Ritalin Abuse

Teen Ritalin use suppresses appetite, increases wakefulness, and enhances focus and attention. Therefore, it is abused by teens seeking to lose weight or improve their academic or sports performance. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), research has shown that students who abuse prescription stimulants actually have lower GPAs in high school and college than those who don’t.

What Is Ritalin Abuse?

Ritalin abuse is the misuse of the prescription drug Ritalin, containing the stimulant methylphenidate, which is typically prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as narcolepsy. Like all stimulant drugs, Ritalin works by increasing levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, movement, and attention. These effects create a Ritalin high.

Ritalin side effects also include increased blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature, and reduced sleep and appetite. Ongoing use of the drug due to Ritalin addiction can lead to malnutrition, feelings of hostility and paranoia, and eventually serious cardiovascular complications, including stroke. A NIDA study showed that Ritalin abuse may lead to physical changes in neurons in the reward regions of the brain.

The effects of Ritalin vs. Adderall are similar, since both are stimulant drugs. However, Adderall contains two different drugs: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Nevertheless, abuse of these drugs occurs for similar reasons and has a similar impact on teen mental health and physical health. NIDA reports that 2 percent of high school seniors report taking part in Ritalin abuse, while 7 percent report abusing Adderall.

Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health

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