Treatment professionals are waiting for your call:

(855) 826-4464

Ritalin Addiction, Abuse and Treatment

In the early 1990s, Ritalin production dramatically increased in the U.S., which corresponded to an increase in Ritalin abuse and dependence.

Start the road to recovery

(877) 746-0480

Treatment Center Locator

Paid Advertising

Bayside Marin Treatment Center

San Rafael, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


1st Step Behavioral Health

Pompano Beach, FL

Full Spectrum of Care


Azure Acres Recovery

Sebastopol, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Newport Institute for Young Adults – Northern California

Sunol, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


United Recovery Project

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Spring Hill Recovery

Ashby, MA

Full Spectrum of Care


Northbound Treatment Services

Irvine, CA

Full Spectrum of Care


Dana Point Rehab Campus

Dana Point, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Northlake Recovery

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Annie’s House

Draper, UT

Full Spectrum of Care


SUWS of the Carolinas

Old Fort, NC



Asheville Recovery Center

Asheville, NC

Multiple Levels of Care


North Tampa Behavioral Health

Tampa, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Denver Recovery Center

Denver, CO

Multiple Levels of Care


Recovery Unplugged Lake Worth Detox, Rehab, and Treatment Center

Lake Worth, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Beachside Rehab

Fort Pierce, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Mountainview Recovery

Asheville, NC

Multiple Levels of Care


Boca Recovery Center – New Jersey

Galloway, NJ

Full Spectrum of Care


Keystone Treatment Center

Canton, SD

Multiple Levels of Care


The Recovery Team

Lake Park, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Bedrock Recovery Center

Canton, MA

Multiple Levels of Care


Recovering Champions

Falmouth, MA



Pocono Mountain Recovery Center

Henryville, PA

Multiple Levels of Care


Timberline Knolls Treatment Center for Women

Lemont, IL

Multiple Levels of Care


Indiana Center for Recovery

Bloomington, IN

Full Spectrum of Care


Oceanside Malibu

Malibu, CA

Full Spectrum of Care


The Camp Recovery Center

Scotts Valley, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Moonlight Mountain Recovery – Nampa

Nampa, ID

Multiple Levels of Care


Huntington Creek Recovery Center

Shickshinny, PA

Multiple Levels of Care


The Haven Detox

West Palm Beach, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Recovery Unplugged Austin Treatment Center

Austin, TX

Full Spectrum of Care


Clear Life Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Full Spectrum of Care


Southeast Addiction Center – Nashville

Nashville, TN

Multiple Levels of Care


Steps Recovery Center – St. George

St. George, UT

Full Spectrum of Care


Recovery Unplugged – Austin Detox

Austin, TX



Boca Recovery Center – Florida

Boca Raton, FL

Full Spectrum of Care


Bowling Green Brandywine

Kennett Square, PA

Multiple Levels of Care


Twelve Oaks Recovery Center

Navarre, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Atlantic Recovery Center

Davie, FL

Full Spectrum of Care


The Poseidon Method

Mykonos, Greece

Full Spectrum of Care


Recovery Unplugged Fort Lauderdale

Fourt Lauderdale, FL

Full Spectrum of Care


Bradford Recovery Center

Millerton, PA

Multiple Levels of Care


Bluff Plantation

Augusta, GA



The Detox Center

Boca Raton, FL

Full Spectrum of Care


Moonlight Mountain Recovery

Pocatello, ID

Multiple Levels of Care


The Refuge, A Healing Place

Ocklawaha, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Ambrosia Treatment Center – Westcoast

Beverly Hills, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Wish Recovery

Northridge, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Northeast Addiction Treatment Center

Quincy, MA

Multiple Levels of Care


Newport Institute for Young Adults – Southern California

Santa Ana, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Ambrosia Treatment Center – Northeast

Philadelphia, PA

Multiple Levels of Care


Sierra Tucson

Tucson, AZ

Full Spectrum of Care


Life Center of Galax

Galax, VA

Multiple Levels of Care


Riverwalk Ranch

Mansfield, TX

Multiple Levels of Care


Northbound Treatment Services – San Diego

Irvine, CA

Full Spectrum of Care


Northlake Behavioral Health System

Baton Rouge, LA

Full Spectrum of Care


Recovery Unplugged Austin Rehab Center

Austin, TX

Multiple Levels of Care


Blue Ridge Mountain Recovery Center

Ball Ground, GA

Multiple Levels of Care


Steps Recovery Center

Payson, UT

Full Spectrum of Care


Sober Life San Diego

San Diego, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Cove Forge Behavioral Health Center

