How to Treat a Ritalin Addiction

Three Parts:Taking the First StepsSeeking TherapyStaying Clean

Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, is a medicine used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It tends to increase dopamine levels and increases the activity of other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and enhances their efficacy. It affects the brain by activating the central nervous system, increasing productivity and reducing exhaustion. It is easily available and is mostly stolen from prescriptions rather than being synthesized. It is commonly abused by school and college students, who believe this drug will enable them to work better and achieve better grades. However, when taken without a prescription it can cause adverse side effects.

Part 1
Taking the First Steps

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    Recognize the reasons behind Ritalin addiction. Most addicts abuse Ritalin because they want perfection and are seeking to improve their performance. Although every addict is slightly different, some common problems include:
    • Perfectionism - seeking for excellence in every aspect of life.
    • Low self-esteem, having little value and respect for one’s own thoughts and self.
    • Lack of self-confidence.
    • Poor social relationships with family and friends.
    • Inability to express themselves, feels like unable to tell what they feel and have in mind about life, education and other areas of life.
    • Inability to handle changeovers like moving from high school to college.
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    Search for the signs of addiction. Familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of ritalin addiction will help you to realize whether you or someone close to you has a problem. Accepting that you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. The main symptoms of ritalin addiction include:
    • Craving the drug when the drug is unavailable or is not taken for some time.
    • Withdrawal symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, aches and pains in the body when the drug is not taken.
    • Mood swings.
    • Aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms as a result of chemical changes in the brain.
    • Most activities revolve around taking the drug, due to cravings and an inability to focus on anything except drugs.
    • Gradually increasing the dose of the drug in order to achieve the same effect. Inability to live without the drug despite attempting to quit on numerous occasions.
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    Consult your doctor. If you have the above mentioned signs, you immediately need to consult your physician who will help you to seek the treatment you need.
    • There are many rehab centers that can help you to effectively overcome your addiction. Similarly many hospitals provide treatment for this kind of addiction.
    • Although checking yourself into a hospital or rehab center may not sound appealing, it's important to accept that most people are not able to kick their drug habit on their own - they need to a firm support system.
    • This is especially important when the withdrawal symptoms kick in. When you're in a hospital or rehab center, you will not have access to the drugs and you will have doctors and fellow patients to turn to for support and guidance. If you try to detox at home, your resolve is likely to break as soon as the intense cravings kick in.
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    Go through the detoxification process. To begin the detoxification process, the amount of ritalin is decreased little by little in order to gradually detoxify the body. This is usually carried out under the supervision and guidance of a physician. It's important that you are mentally prepared for the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that are about to take place. You can get through your detox in the following ways:
    • Tell the physician about your condition so that adequate drugs that can help you manage your withdrawal symptoms can be provided.
    • Use massage. Massage is often useful for body aches during detoxification as it helps in soothing the body and helping it to get over the pain.
    • Try to spend time in a constructive way so that you are left with less time to think about the drug and how much you want.
    • Focus on the long term goal of gaining back a healthy life free of drugs, rather than immediate gratification.

