Ritalin: A Medication Or Illegal Drug?

What is Ritalin?

Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, is a type of drug which is used as a medication as well as an illegal drug. This central nervous system depressant increases the level of dopamine in a person. Ritalin is a popular brand-name associated with this drug, although this brand-name primarily exists in the United States. Street names of Ritalin include pineapple, vitamin R, kibbles and bits, skippy, and R-ball. In serious cases of abuse and addiction, drug rehab at a drug treatment center is recommended.

When used as a medication, Ritalin is primarily utilized to treat those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Those with this disorder have difficulty focusing, a quality which methylphenidate temporarily gives to the user. Narcolepsy and depression are other conditions treated with this drug. This drug has been known to be more powerful than caffeine but less potent than amphetamines. Addiction to Ritalin, unless purposely abused, is very rare. When addiction does occur however, drug treatment is beneficial. This type of treatment can be found at a drug rehab facility where various programs and therapy are available.

How is Ritalin Used?

Ritalin can be used as a form of medication or it can be used as an illegal drug. When taken in its proper form, methylphenidate can help to treat conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy. In this form, Ritalin is consumed as a pill or tablet.

When Ritalin is abused, it can either be injected, snorted, or simply be used in pill form without a prescription (often in high dosages). In order to be injected, a user dissolves methylphenidate pills in water. When snorting the drug, the pills are crushed. Students have been known to use Ritalin as a way of staying up late to study for an exam. These forms of drug use can lead to addiction, a problem which may eventually require drug treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab center.

Anyone who struggles with drug abuse should consider seeking drug rehab at a drug treatment center. These treatment for drug abuse centers offer a variety of therapy types as well as specialized programs. Most drug treatment facilities offer cognitive behavioral therapy, art therapy, and a fitness program.

Signs/Symptoms of Ritalin

In today’s society, methylphenidate is the most common medication used to treat ADHD. Signs of its use and overuse include:

  • Headaches
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Puzzlement
  • Mood swings
  • Blurriness in the eyes
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Sweating
  • Observant behavior
  • Tourette’s syndrome

Effects of Ritalin

Serious effects of Ritalin abuse include:

  • Heart complications
  • Anemia
  • Leukopenia
  • Depression
  • Toxic psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Alterations in blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Formicaton (feeling of bugs under the skin)
  • Tremors
  • Addiction
  • Psychotic incidents
  • Change in heart rate
  • Weight decrease
  • Paranoia
  • Sleeping complications
  • Death

The effects of Ritalin only last as long as the drug is in the body of the user. Ritalin does not cure ADHD nor does it eliminate narcolepsy. This drug only helps to temporarily relieve distracting symptoms of these conditions. If the drug methyphenidate is prescribed by a doctor and its dosage is slowly increased or decreased over time, a person should not experience any signs of addiction. In cases where abuse or carelessness takes place however, serious side effects may result. In rare cases, death may also occur.

For those who consume high doses of Ritalin, addiction often occurs. In the lives of these users, withdrawal occurs if the drug is unavailable. Withdrawal may result in depression, physical complications, or emotional panic. A person can become addicted to almost any drug if they are not following the advice of a certified health care professional. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are not eliminated from the wide variety of addictive drugs. Serious addiction and withdrawal effects differ according to each person and their drug of choice.

If you or your loved one suffers from an addiction, call a drug treatment center today. Drug treatment offered at these drug rehab facilities is very helpful in preventing long-term consequences of abuse. These inpatient drug treatment centers provide a special opportunity to find a new chance at life through recovery.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.