Williamsburg, PA

Multiple Levels of Care


White Deer Run

Allenwood, PA

Multiple Levels of Care


Wilmington Treatment Center

Wilmington, NC

Multiple Levels of Care


North Palm Beach Recovery Center

North Palm Beach, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


Ambrosia Treatment Center

West Palm Beach, FL



Silver Lining Recovery

Huntington Beach, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Recovery Unplugged – Harrison House of Northern Virginia

Annandale, VA

Multiple Levels of Care


Asana Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care


New England Recovery & Wellness

Concord, NH

Multiple Levels of Care


Southeast Addiction Center

Atlanta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care


Rebound Behavioral Health Hospital

Lancaster, SC

Multiple Levels of Care


Cornerstone Healing Center

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care


Recovery Unplugged Nashville

Nashville, TN

Full Spectrum of Care


Duffy’s Napa Valley Rehab

Calistoga, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Pinnacle Peak Recovery

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care


Amethyst Recovery

Port St. Lucie, FL

Multiple Levels of Care


America’s Rehab Campuses

Tucson, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care


Pacific Grove Hospital

Riverside, CA

Multiple Levels of Care


Newport Academy – Teen Rehab Center

Bethlehem, CT

Multiple Levels of Care


Mount Regis Center

Salem, VA

Multiple Levels of Care


Delta Med Center

Memphis, TN



Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital

Valdosta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care


Lakeview Behavioral Health Hospital

Norcross, GA

Multiple Levels of Care


Harbor Oaks Hospital

New Balitmore, MI



Starlite Recovery Center

Center Point, TX

Multiple Levels of Care


CNV Detox

Los Angeles, CA



Understanding Ritalin

Ritalin, despite being prescribed to children for long-term, is highly addictive and should be taken with great caution.

Ritalin is a methylphenidate, which is a central nervous system stimulant. Methylphenidates have similar effects and pharmacological uses similar to amphetamines and cocaine.

Ritalin comes in tablets and capsules and is mostly prescribed to children and adults for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy. It comes in both sustained-release and extended-release compounds. When used according to a prescription by properly diagnosed individuals, Ritalin has a calming effect and helps them focus on tasks. There is widespread agreement that Ritalin, when taken as prescribed and intended, is a comparatively safe drug.

Although it has demonstrated significant efficacy in treating ADHD, Ritalin also comes with high abuse potential. In the surge of Ritalin prescriptions throughout the 1990s there was a consequent rise in abuse. Ritalin is especially dangerous as a recreational drug both because recreational users typically take much larger doses than what would be prescribed and because recreational users typically crush the pills and either snort or inject them, delivering the medication to the body much faster than it was intended. If you or a family member are struggling with a Ritalin addiction, learn how to get help.

Scroll to Find Your Insurance

Ritalin Abuse and Effects

Like amphetamines, which are also known as “speed” or “uppers,” Ritalin increases alertness and concentration. It is often abused by professionals, students and athletes to increase productivity. It is listed as a Schedule II federally controlled substance because of its high potential for abuse.

Consumption of methylphenidates like Ritalin is markedly higher in the United States than in other countries. This is likely due to how accessible it is. Many students who are prescribed Ritalin have given or sold their medication to other students to help them study. Students may also take Ritalin simply to feel high.

The effects of Ritalin usually last for between 3-4 hours. The half-life of Ritalin (how long it takes for half of the drug to work its way through the body) is highly variable depending of numerous factors. For children, it is approximately 2.5 hours. For adults, it is approximately 3.5 hours. Depending on how long the user has taken Ritalin, among other factors, the half-life can reach 7.7 hours.

Those who abuse Ritalin typically do so because they are trying to exacerbate the side effects of the drug, including a euphoria that is not generally found at therapeutic doses. Individuals with a proper ADHD diagnosis do not typically experience significantly increased energy level when taking Ritalin, but non-ADHD individuals often do because the drug effects them differently. People abusing Ritalin through inappropriate doses, without a prescription, or by snorting or injecting the drug, run the risk of negative side effects, including:

  • Suppressed appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Overdose
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Fatigue
  • Altered heart rate
  • Respiratory depression
  • Nervousness
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Panic Attacks

Side-effects can vary depending on whether the individual has a diagnosis of ADHD or not. Just like all medications, when someone takes a medication they are not prescribed, the negative side-effects can be different and/or greater.