Part 2
Seeking Therapy

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    Sign up for individual therapy. For successful treatment of Ritalin addiction, one-on-one therapy is required by a psychologist.
    • This is aimed at the specific needs of the addicted person, especially if there is an additional problem or problems beside drug addiction. The addict is free to privately approach his therapist on a daily basis.
    • The addict gets counseling and keen attention with no chance of disclosure to others about his addiction. Honesty is the core demand for complete recovery.
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    Try group therapy. In addition to individual therapy, joining larger groups all going through same problems could be of great help to the addict. In group therapy, the patients are encouraged to share their feelings and problems, so they do not feel alone.
    • Group therapy or counseling is done once a week in the initial stages of rehab or psychological treatment. Later, it is held once a month for a year or more as required. In group therapy, the person does not feel condemned as all others have the same issues. The person feels accepted and relapse does not occur.
    • The person shares with other addicts having treatments about how he started taking the drugs, what were the causes that forced him to use drugs. They share their difficulties in dealing with the withdrawal symptoms and cravings. They support each other and give confidence.
    • All addicts are taught better life skills and trouble meeting strategies. They are taught how to cope with stress. Cognitive behavior therapies are learnt and practiced together.
    • A combination of one-on-one and group therapies work best for the treatment of an addict person.
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    Do cognitive behavior therapy. This type of therapy focuses on the distorted and unhealthy thought patterns experienced by addicts. The counselor teaches the person to think rationally.
    • Behavior therapies are aimed at teaching the person how to express himself effectively and accurately. He is encouraged to share his feelings with his family and friends. The addict needs to learn that he does not need to feel high by using a drug like Ritalin in order to enjoy his life.
    • The therapist helps the addict to identify what his drug seeking behaviors are and what should be done to cope with withdrawal symptoms and relapse. Over time, the patient’s negative coping skills are replaced by positive coping skills.
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    Seek family therapy. This type of therapy focuses on helping the person while providing support and empathy from his family and relatives. Family members are taught how to deal effectively with the patient and how to help him come out of addiction.

Part 3
Staying Clean

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    Figure out what caused you to take Ritalin in the first place. It's important to know the causes that forced you to take the drug in the first place. If the reason was the desire to achieve better performance in school, college or work, try to be realistic. Don’t impose achievement levels or goals that are beyond your potentials and capabilities.
    • If your parents are too demanding and exert pressure on you, talk to them and tell them that getting the grades they demand is causing you too much stress and that you are trying your best.
    • Also keep in mind that most successful people in the world are not those who were always the top of their class, instead most of them were average students. Outstanding grades do not promise a superb future - your future is what you make of it.
    • If the reason is some role conflict or family problem, you should try to resolve it, don’t feel scared or embarrassed, talk to your family and tell them how you feel. They should understand. Let them know that their behavior sometimes hurts or upsets you,causing you to turn to the drugs.
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    Find ways to manage your cravings. This initial time is very difficult as the craving for the drug is at its peak. During this time you have to be the most strongest. Follow some simple steps to help you get over your craving
    • Do not think excessively about Ritalin, it can lead you to take the drug again because of the negative thought cycle around the drug.
    • Do not go to places or spend time in the company of those who either use the drug or remind you of drug, as this may enhance your cravings.
    • Do exercise as it releases endorphins (natural pleasure-producing chemicals) in the body.
    • Try to distract yourself through any activity, you have to be your own supervisor.
    • Think about the pros and cons of taking Ritalin. It will help you identify that the benefits of staying clean far outweigh the benefits of taking the drug.
    • Focus on the long-term benefits of staying clean - like being successful in school or work, maintaining good relationships with your friends and family.
    • Take a warm bath and give yourself a massage - it makes the body feel more relaxed and relieves pain.
    • Drink coffee, as it can be effective in reducing cravings.
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    Make sure that you have a supportive group of friends around you. Choose a friend circle that is supportive and encouraging. This is very important while trying to get over a Ritalin addiction. A strong support group can help you out in the following ways:
    • You can talk to them whenever your cravings are at their peak, and ask them for advice and encouragement when you feel like you cannot handle your issues alone.
    • You can ask them to hold you accountable, by letting them know where you are, what you're doing and how you are feeling at all times.
    • You can ask your healthy, supportive group of friends to keep you away from any previous groups of people who encouraged your drug use or supplied you with Ritalin.
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    Plan a life without Ritalin. This is very important, as while you were using most of your activities revolved around taking the addictive drugs. Now that Ritalin is out of the picture, you need to plan out your new, clean life and have something to work towards. Here are some useful tips :
    • Set yourself short-term and long-term goals - whether it's getting into your chosen college or job, running a 5K race or learning a new skill.
    • Make amends with any family members or friends that you may have hurt or ignored while you were using. Apologizing for past behavior is never easy, but you will feel much happier and lighter afterwards.

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Categories: Drug Addictions