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Getting Treatment for a Methylphenidate Addiction

Methylphenidate addiction treatment is typically carried out when a person has become dependent on or is addicted to methylphenidate. Methylphenidate is a generic version of stimulant medications like Ritalin. These stimulants are commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also called ADHD and are widely prescribed to treat children. Methylphenidate was patented in 1954 by the Ciba pharmaceutical company and first used to treat depression, CFS and narcolepsy. It was not used until the 1960s to treat children with ADHD. Today it is the most commonly prescribed ADHD treatment medication in the world.

When taken under the supervision of your doctor, methylphenidate can be a safe and effective drug. However, even under a physician’s care, methylphenidate addiction can occur because this medication is a highly addictive stimulant drug that works by increasing the dopamine levels in your brain. Dopamine is a chemical produced by your brain that is associated with feelings of pleasure. It also plays a role in the brain’s control of movement and can help improve focus. The increased dopamine levels can also create a feeling of euphoria that causes you to become both physically and psychologically dependent on methylphenidate.

Methylphenidate addiction treatment is not usually necessary when this medication is taken on a short term basis and if it is taken at the dosage and frequency prescribed by your physician. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), dependency can occur whether the medication is taken under a physician’s supervision or when it is taken recreationally. However, methylphenidate addiction is more common among people using this stimulant without a prescription because in these situations your body becomes tolerant to the drug and higher dosages are required to achieve the same high.

Dangers of Methylphenidate Use

In the United States, methylphenidate is classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for abuse. This classification is because of methylphenidate’s high addictive potential. When crushed and snorted, methylphenidate can have the same effects as cocaine in terms of the high it produces. This euphoria is highly addictive. When taken as prescribed, methylphenidate rarely produces this type of high, and thus addiction or dependency may not develop as rapidly.

Methylphenidate addiction treatment is sometimes necessary when patients who have taken this medication to treat ADHD, suddenly develop seizures or hypertension related to another medical issue. In these situations it becomes unsafe to continue using methylphenidate to treat ADHD, because stimulants can complicate or worsen these other medical conditions. A physician would begin reducing the doses when there is not a significant health risk, but usually if seizures or hypertension develops, it is best to stop using methylphenidate immediately. This type of rapid methylphenidate detoxification can result in withdrawal symptoms.

Did You Know?

Insight Journal notes that more than 75 percent of methylphenidate prescriptions are written for children. Boys are about four times as likely to be prescribed methylphenidate as girls.
When methylphenidate is taken in doses and ways not prescribed by a physician, it can increase dopamine rapidly, and this disrupts the communication between the brain’s cells. The resulting feeling of euphoria increases the risk of methylphenidate addiction.

What are some Common Effects of Abuse?

When determining whether a patient requires methylphenidate addiction treatment, physicians look for several key signs. There are several psychological and physical side effects caused by methylphenidate, even when it is taken as prescribed by a physician and taken as instructed. These symptoms may occur even when a dependency or an addiction to methylphenidate has not developed and may include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach aches
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

If you notice that these side effects are occurring, contact a physician to discuss your options.

Developing an Addiction

Methylphenidate addiction treatment is recommended when a dependency on methylphenidate develops. However, it can be difficult for you to evaluate yourself and to know if you are dependent or addicted to methylphenidate. There are several physical reactions which result because of methylphenidate addiction or dependency. These symptoms may include:

  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • High body temperature
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Seizures
  • Feelings or demonstrations of hostility
  • Paranoia
  • Verbal tics
  • Involuntary movements
  • Difficulty urinating

The Detoxification Process

Methylphenidate addiction treatment must begin with detoxification. Methylphenidate detox is the process in which the patient stops using the drug abruptly, and as a result withdrawal symptoms occur. Because methylphenidate is often taken for long periods of time, the likelihood of physical or psychological dependence is high.

Methylphenidate addiction treatment is necessary for those patients who may not yet be addicted to the medication, but who are dependent on their prescribed dosage and have opted to stop taking it. In these situations, detox is carried out under a physician’s care. The prescribed dosage is usually gradually decreased until the patient experiences little or no withdrawal symptoms and is completely off the medication.

However, when a patient is addicted to methylphenidate a rapid detox is often necessary and this abrupt cessation of use usually results in intense withdrawal symptoms.

Methylphenidate Withdrawal symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Vivid dreams, nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia (constant sleeping)
  • Increased appetite
  • Psychomotor retardation
  • Depression or dysphoria
  • Disruptions or changes in heart rhythm

A dysphoric mood or depression is a common symptom when use of methylphenidate is stopped. This mood change typically develops with hours of the last dose of methylphenidate and may also occur after a reduction in the dosage of medication. Because these symptoms can be intense during the first days of methylphenidate detox, it is often recommended that methylphenidate addiction detox be carried out in a medically-supervised environment where qualified professionals can monitor the patient’s symptoms and both their physical and emotional well-being around the clock. In a supervised methylphenidate detox program, trained medical personal may be able to ease some of the more intense withdrawal symptoms in some cases as well.
“Stimulants like methylphenidate have been used as performance enhancing drugs…”
Stimulants like methylphenidate have been used as performance enhancing drugs as well as for recreational purposes. When used in this manner, methylphenidate suppresses appetite to facilitate weight loss and increases wakefulness and focus. The addictive euphoria that is produced by these effects is what creates a psychological dependency on this medication. However, stimulants like methylphenidate can also increase blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate to dangerous levels, and long term repeated use can further lead to acts of hostility and feelings of paranoia. At higher doses, methylphenidate can cause cardiovascular problems such as strokes. These serious side effects are why it is vital to seek methylphenidate addiction treatment.