Those with mood disorders, like bipolar disorder, who abuse Ritalin may experience even worse symptoms and behavior. This is because Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant that can trigger manic episodes in some individuals. Therefore, it is important to talk with a physician before beginning to take any stimulant medications, such as Ritalin.

Signs of a Ritalin Addiction

Just like other stimulants, Ritalin increases the levels of dopamine reaching neuron receptors in the brain. Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain essential for activation of the brain reward system. The brain reward system reinforces behavior that activates dopamine production. Some people with ADHD have too many dopamine transporters, which results in low levels of dopamine in the brain. Ritalin blocks these transporters, keeping dopamine levels at a healthy level, increasing attention, focus and impulse control. However, Ritalin influences a much higher amount of dopamine to reach receptors in the brain for those who don’t have ADHD. After repeated abuse, taking Ritalin basically becomes a learned behavior, spurring on the compulsion to take Ritalin regardless of consequences.

A telltale sign of a problem is continuing to use Ritalin despite wanting to quit. If someone recognizes that there are severe negative consequences from using Ritalin — such as straining relationships and spending unmanageable amounts of money on the drug — but still can’t quit on their own, an addiction is likely present. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders outlines criteria of addiction. Learn how professionals diagnose Ritalin addiction today.

Other signs of a Ritalin addiction include:

  • Taking Ritalin in larger amounts or for longer than prescribed
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of Ritalin
  • Experiencing cravings and urges to use Ritalin
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work or school
  • Continuing to use Ritalin, even when it causes problems in relationships
  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of Ritalin use
  • Using Ritalin again and again, even when it puts you in danger
  • Continuing to use Ritalin, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem
  • Needing more Ritalin to get the effect you want (tolerance)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms due to sudden cessation or rapid reduction of dose
  • Experiencing sudden changes in mood, such as mood-swings
  • Isolating oneself from family or friends

Ready to get help?

Don’t waste another second. Enter your number to receive a call
from a compassionate treatment expert.

Make a Call (855) 826-4464

- OR -

Request a Call
(877) 746-0480

Treatment for a Ritalin Addiction

The course for treatment may be different depending on when the person started using Ritalin. Those prescribed it at a young age often have a harder time overcoming a physical and mental dependence on it, because most of their young life has been spent on it. Treatment programs for Ritalin addiction should target the underlying behaviors and thought processes that cause Ritalin use — whether it’s merely a habit, a recreational activity, or rooted in a desire to excel in athletics or academia.

Treatment programs for Ritalin addiction often incorporate behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, in order for the individual to learn how to manage symptoms of ADHD without medication. There is also an alternative, non-addicting ADHD medication, called Strattera, which is often prescribed to individuals who suffer from ADHD and addiction. This can be a healthy alternative to using Ritalin or other stimulants. The combination of psychotherapy with non-abusable medications can be very beneficial in assisting the individual with learning healthy coping skills and managing ADHD symptoms.

Don't Let Covid-19 Stop You from Getting Help

Rehabs are still open!

Benefits of Ritalin Addiction Treatment

There are many benefits of treatment for a Ritalin addiction, including:

  • Encouragement and support from others who are facing the same types of challenges
  • Ability to safely talk about and process your experiences with a therapist while exploring the root causes of your addiction
  • Ability to participate in family therapy and work on improving your relationships
  • Education on the disease of education
  • Knowledge of healthy coping skills, including relapse prevention strategies, and the ability to practice implementing them in a safe environment
  • The ability to take the time you need to truly invest in yourself and improve your physical and mental health

Ritalin Abuse Statistics



Over 16 percent of college students have taken methylphenidates, such as Ritalin, for recreational purposes.



The United States produces and consumes approximately 85 percent of the world’s supply of Ritalin.



Approximately 5.9 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD, for which the leading treatment is a Ritalin prescription.

Getting over any addiction isn’t easy, and an addiction to Ritalin is no exception. Repeated use of the drug will lead to a physical dependence on it, spurring withdrawal symptoms when stopping. Withdrawal symptoms, such as depression and fatigue, can be serious and necessitate a reputable detox program.

However, battling the physical side of an addiction to Ritalin is only part of recovery. To continue a successful recovery you will need the support of others. Support groups and behavioral therapy have helped countless people beat their addictions. Contact a treatment provider to get help taking control of your life.

Treatment professionals are waiting for your call

(855) 826-4464