Children and teens are commonly prescribed stimulants as a way to address their symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). One of these is known as Ritalin. However, some teens (and adults) have discovered that Ritalin can bring a sort of high that’s worth replicating – again and again. In fact, Ritalin is the kind of prescribed medication that a teen can easily get hooked on. This article will address the dangers of Ritalin, even when medically prescribed by a doctor.
Ritalin is a stimulant, a type of drug which is frequently the first course of treatment for ADHD and ADD. Stimulants increase dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain in order to improve concentration and decrease fatigue. Ritalin can make a teen experience intense focus and sharp thinking, which is great for an adolescent who is having trouble concentrating.
However, because Ritalin is a stimulant, the drug has been described as “kiddie coke”. Although Ritalin does not have as addictive a high as cocaine, it too comes with significant dangers for a teen who uses it. In fact, it is regularly abused by adolescents because of its stimulant effects. Despite the high that teens experience when taking Ritalin, its side effects include insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, loss of appetite, changes in heart rate, weight loss, heart problems, and even anorexia.
Because of these dangers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about Ritalin in 2005. The warning indicated that the drug can cause visual hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and psychotic behavior. Ritalin can also cause aggression and violent behavior. And it’s not only the FDA that recognizes that risks of Ritalin, even its own manufacturer has announced that Ritalin is an addictive drug.
Along these lines, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified the drug as a Schedule II narcotic, giving it the same classification as cocaine, morphine, and amphetamines. The one thing that all of these drugs have in common is that they are powerful stimulants, which dangerously affect the central nervous system.
According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, Ritalin can cause a teen to lose their life if abused. Children on stimulant medication, such as Ritalin have twice the future rate of drug abuse. And one third of all children on stimulant medication, including Ritalin, develop symptoms of obsessive-compulsive behavior within the first year of taking such a drug.
Furthermore, do a quick search for Ritalin on the Internet and you’ll read about its warnings. For instance, Drugs.com published the following about Ritalin:
Methylphenidate [the medical name for Ritalin] may be habit forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Using Ritalin improperly can cause death or serious side effects on the heart.
If you or someone you know is abusing Ritalin or even taking it as prescribed, be sure to be in close communication with an adult you trust as well as a physician. This drug, especially when abused, can be life-threatening.