Detoxification is necessary when trying to recover from methylphenidate addiction. There are a number of quality treatment centers, both publicly funded and private, that can provide a comfortable detoxification program which suits each patient’s individual needs. However, it is recommended that all patients seeking methylphenidate addiction treatment find a detox program that is medically supervised with 24/7 treatment.

Did You Know?

Methylphenidate is derived from amphetamines, a powerful class of stimulant drugs, and is known on the street as rids, pineapple, uppers, jif, vitamin R and R-ball. Whatever its name, methylphenidate is the pharmaceutical equivalent to cocaine, making medically-supervised methylphenidate addiction treatment the most successful option for recovery.

Available Options for Rehabilitation

Once methylphenidate addiction detoxification is complete and the patient’s withdrawal symptoms have abated, the next step in methylphenidate addiction treatment is rehab. Methylphenidate rehab is the part of the methylphenidate addiction treatment process that begins to focus primarily on the patient’s psychological dependency on the medication. Detox typically has taken care of the majority of physical symptoms of the addiction; rehab is intended to strengthen the patient emotionally to ensure long term recovery from methylphenidate addiction.

It is important to remember that methylphenidate addiction can occur even while a patient is under a doctor’s care and supervision and is following instructions and not abusing the drug. Often these patients will also require medical intervention in order to stop using methylphenidate. So it is often vital for long-term recreational users of methylphenidate to make sure that withdrawal and rehab also occur in a medically supervised environment.

Deciding Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

When looking for methylphenidate addiction treatment programs, most patients have several choices depending on their location. However, these programs can often be categorized into two basic types of methylphenidate addiction treatment programs. The first type of facility is a public rehab facility such as a hospital or a public rehab center, which offers both inpatient and outpatient care for a variety of addictions.

Addiction Treatment

Side Note Picture For anyone battling an addiction there is hope for recovery through the help of addiction recovery programs for drugs, alcohol and behavioral addictions. No matter what your addiction may be, alcohol, heroin or gambling, a program exists that’s geared towards offering you relief from the addiction through detox when warranted, and by teaching you the skills necessary for avoiding a relapse back into the addictive behavior.Read More

The type of methylphenidate addiction treatment you’ll require (inpatient or outpatient) will depend on the severity and duration of your addiction. For example, a patient who has used methylphenidate under a doctor’s care and who has followed instructions for its dosage may be able to detox from the medication on an outpatient basis and then follow up with an outpatient rehab program facilitated by his or her physician. On the other hand, a person using methylphenidate recreationally and/or at high doses for a long period of time, may require inpatient methylphenidate detox, followed by an inpatient rehab and recovery program to ensure success. The facility you choose will typically evaluate your unique situation and then determine the best methylphenidate addiction treatment for you.

Another methylphenidate rehab and recovery option is to use a private inpatient facility. Private rehab centers are not usually free facilities, but they do offer the same quality of care as a public medical facility often in a more private, secure setting.

Both public and private methylphenidate addiction treatment programs offer qualified medical supervision and support during the methylphenidate rehab process, but a private facility typically offers additional privacy and seclusion for patients needing a clean break from their current situation or who wish to keep knowledge of their rehab and recovery limited to their immediate family and friends.

No matter which type of methylphenidate addiction rehab facility you choose, it is critical to methylphenidate addiction rehab and recovery that some form of counseling is provided with your treatment program. In most methylphenidate addiction treatment programs it is recommended that the patient utilize both group and one-on-one counseling.

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What is Group Counseling?

Group counseling provides the patient the opportunity to share experiences and concerns with other patients who are in methylphenidate addiction treatment. Group counseling typically occurs at least once a week in the initial stages of methylphenidate rehab and may be scaled back to monthly meetings later in the methylphenidate addiction treatment program.

Meeting with a Psychiatrist One-on-one

One-on-one counseling provides the patient a chance to voice concerns or talk about their methylphenidate addiction privately with a trained counselor or psychiatrist. In an inpatient one-on-one counseling program, patients often have access to a counselor daily if necessary. This may be scaled back as the patient moves through the methylphenidate addiction treatment program and becomes less dependent on the support given by individual counseling.

Both group counseling and one-on-one counseling programs encourage honesty from the patient and provide a support system for the patient. They also share the goal of ensuring long-term recovery from methylphenidate addiction. Group and one-on-one counseling are often combined in methylphenidate addiction treatment to provide the patient with the most support possible during rehab.

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