Last Updated on September 17, 2022 by
Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD
Table of Contents:
- How Did Ritalin Addiction Become Widespread?
- Side Effects of Ritalin
- Rarely Mentioned Side Effects of Ritalin
- Want to Know About Ritalin Addiction Treatment Help at Alternative to Meds Center?
- Ritalin Withdrawal Symptoms
- What Methods Are Used in Ritalin Withdrawal at ATMC?
- How Are Ritalin Alternatives Used?
- For More Information on Alternative to Meds Ritalin Addiction Treatment Programs
How Did Ritalin Addiction Become Widespread?
Ritalin addiction and addiction treatment have become serious issues for many. Ritalin© hit the market in the 1940s and 1950s when drugmakers first marketed it as a “pep pill” and later for weight loss for adults. However, it wasn’t until the late 1980s that the committee of the American Psychiatric Association voted ADD and later ADHD into existence as an “official diagnosis.”29 In the 60s, what is now called ADHD was referred to as “behavioral problems” or “hyperkinetic impulse disorder” until the new terms ADD, and the later ADHD were promoted so heavily, that they eventually became household words. Stimulants had been used on children with behavioral problems since the turn of the LAST century and with Ritalin and similar drugs, the practice continues today. The ADHD label targets children in the main, but now also includes adults with ADHD.
Ritalin is also approved for the treatment of narcolepsy, a condition that is not completely understood and results in excessive, irresistible daytime sleepiness and nighttime sleep disturbances. Narcolepsy is hypothesized to be an autoimmune disorder and while research is ongoing, has been significantly linked with certain vaccine adjuvants, exposure to heavy metals, chemical exposures from woodwork, vitamin D deficiency, and exposure to fertilizers and pesticides.22-27
With a breathtaking rise in the number of prescriptions for Ritalin and other stimulant drugs for children and adults in America and around the world, medical researchers such as LeFevre and Arcona have been sounding an alarm for decades.14
Shockingly, in 2016, the CDC reported that about 10% of children in the US were diagnosed and labeled ADHD.2,3
Notably, psychiatric experiments with amphetamines carried out as early as 1937 1 turned “behavior problem children” into guinea pigs. The psychiatrists involved in these experiments drugged children with amphetamines (Dexedrine©, Benzedrine©, etc.) As time went on, more psychiatrists repeated similar experiments using a wave of copycat stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall®, Concerta®, Vyvanse®, SNRIs like Strattera®, and many others.
Astonishingly, the results of the experiments on children were reported as “spectacular.” In truth, most of the children became emotionally subdued and disinterested in their environments. Eureka! The practice was touted as a one-shot treatment for rowdy kids. And, you don’t have to hire any therapists, dieticians, tutors, educators, or improve curricula or teaching methods. History shows that expensive and expansive marketing coupled with aggressive lobbying helped take the toxic drug Ritalin to the top of the charts in sales. This occurred all over the world.
Increasingly, many off-label uses for Ritalin have been reported in the Journal of Human Psychopharmacology Clinical and Experimental, including to treat depression in the elderly, cancer patients, obesity and weight loss, chronic fatigue, psychosis associated with depression, and post-stroke patients, as examples.6
Ritalin has sought to fill the very large gap that research has not yet filled concerning the actual causes for such a wide array of disorders and symptoms. This may, at least in part, explain how Ritalin and similar drugs become so pervasively, and some would say intentionally, popularized.1-4,14
Side Effects of Ritalin
According to drug regulators as well as researchers, the side effects of Ritalin include sudden death, heart attack, stroke, suicide, and many others. And yes, these happen even to children as well as to adults.4,5,19,20
The regulators admit that methylphenidate’s mechanism of action is unknown. However, the FDA suggests it may have something to do with dopamine and norepinephrine manipulation in the CNS, as this would explain, at least in part, the drug’s stimulant effects.21
Ritalin (methylphenidate hydrochloride) is a stimulant drug that produces similar side effects as cocaine, meth, and other amphetamines, and drugs similar to amphetamines. There are now time-release versions of Ritalin that have been brought to market, such as Metadate© in 10mg to 80mg capsules.27
Side effects can intensify over time. Some come on with no warning. Often, the side effects exhibited will lead to a physician prescribing a second drug, or multiple other drugs to suppress the additional side effects, putting the person on a very slippery slope toward the mental and physical chaos that often follows over-prescription. One of the most problematic Ritalin side effects is its potential for addiction and abuse. Though studies on human subjects were not found, experiments published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics on squirrel monkeys demonstrated that the effects of self-administered methylphenidate were no different than self-administered cocaine and other stimulants used in the experiment.15
A partial list of Ritalin side effects:
- Sudden death in adults as well as children 4,5,19,20
- Scarring of the heart, impaired or blocked circulation of blood 5
- Stroke, myocardial infarction 19
- Fast, irregular heartbeat, tachycardia, palpitations 4,5,18-20
- Increased blood pressure 19
- Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts 5
- Newly emerging psychiatric events including psychosis, hallucinations, and mania 5,7,19,20
- Tics (newly emerging) especially after long-term use 5,7,19
- Seizures 5
- Methylphenidate is present in human breast milk, long-term neurodevelopment effects on the infant are reported as unknown 20
- In chewable tablets, there may be adverse reactions to the aspartame used as a flavor enhancer in the tablets. 21
- Increased aggressive behavior, hostility, aggression, irritability 4,5
- Suppression of weight and height 5,9,17
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), hypokalemia (low potassium), hyponatremia (low sodium), 21% elevated leukocytes (white blood cells) 7
- Priapism (sustained painful penile erection) in adults as well as children 5,19,20,21
- Increased risk of cancer in mice studies 5
- Increased risk of birth defects in rat and rabbit studies 5
- Learning deficits in rat studies 20
- Nausea/vomiting 5
- Abdominal pain, upper abdominal pain, stomachache 4,5,16,
- Dependence, addictive cravings for more of the drug 2,5,19,20
- Akathisia 4
- Brain damage, especially if taken long-term 10,11
- Insomnia 4,16
- Anxiety, tension 5
- Nervousness 4
- Fainting 2
- Dizziness 2,16
- Blurred vision, double vision, visual disturbance 5
- Chest pain 5
- Fever 5
- Nasopharyngitis (common cold) 18
- Rashes, hives, itching, allergic reactions 5
- Ulceration of the digits, Raynaud’s syndrome, unexplained wounds on fingers/toes 4,5
- Inability to move the arms, legs, body 5
- Inability to speak 5
- Dry mouth 18
- Decreased appetite 4,5,16
- Headache 16