Ritalin is a stimulant that can be habit-forming when used for long periods of time or at higher dosages than recommended. Besides the "high" that Ritalin causes, another reason for abuse is its effects on weight loss. Abusing Ritalin can be risky and may ultimately result in dangerously high body temperatures, irregular heartbeat, and cardiovascular failure. Treatment for abuse often combines detoxification and a behavioral therapy.
Medications can be effective when they are used properly, but some can be addictive and dangerous when misused. Fortunately, most Americans take their medications responsibly. Addiction to prescription drugs is rare. However, over 15 million Americans a year report using a prescription drug for non-medical reasons at least once during the year.
Ritalin® (methylphenidate hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. Longer-acting forms of the drug (Ritalin SR® and Ritalin LA®) are also available. As a stimulant, Ritalin can be habit-forming when used in doses higher than the recommended dosage or for extended periods of time. It is also often abused. Stimulants such as Ritalin are also known as uppers and beanies, among other names.
There are many reasons why Ritalin is abused. One reason is the "high" it gives you. Stimulants can increase alertness, attention, and energy, which are accompanied by increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Another reason for abusing Ritalin is because of its weight-loss effects (see Ritalin and Weight Loss). Weight loss is a common side effect of methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Ritalin. The drug is also sometimes abused by students who do not have ADHD, who feel that it helps them perform better in school.