Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a prescription stimulant commonly prescribed to treat symptoms of ADD/ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). There are many potential adverse consequences of snorting Ritalin, including increased side effects and addiction. Individuals who snort Ritalin are not using it to treat ADD/ADHD or another intended medical purpose and may encounter additional side effects.
Snorting Ritalin causes large doses of the drug to bypass the usual digestive process and enter the bloodstream and reach the brain in a shorter time than when the drug is ingested orally. For this reason, using this method of administration significantly increases the risk of overdose.
Snorting extended-release versions of Ritalin is especially problematic because they are designed to be released more slowly than immediate-release versions. Crushing Ritalin ER can destroy the time-release mechanism and deliver a dangerously high dose of the drug all at once.
Ritalin Overdose and Withdrawal
Signs of a Ritalin overdose may include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and irritability
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Irregular heartbeat
- Profuse sweating/flushing
Another risk of snorting Ritalin is a higher potential for unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to reduce use or quit altogether. Every time a person snorts Ritalin, their body becomes more accustomed to the drug, ultimately leading to dependence.
Along with dependence, tolerance is likely to build, and when this occurs, the person will need increasingly larger doses of Ritalin to achieve the sought-after effects. These conditions are expected for those legitimately prescribed Ritalin but can be intensified in those who abuse it.
Full-blown addiction is a disease that also includes engagement in compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of adverse consequences as a result. If an individual discontinues Ritalin use abruptly, he or she may experience exhaustion, depression, or anxiety in addition to intense cravings that could lead to relapse.
Why People Abuse Ritalin
Most people who misuse Ritalin do not do so with a legitimate prescription for an approved disorder. They do for the medication’s ability to increase energy, elevate mood, and induce wakefulness. For these reasons, Ritalin abuse is particularly widespread among shift workers who have to stay awake and alert for extended periods and students cramming for exams.
Like Adderall and other ADD/ADHD medications, Ritalin is also sometimes abused as a party drug in social environments, such as bars, clubs, parties, raves, concerts, etc.
Effects Snorting Ritalin on the Body
When used for approved medical concerns, Ritalin can help patients focus and reduce distractibility. But when abused, it is more likely to cause sleep and mood disruptions. It can also damage the heart and lead to heart rate dysfunction and increases in blood pressure. These symptoms may be hazardous on their own, but they are especially problematic for persons born with heart defects or other congenital heart conditions.
Additional effects of Ritalin abuse may include the following:
- Blurry vision
- Involuntary movement
- Excessive repetition of tasks
Long-term snorting of Ritalin can also cause nasal irritation and infections and permanent damage to nasal tissues, not unlike cocaine addiction.
Effects of Snorting Ritalin on the Brain
The central nervous system (CNS) is heavily affected by Ritalin abuse. High doses of this drug can cause someone to feel dizzy or lightheaded, and these symptoms can lead to headaches and possible memory impairments.
Although research is still being conducted regarding the precise effects of Ritalin on the brain, experts believe that, like other stimulants, the drug influences the levels of certain brain neurochemicals. Excessive amounts of Ritalin can significantly increase dopamine concentrations in the CNS, which has been shown to cause undesirable changes in mood, such as nervousness, anxiety, agitation, irritability, depression, and restlessness.
In rare instances, Ritalin abuse may also result in episodic mood swings, including extreme and sudden aggression and paranoia.
Getting Treatment for Ritalin Abuse and Addiction
Seeking individualized treatment for Ritalin addiction is the first step in overcoming the effects of drug abuse. Many people erroneously believe that it is safe to abuse because Ritalin is a prescription medication, but this assumption could not be further from the truth.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer partial hospitalization and residential programs that feature formal substance abuse treatment, including behavioral therapy, an essential tool for addressing addiction’s psychological aspects. In conjunction with counseling, group support, mindfulness therapy, and other therapeutic services and activities, our programs help individuals eliminate Ritalin use safely and maintain long-lasting sobriety and wellness.