Ritalin is a popular stimulant that targets the central nervous system to cure mental issues such as narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and attention deficit disorder (ADD). The stimulant reacts with the chemicals present in the brain responsible for impulse control and contribute to hyperactivity.
What are the Uses of Ritalin?
The medication is used for the treatment of mental disorders and sleeping disorders. The basic purpose of the stimulant is to improve the attention of the user and treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. The stimulant assists the user to pay more attention to the work and stay focused on the certain task. Moreover, the medication has proven results in better listening skills and makes the things easy to organize.
Attention deficit disorder is known as Minimal Brain Dysfunction in children and it has several stages and categories such as Minimal Brain Damage, Minor Cerebral Dysfunction, and Hyperkinetic Child Syndrome. Ritalin is an integral part of mental treatment programs including psychological, social, and educational. These syndromes can be mild or severe and characterized as short attention span, impulsiveness, emotional lability, and hyperactivity.
How to Use Ritalin?
Always follow doctor’s prescription because your physician is the only person who can inform you about the right use of the medicine after evaluating your physical condition. Likewise, the physician can recommend you whether to increase or decrease the dosage or what is the best time for taking the medicine. The medicine shows good results when you take it 2-3 times in a day at a fixed time regularly. Take the medicine after meals or after snacks if you have upset stomach or don’t want to eat something heavy in the meal. However, avoid the dosage at night especially if you aren’t planning to work late night because it triggers insomnia. Never break the medicine and don’t try to chew it as it may cause too much drug release at one time.
Never stop the medicine usage suddenly or without informing your doctor. The longer use of the medication and sudden withdrawal can result in depression and suicidal thoughts or any mental issue. Doctors prescribe to minimize the usage slowly if you don’t want to use it anymore. Similarly, the same dosage over a longer period of time can stop giving the same benefits and you have to increase the dosage level to achieve the same attention level. In the case of overuse, the medication can cause addiction. It’s necessary to take the prescribed dosage to prevent addiction risks.
Things to Consider Before Taking the Medicine
Ritalin intake demands some serious precautions to avoid drug interaction in the following cases:
• You have used MAO inhibitor in the last 14 days and it includes methylene blue injection, isocarboxazid, selegiline, phenelzine, and tranylcypromine, etc.
• Those who are allergic to methylphenidate or suffering from glaucoma should avoid Ritalin intake.
• Never take the medicine if you have severe anxiety and depression or you have a family history of tics.
• People suffering from heart diseases and have history of sudden death in the family need to consult from their doctors.
• Abnormal brain wave test, stomach issues, intestines problems, and seizures are some other major barriers in the use of Ritalin.
• Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers need doctor’s consultation.
What are the Benefits of Ritalin?
Methylphenidate is an important part of Ritalin that increases the dopamine in brain and helps to focus more on the work. Here are the major benefits of Ritalin.
Better Cognitive Function:
Ritalin is a stimulant and increases the level of dopamine in the brain that results in the increased capacity of attention and focus. The benefits of higher level of dopamine include organized work, high motivation level, and goal-directed behavior. Moreover, it allows the user to control ADHD and helps them to work with more concentration and by allowing the normal cognitive functioning.
The higher concentration of norepinephrine means the higher level of depression and anxiety. Ritalin increases the availability of dopamine and reduces norepinephrine. The combined efforts of the stimulants result in the decreased level of fatigue and sleepiness. Narcolepsy is a serious disease that keeps the patient sleepy at the times when he needs to focus on a certain thing such as driving ad office work.
Ritalin increases the speed of heart rate and blood pressure. It decreases the appetite level and fastens the metabolic system. Doctors use this technique for the weight loss in the patients who are extremely overweighed. They combine the dosage with a proper diet and workout plan to get the better results. However, the treatment isn’t used for the treatment of heart patients.
What are the Side Effects of Ritalin?
There are many side effects of Ritalin which are necessary to consider to avoid serious health issues. Here we are going to discuss in detail.
1. Children and Adolescents
Sudden death is a major reported issue of Ritalin in the children that gets higher if the child already has cardiac abnormalities. The stimulant should never be used without the doctor’s prescription as it causes dangerous heart rhythm abnormalities, cardiac abnormalities, and cardiomyopathy.
2. Adult Consumers
Methylphenidate causes unwanted effects and one should immediately consult with the doctor if any side effect appears during the dosage intake. The more common symptoms include fast heartbeat while the less common are high fever, chest pain, joint pain, and skin rashes. Swallow is the prescribed method of the dosage intake and its side effects vary from other methods of dosage intakes. Over dosage of the medicine may result in diarrhea, agitation, anxiety, dark-colored urine, difficulty in understanding a person or place, faintness, and dizziness. The other issues happen due to over dosage include muscle pain or stiffness, shallow breathing, sweating, restlessness, and pounding in the ears.
Headache, low appetite, stuffy nose, trouble sleeping, nervousness, and unusually warm skin are the common side effects reported in adult consumers and these side effects often disappear once your body gets used to of the medicine. In the case of persistent issues, you need to consult your doctor so he makes changes in the dosage level or prescribe you any other medicine along Ritalin.
