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Ritalin Addiction Intervention and Treatment in California



Ritalin addiction intervention and drug rehab options in California include treatment for all forms of prescription drug abuse. Someone addicted to or dependent on Ritalin can access drug detox, residential or outpatient drug rehab, and effective aftercare support options. When searching for drug rehab programs in California, there are different options for the family to consider. Initially, there is an addiction assessment with a qualified healthcare professional, drug rehab referral agency, or a certified family interventionist. The purpose of an addiction assessment is to determine the extent and severity of addiction and recommend drug rehabilitation options. Another option for families to consider is accessing drug rehab through private or state health insurance plans. Health insurance does cover some or all the cost of drug rehab, but the extent of coverage and what health insurance pays for depends on the health insurance plan type.


What is Ritalin, and How is it Used?

Ritalin or methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant prescribed to children and adults. Ritalin increases the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain—dopamine is associated with pleasure, movement, and attention. Large doses of Ritalin produce a euphoric effect, and stimulant drugs like Ritalin are abused to enhance performance. Someone would misuse Ritalin to speed up mental processing and physical responses to experience euphoria or suppress appetite. The drug is commonly abused by people with eating disorders, food addiction, or problems with obesity. Teens abuse the drug because they feel it helps with their academic performance. Ritalin is available in a variety of short, intermediate, and long-acting forms. Most forms of Ritalin are taken orally; however, when the drug is misused, it can be crushed and snorted, or chewed.


What are The Signs and Symptoms of Ritalin Addiction?

There is a misconception that Ritalin is not addictive and that low doses of Ritalin do not lead to addiction. However, because prescription stimulants increase activities in the brain with chemicals like dopamine, it is involved in the reinforcement of rewarding behavior. Drug rehab programs in California treat adolescents that have become addicted to prescription stimulants. When children or teens are prescribed Ritalin, there is a good chance they will abuse the drug at some point during their early life. In addition, Ritalin can be a gateway drug for some people who go on to take other drugs. The signs and symptoms of Ritalin addiction include problems at school or work, such as missing class, calling off work, or missing different activities.

Ritalin addiction causes physical health issues, like an unnatural increase in energy and focus. Someone addicted to Ritalin experiences difficulty sleeping, high blood pressure, fast breathing, and increased heart rate. Ritalin causes feelings of elation as a Ritalin addict may appear more energetic or report a deep sense of well-being. Like any other form of stimulant addiction, a person addicted to Ritalin does not have a prescription and is usually buying pills or prescriptions illegally. Noticing the early warning signs of Ritalin addiction does make it easier to intervene and help the person get the drug rehab they need.


What are the Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Ritalin Use?

Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant, and the effects are similar to cocaine and amphetamine. Prescription stimulants cause euphoria, and other short-term effects include increased blood pressure and heart rate, increased breathing, decreased blood flow, and increased blood flow. High doses of Ritalin can cause high body temperature, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and seizures. The repeated use and abuse of Ritalin can cause psychosis, anger, and paranoia. The long-term effects of Ritalin abuse can lead to drug addiction. The long-term use of stimulants prescribed by a doctor can cause a person to develop a tolerance requiring higher and more frequent doses. An individual can also overdose on prescription stimulants like Ritalin.

An overdose occurs when the person uses enough of the drug to produce a life-threatening reaction or death. Overdose symptoms include restlessness, tremors, overactive reflexes, rapid breathing, confusion, aggression, hallucinations, panic states, abnormally increased fever, muscle pains, and weakness. The individual may also have heart problems, including an irregular heartbeat, heart attack, nerve problems, and high or low blood pressure. Stomach issues can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. An overdose can result in convulsions, coma, and fatal poisoning. In California, drug rehab programs have the tools and treatment interventions to help addicts struggling with a Ritalin addiction.  


Ritalin Addiction Treatment and Detox in California

Ritalin addiction treatment and detox in California involve different steps to meet the needs of the person struggling with addiction. No single form of drug rehab is right for every individual, and treatment settings and interventions should meet the needs of the person attending drug rehab. The first step in treating Ritalin addiction is drug detox. Withdrawal symptoms include agitation, insomnia, paranoia, and anxiety, and overall is not that severe compared to other forms of drug addiction. Drug detox is important because it stabilizes the individual before therapy and counseling take place. The next phase of drug rehabilitation for Ritalin addiction involves attending residential or outpatient drug rehab in California.

Typically, long-term residential drug rehab is the better option because more counseling and therapy services are provided. Common behavioral therapy approaches include cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step facilitation, motivational interviewing, and contingency management. Counseling involves family therapies, group and individual counseling to address all aspects of addiction. Some drug rehab centers utilize holistic approaches and faith-based drug rehab. It is also critical for families and addicts to consider aftercare support like 12-step meetings, peer support groups, and sober living homes.  


Family Intervention for Ritalin Addiction in California

Family intervention in California for Ritalin addiction is an excellent option for families with a loved one addicted to prescription stimulants. Family intervention motivates the drug-addicted family member to seek help and accept drug rehab. The best way to organize and plan a family intervention is by hiring a professional interventionist. Family intervention is a carefully planned process with family, friends, and an interventionist confronting the drug-addicted family member about their addiction. Prescription stimulant drug addiction is not an uncommon problem, and it impacts many California residents. Overall, the total number of prescription drugs dispensed in California has decreased from 23 million in 2010 to 19.8 million in 2018. However, amphetamine overdose deaths had increased 212% from 777 in 2012 to 2,427 in 2018.



California Department of Public Health. Injury and Violence Prevention Branch. Overdose Prevention Initiative. https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DCDIC/SACB/Pages/PrescriptionDrugOverdoseProgram.aspx

NIDA. “Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 Jun. 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants