Ritalin: The Facts and Numbers

There’s an endless list of misconceptions about prescription drugs: They’re safe, they’re always beneficial, and you can just stop using them whenever you want. If you’re struggling with addiction, it’s hard to ignore these voices. But at the same time, you know they aren’t true. Statistics show that you can be addicted to Ritalin.

Why Is Ritalin Bad?

Brain synapsesRitalin puts your mental and physical health at risk — and you probably aren’t even getting the benefits you think you are! You may think Ritalin makes you feel good, better or more alert. The Daily Utah Chronicle reveals, “By essentially halting the production of the neurotransmitters that provide the body’s natural reward system, these immensely popular, intensely dangerous drugs have been reported to cause mood swings, aggression, an increase in suicidal thoughts and an exacerbation of existing psychological ailments.”1

So if you’re taking Ritalin to mask bad feelings or other mental health symptoms, you may be making them worse instead. But what if you’re taking Ritalin to get more done? The Chronicle continues, “Non-medical stimulant use has been tied to lower grade point averages compared to the non-user population. This important statistic provides a blatant contradiction to what many non-medical users consider to be the initial appeal of the drug.” Ritalin is harming your health, your mood and your future. While you can’t “just stop” on your own if you’re addicted, you can get the treatment and support that will let you live a healthy, productive and satisfying drug-free life.

Who Needs Help Ending Ritalin Use?

Misconceptions surround Ritalin use. They also surround Ritalin users. But there is no stereotypical addict. Or, if anything, the “average” addict is the opposite of what people expect. For example, Live Science shares, “Upper-middle-class young adults’ lifetime chances of being diagnosed with an addiction to drugs or alcohol were two to three times higher, on average, than the national rates for men and women of the same age.”2 Soccer moms struggle with Ritalin. Grandparents struggle with Ritalin. Good students, “bad” students, high-achievers and those facing challenges–anyone can find themselves in need of extra help and support to end drug use.

What If I Need Ritalin?

ThinkingADHD is a real health issue, and treating it appropriately is important. The Lancet explains, “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder with a prevalence of 1.4 to 3%… Comorbidity with childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric disorders is substantial.”3 ADHD often occurs at the same time as other mental health issues. It may make these issues worse, or these issues may complicate it. The Lancet recommends starting treatment without medication, by using non-drug therapeutic approaches. However, if patients do not respond to these or are have trouble balancing multiple mental health symptoms, medications like Ritalin can have a role in improving health and quality of life.

So not all statistics about Ritalin are bad! When Ritalin is used as prescribed, it may actually be a tool against addiction. ScienceDaily reports on a study that found, “The use of medication to treat attention deficient hyperactivity disorder is linked to significantly lower risk for substance use problems in adolescents and adults with ADHD.”4 Please note that this statistic is true for some people with ADHD.

If you are taking Ritalin without a prescription or other than as prescribed, you are abusing the drug. You aren’t lowering your risk of substance abuse because you are abusing a substance. But if you need help managing your mental health, taking medication as needed and as prescribed can be essential self-care and a tool against substance abuse and other health concerns. However, if you are struggling with addiction but are worried about facing life without Ritalin, know that there are many alternatives for care and treatment.

Find Your Balance

At Michael’s House, we understand the importance of balancing mental health and addiction recovery. We offer in-depth, integrated care for co-occurring addiction and mental health concerns. Please reach out today. No question is too big or small. We can help you find the care that is right for you or your loved one.


Sources

1 Nierenberg, Cari. “Rich Kids and Drugs: Addiction May Hit Wealthy Students Hardest.” Live Science. 1 Jun. 2017.

2 Braden, Paul. “Non-Medical Use of Stimulants Only Hurts Students.” The Daily Utah Chronicle. 12 Feb. 2018.

3 Thapar, Anita and Cooper, Miriam. “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” The Lancet. 16 Sep. 2015.

4ADHD medication tied to lower risk for alcohol, drug abuse in teens and adults.” ScienceDaily. 12 Jul. 2017.

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