Does Ritalin Change the Brain Function?

Ritalin, also known as methylphenidate, is a type of central nervous system stimulant most commonly prescribed to treat children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as for narcolepsy. It works by affecting certain neurotransmitters in the brain called dopamine and norepinephrine.

When taken as prescribed for ADHD, it helps by improving concentration, focus, and even impulse control. Since it works by affecting dopamine, the feel-good chemical, it can also produce feelings of euphoria, increased energy, suppressed appetite, and improved performance. Due to these side effects, this drug is very commonly abused by young adults. 

Does Ritalin Change the Brain for a Normal Person?

What Happens if You Misuse Ritalin?

The potential for abuse among normal people who do not need this drug is so high because the effects produced when someone doesn’t need it are practically the same as when you take cocaine. Ritalin is classified as a Schedule II narcotic, meaning it falls into the same category as cocaine and stimulants like methamphetamine.

Since cocaine is one of the most reinforcing and rewarding drugs. With cocaine-like stimulant effects from Ritalin, it is easy to see why it is so widely abused. According to a chart illustrated by SAMHSA, nearly 31% of the 15.4 million people who used a stimulant in 2015 reported misusing it. 

What Can Ritalin Do to Your Brain?

Ritalin can affect the brain in many different ways. Firstly, when you are supplementing dopamine production with Ritalin, it can prevent your brain from producing on its own as it should. This is how dependence can form. This can happen with those who are “normal” people or those with ADHD. 

While there are many different benefits from Ritalin for those, who do need it, the effect of Ritalin on a person who does not can be more damaging than beneficial, Ritalin affects the prefrontal cortex in the brain is important for cognitive function. Within the prefrontal cortex, there are two cell types known as pyramidal cells and inhibitory cells. The pyramidal cells are significantly decreased with those who do not need Ritalin. 

Those who do have ADHD and need Ritalin have an underactive prefrontal cortex. It provides them with chemicals they are lacking and improves cognition. On the flip side, those who don’t need it will experience the opposite outcome in their brain even though they feel like it is helping them. 

Ritalin Addiction Treatment at Garden State Treatment Center

There is no doubt that Ritalin has extremely addictive properties. When a drug acts on a person’s dopamine, especially a normal person taking a stimulant, they may begin to feel like they cannot function without it. This will quickly lead to the normal person becoming dependent and addicted to the drug. This is because their body now relies on the flood of dopamine to function every day and avoid going through withdrawals. 

The withdrawal symptoms are enough to keep someone using even when they don’t want to. The symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, depression, lack of pleasure, insomnia, vivid dreams, mood swings, and drug cravings.

Start Healing From Ritalin Dependence Today!

Stimulant prescriptions like Ritalin are easily becoming one of the most abused drugs these days. If you are one of the many people who suffer from Ritalin addiction, the first step to living a healthy life is getting yourself into a medical detox. After this, we highly recommend moving forward with a treatment program. If you want to get the help you need, don’t hesitate to give us a call today. We can talk about your options.