Ritalin High – The Dangers of Taking This Drug Recrationally

Last Updated: December 19, 2019

Authored by Isaak Stotts, LP

It is a medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, it’s shocking to see the number of questions on a Ritalin high. Currently, it has many forums all over the internet. Of course, it is alarming to see people trade tips on how to get the best and quickest high from Ritalin.  Unfortunately, the high quickly leads to the lows of this drug.

How Ritalin Works?

Ritalin changes a number of natural substances in the brain. They classify it as a stimulant. Ritalin helps to increase the ability to pay attention and stay focused. As a result, users can better control behavioral problems.
Ritalin is alarmingly easy to access, as the symptoms of ADHD are quite easy to fake. The Drug Enforcement Administration has a list of most-stolen medications. One can find it in here every year.
Over 16% of college students have taken Ritalin for recreational purposes. In other words, they do it to enjoy the Ritalin high. The USA produces and consumes a whopping 85% of the global supply of Ritalin.

Street Names of Ritalin

Although it’s most commonly called Ritalin, it has several street names.

  • Kiddy coke
  • Kiddy Cocaine
  • Poor man’s cocaine
  • Uppers
  • Vitamin R
  • R-ball
  • Skippy
  • Smarties
  • Kibbles
  • Bits
  • Diet Coke
  • Coke Junior
  • Jif
  • Study buddies

From Ritalin High to Ritalin Addiction

Among the most common dangers of Ritalin, addiction is right at the top.  This is according to some health experts.  They consider that Ritalin (Methylphenidate) has been extensively abused.
As a result, there are extreme psychological dependence and severe social disability. Furthermore, it may also cause a sudden heart attack. After the initial Ritalin high, the person feels lazy and yearns for more. This leads to increased tolerance to the drug and eventually addiction.

When Does Ritalin Addiction Start?

Over time, the body might become dependent on Ritalin in order to function normally. One will build up a tolerance to Ritalin. As a result, users will have to take a larger dose every time to get the same effect. If patients crave the drug and they begin to panic if don’t have access. Therefore, it may be time to take a deeper look into Ritalin habits.
Of course, it might be easier to realize when one knows what to look out for. The signs and symptoms of Ritalin abuse are as follows:

  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Agitation
  • Pupil dilation
  • Dizziness/feeling faint
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Impaired vision
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Stomach pain

Beyond these symptoms, sustained Ritalin use can lead to:

  • Grandiosity
  • Repetitive actions (behavior very much like OCD)
  • Paranoia
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Tendency toward violence

Identifying Ritalin Addiction In A Loved One

In any case, check if a loved one has a prescription for Ritalin. Therefore, because a doctor prescribed it, it should be harmless, right? Wrong. Ritalin abuse is very common and can eventually cost a life of a loved one. If one has have any suspicion that someone a loved one might be abusing Ritalin?
Please look out for the following signs:

  • Profound mood changes
  • Financial hardships (to keep buying Ritalin)
  • Compulsion to seek drugs, such as seeing other doctors
  • Decreased performance at work or school
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Impaired judgment and changes in priorities

One may wonder why people would choose to get a Ritalin high? This can happen when looking at the side effects, let alone the symptoms of addiction. Ritalin increases dopamine in the brain. In fact, this is the same chemical that gives the feeling of euphoria. They often use Ritalin to enhance performance, or simply recreationally. This is when Ritalin goes from ‘’use’’ to ‘’abuse’’. Snorting Ritalin, it has a similar effect to that of cocaine.
Either non-medical or recreational use of Ritalin is considered an abuse. 

Long-Term Side Effects of Ritalin

On the long run, Ritalin abuse may cause:

  • The abuser to become disorientated
  • Apathy towards everyday life, family, relationships, work
  • Hallucination
  • The abuser to be delusional and paranoid
  • Seizures
  • Noticeable weight loss and later even anorexia
  • Mania, obsession, followed by depression – bipolar-like symptoms
  • Thoughts of self-harm and/or suicide
  • Changes in personal and social behavior which can diminish the abuser’s quality of life

Ritalin Overdose Signs

When a patient overdoses on Ritalin, it can be fatal. In addition, if any of the following symptoms appear, seek emergency help immediately if:

  • a heartbeat seems rapid or out of control
  • user experiences shortness of breath and overwhelming chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions – shaking, or fits
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Noticeable dilated pupils, eyes won’t react to light
  • The skin is very flushed and the body temperature rises a lot
  • Extreme dryness of the mouth and/or nose
  • Loss of consciousness

Rehabilitation From a Ritalin Addiction

As with any addiction Ritalin abuse has to be treated. Many rehabilitation centers offer both inpatient facilities and outpatient treatment. If one can’t get into rehab, consider doing some research on sober living facilities. Otherwise, one might want to consider participation in support programs.
First, a Ritalin addiction treatment begins with detoxification. Meanwhile, medical professionals will keep withdrawal symptoms on track. With Ritalin, the detox process can last anything from three days to a week. Some rehabilitation facilities will prescribe sleeping aids or anti-anxiety medication. This is along with vitamins and healthy nutrition.
Next, addicts will begin interacting with counselors during individual and group therapy. Therapy helps an addict get to the heart of their addiction. They will learn to understand their new behavior now that they aren’t using Ritalin any longer.
Aftercare is extremely important. This is where an addict will have to attend many different meetings. They include the 12-step programs along with other recovering addicts. They will have to accept that addiction to Ritalin high will require monitoring in the long run.

Page Sources

  1. W. Alexander Morton, Gwendolyn G. Stockton, Methylphenidate Abuse and Psychiatric Side Effects, 2000 Oct; 2(5): 159–164. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181133/
  2. Daniel Ari Kapner. Recreational Use of Ritalin on College Campuses. INFOFACTS RESOURCES: The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED537616.pdf

Published on: April 18th, 2017

Updated on: December 19th, 2019

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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