not know why Ritalin creates docile children and adults, many groups and individuals have decided to try alternative methods to aiding their loved ones in their recovery from ADD and ADHD.

 

Side Effects of Ritalin

Ritalin can cause serious side effects such as: heart palpitations, allergic reactions, dangerously high blood pressure, anorexia, severe headache, blurred vision, hallucinations, abnormal behavior, violence, confusion or drug dependence.  

Because Ritalin can severely affect the heart, it is not prescribed to children under 6 years old unless a doctor decides the potential benefits outweigh the potential damage.   

Ritalin can also cause less serious side effects.  These include restlessness, tremors, anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, diarrhea, loss of appetite, constipation or impotence.

 

Signs of Overdose 

Overdose symptoms can include: restlessness, tremor, dry mouth and nose, rapid breathing or panting, hallucinations, confusion, aggressiveness, nausea, vomiting, irregular or increased heartbeat, fainting, seizures or death.

 

Withdrawal Symptoms

Because Ritalin use can result in addiction after only a short period of use, withdrawal symptoms are possible when one attempts to cease using.  Withdrawal symptoms can include: severe depression, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, delirium tremens (or “the shakes”), insomnia, lethargy, sweating, rapid pulse, hallucinations, anxiety or seizures. 

Long term use of Ritalin may also cause the following physical symptoms: growth suppression, heart problems, kidney or lung problems, toxic paranoia, stroke or a weakened immune system. 

 If you are having trouble discontinuing use of Ritalin, medically prescribed or otherwise, contact us today.  We can help.

 


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