Ritalin, the brand name for methylphenidate, is typically prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
People who take high doses or abuse Ritalin are at a higher risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking Ritalin.
Abusing Ritalin by snorting or injecting the drug can result in a more intensified ‘high’, but also increases the likelihood a person will experience withdrawal symptoms when not abusing Ritalin.
If a person has a Ritalin dependence and experiences withdrawal symptoms when not using the medication, or if they are using it recreationally, they may need Ritalin detox.
Detox May Lead To Ritalin Withdrawal Symptoms
Because Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant, it increases activity in the brain. Adderall and Concerta are other prescription stimulants, and illicit stimulants include cocaine and amphetamines.
Ritalin also increases levels of the neurotransmitters, dopamine, and norepinephrine. When a person stops taking Ritalin, neurotransmitter levels can plummet, resulting in mental health effects, like depression.
Another common Ritalin withdrawal symptom is the reemergence of the symptoms the Ritalin was originally prescribed to treat, such as ADHD symptoms and narcolepsy symptoms.
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Additional Ritalin withdrawal symptoms include:
- sleep issues
- increased hunger
- mood swings
- focus problems
- heart rate issues
- blood pressure changes
- anhedonia (lack of pleasure in previously enjoyed activities)
- suicidal thoughts
The chemical imbalance caused by Ritalin withdrawal can be so intense that both the physical symptoms and psychological symptoms are overwhelming.
Seeking the help of a detox center to help navigate the stimulant use withdrawal process can help ease the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.
Ritalin Detox Timeline
Stopping Ritalin cold turkey can result in a quick emergence of withdrawal symptoms.
The detox timeline will vary from person to person based on individual factors, like duration of use and amount of abuse.
In general, the Ritalin detox timeline is as follows:
First 24 to 72 hours
Within 72 hours of the last dose of Ritalin, withdrawal symptoms typically begin.
In this early stage, some noticeable side effects can include high anxiety, mood swings, irritability, issues sleeping, and cravings.
Over the first seven days, Ritalin withdrawal symptoms can become more intense. Extreme discomfort during the first week of withdrawal is common.
Symptoms may include depression, extreme tiredness, insomnia, and nausea.
Withdrawal symptoms from Ritalin abuse usually start to decrease over the second week, though cravings and psychological symptoms may last longer than the physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Anxiety, depression, and mood swings may last longer than a month. Attending an addiction treatment facility can assist in managing these lingering side effects of Ritalin withdrawal.
Seeking a medically supervised detoxification program can help ease and manage the symptoms of withdrawal from Ritalin abuse.
Find Help For Ritalin Detox Or Addiction Treatment
There are inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs available for those struggling with stimulant dependency.
Our trained staff is currently available to answer questions about Ritalin use and addiction treatment options.
If you or your loved one are in need of drug abuse treatment services, call us today.
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- Journal of Addictive Disease — Performance Enhancing, Non-Prescription Use of Ritalin
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Commonly Used Drug Charts
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health - Detailed Tables