3. Young Boys and Teens
Prolong erection is a serious health issue found in teenagers. The erection continues for four hours. It’s necessary to stop the medicine immediately if the same issue happens over again or it will become permanent and more painful over the time.
4. People Prone to Allergies
There is no strong allergic reaction is reported after the use of the drug. In the rare cases, severe dizziness, trouble breathing, and itching are included in the serious allergic reactions.
5. Other Side Effects
Uncontrolled muscles movement is a serious side effect of Ritalin that can result into sudden shaking and twitching. Heart attack, sudden fainting, stroke, slurred speech, vision changes, and the changed skin color are some other side effects which shouldn’t be ignored any way.
There are minimum chances of occurring more than two side effects at a time. You can reduce the risks of side effects by strictly following the doctor’s advice and take the medicine on-time.
Foods to Avoid While Taking Ritalin
Do you need to avoid some kind of food while taking Ritalin? Yes! There are some foods which aren’t suitable with the chemical composition of Ritalin and pose health risks.
Avoid Soft Drinks:
Carbonated soft drinks decreases the absorption of active ingredients in the body and it’s necessary to avoid soft drinks an hour before and after the medication.
Vitamin C Rich Food:
Vitamin C rich food minimizes the effectiveness of Ritalin. Oranges, lemon, tomatoes, and strawberries contain a good amount of vitamin C. Never use them before and after the medication to get the best results.
Alcohol is harmful for health and the risks get higher when it interacts with Ritalin. National Alliance on Mental Illness strictly forbids the use of alcohol during the Ritalin medication.
There are two types of Ritalin medication, i.e. extended-release version and immediate release version. The former is taken with the medicine while the latter is prescribed to take 30-40 minutes prior to your meal.
What are the Effects of Ritalin Withdrawal?
Ritalin is known as habit-forming medication in some cases. Doctors ask drug withdrawal to prevent the habit-forming situation. The patient faces some health issues such after the drug withdrawal which are mentioned below:
Excessive Tiredness: Ritalin is used to increase concentration and focus. It prevents laziness and tiredness from the mind and keeps the mind wakeful. Once the patient stop taking the drug, the opposite effects are shown and the person feels exhausted.
Ritalin withdrawal results in the decreased level of dopamine. The sudden withdrawal leads to the serious issues like depression and anxiety.
Disrupted Sleep Pattern:
Regulating sleep is one of the major benefit of Ritalin which gets disturbed once the person stops taking the regular dosage. The person feels less sleepy while using the medicine. On stopping the drug, the user feels less sleepy or more depend on the health condition.
Ritalin is a stimulant and some physicians uses it for the weight loss. The patient can face appetite issues or malnutrition problem when withdrawal the drug. The appetite imbalance can even lead to more complications such as reduced appetite, stomach upset, and vomiting.
Stroke and death are the severe side effects of Ritalin withdrawal.
Is there any Difference Between Ritalin and Adderall?
Both Adderall and Ritalin are known as brain stimulants and used for the treatment of mental issues such as ADD and narcolepsy. They are habit-forming and have similar benefits and side effects. However, the difference comes to their formats such as the Adderall comes in two formats while Ritalin has three formats. Instant release, long acting release, and sustain release are the formats of Ritalin and their time periods are 3-4 hours, 4-8 hours, and 8 hours respectively. On the hand, instant release and extended release are the formats of Adderall with time periods 4-6 hours and 12 hours respectively.
How Long Does Ritalin Take to Show Its Affects?
It certainly depends on the type of format and the dosage quantity. Usually, the drug takes 30-40 minutes to begin its action and the affect can last for 12 hours. Don’t overdose the medicine just because you want immediate action of the medicine as it can prone to several health risks.
Can Pregnant Women Use Ritalin?
There is no sound information available for the pregnant women. However, doctors don’t recommend it to pregnant women because it can cause health issues to fetus. Similarly, breast feeding women shouldn’t use it without asking their doctors because a small amount of the stimulant passes through the milk and the baby’s health gets vulnerable to the possible risks.
Does US Food and Drug Administration Approve Ritalin?
Yes, they approved it in 1955 for the treatment of hyperactivity and still its being used there for the treatment of ADHD.
What Should You Need to Do in the Case of Missed Dose?
Take the missed dose as early as possible if it’s been no longer. However, if 6 hours have left then avoid taking extra dose to prevent the deficiency as it counts in over dosage.
Do Other Drugs Affects the Working of Ritalin?
Don’t forget to discuss the possible side effects or drug interaction if you are using any other drug along Ritalin. Stomach acid medicines are very harmful to take when you are already taking Ritalin. It not only affects the working of the medicine, but also magnifies the health risks.
Ritalin is a great medication to treat mental health issues. It helps students to concentrate on their studies and workers to focus on their work. The problem arises when the user ignores the doctor’s prescription and start overdosing. This attitude triggers serious medical issues and the user has to face serious health problems which were discussed in the article. Take care of your life as its precious and take the medicine as per your doctor’s recommendations.