Methylphenidate Withdrawal Symptoms and Signs and Detoxification

Methylphenidate withdrawal may occur when someone suddenly stops taking any drug containing methylphenidate as the active ingredient. Here's what you need to know.

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Methylphenidate withdrawal may occur when someone suddenly stops taking any drug containing methylphenidate as the active ingredient. These drugs, which include Concerta, Metadate, Methylin, and Ritalin, are typically used to treat ADHD or narcolepsy. However, some people abuse methylphenidate, both as a recreational drug and as a performance-enhancing drug. As a recreational drug, concentrated doses of methylphenidate cause a euphoric high.

The drug also reduces appetite, so some people illicitly use it as a diet aid. Another common illicit use of methylphenidate is to enhance academic performance, since it boosts alertness, memory, and focus even in individuals without ADHD. Some people who abuse methylphenidate develop a psychological need for the drug because they believe that they need it to function normally or to continue performing at the same level.

Users can develop tolerance over time, as it takes larger amounts of the drug to produce the same effect. Because of this tolerance effect, a physical dependence can develop in addition to psychological addiction.

Usage of Methylphenidate and Withdrawal Effects

In most cases of legitimate methylphenidate use, withdrawal symptoms are not a problem when the user stops taking the medication. People who abuse methylphenidate are more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms after quitting. Methylphenidate abuse is defined as any use outside the prescribed dose. This can include someone who has a prescription for the drug but takes it more frequently or in higher doses than he or she is supposed to. It can also include individuals without a prescription for methylphenidate who take the drug to get high, to help suppress appetite, or to increase academic performance.

Illicit use of methylphenidate can cause complications that include paranoia, heart problems, and stroke, so detoxification from the drug is an important health concern for people who abuse this drug.

Symptoms and Signs of Methylphenidate Withdrawal

Methylphenidate withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and mental. Fatigue and disturbed sleep patterns are common signs of methylphenidate withdrawal. Users undergoing detoxification also report cravings for methylphenidate. Some users develop depression after halting methylphenidate use. One reason that the cessation of methylphenidate triggers depression is that the drug stimulates dopamine production in the brain.

Dopamine causes feelings of pleasure and helps prevent depression. Therefore, when a user stops taking methylphenidate, the sudden lack of dopamine can bring on depression. The cessation of the drug can also unmask preexisting depression that has gone untreated. Because of this connection with depression, suddenly stopping methylphenidate use is not advised.

How Long Do Methylphenadate Withdrawals Last?

Withdrawal length depends on the amount of Methylphenidate taken and whether or not it has been abused. Most timelines range in length from a few days to one or two weeks

Withdrawing from Methylphenidate: Options for Help

Methylphenidate withdrawal treatment, also known as detoxification, is usually done under medical supervision. A doctor prescribes increasingly lower doses over time so that withdrawal is gradual instead of sudden. A methylphenidate user may choose an inpatient or outpatient program for treatment. An inpatient program involves staying in the hospital or a rehab center full time during the course of treatment. This option works well for heavy methylphenidate users because detoxification and recovery can be monitored consistently by medical professionals.

A hospital program typically involves more intensive monitoring by a doctor, while an inpatient rehab center has medical staff on call if the patient needs help. At a rehab center, the patient interacts with other recovering drug abusers and addicts in a supportive environment that encourages recovery. An outpatient clinic is an alternative option for people who need to continue attending school or work while participating in treatment. In an outpatient program, the recovering addict visits the clinic on a regular basis, which may be every day or a few times each week, but continues to live at home throughout the course of treatment.

Methylphenidate withdrawal treatment is just the first step of treatment; the patient needs to continue with psychological counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, or other treatment after the detoxification phase is complete.

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Detoxing, Addiction Treatment, Rehab, and Recovery

After the detoxification process has begun and the individual has started to decrease the use of methylphenidate under medical supervision, other forms of treatment are introduced. Individual and group counseling are often a major part of treatment. Family counseling may also be included if the recovering addict’s family is interested in participating. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for drug abuse since it teaches the recovering addict how to recognize situations where temptation might exist and how to avoid succumbing to temptation.

Other potential treatment methods may include participation in a 12-step program and holistic treatment options. Successful recovery is possible with help, and many people overcome methylphenidate abuse and addiction using a program of detoxification followed by long-term treatment.

Are There any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

Because of the withdrawal symptoms that can come with Methylphenidate, it is best not to use a home remedy or alternative medication and seek relief from a drug rehabilitation center instead. To help relieve your symptoms, consider visiting a detoxification center with a detox program or attending a support group.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Methylphenidate?

The length of withdrawals from Methylphenidate can vary depending on how long an addict has been taking them, and how much is in their system. There are many options available to those looking to achieve a safe and successful recovery from Methylphenidate. To review your options, call or visit our locator page before it’s too late to get the help you or your loved one need.

More about “Methylphenidate”

Methylphenidate Information at a Glance
Medication Name, Costs Class of Medicine
  • Generic Name: Methylphenidate
  • Generic Name Variations: N/A
  • Chemical Name: Methylphenidate
  • Brand Name: Ritalin
  • Brand Name Variations: Daytrana
  • Cost/Price: Between $50 and $100
  • Used to Treat Addiction? No
  • Function or Use at Low Dose: Treatment of ADHD
  • Function or Use at High Dose: Treatment of ADHD
  • Chemical Makeup: C14H19N02
  • System: CNS stimulant
  • Duration of Action: 9 to 12 hours
Form, Intake and Dosage Interactions and Complications
  • Drug Forms: Patch
  • Administration Routes: Transdermal
  • Dosage: 10 mg to 30 mg
  • Overdose: Exceeding 50 mg per dose
  • Alcohol Interaction: Additive effects
  • Illicit Drugs: N/A
  • Prescription Medications: May interact negatively with antihypertensive agents, anticoagulants, and anticonvulsants, and tricyclic drugs
  • Contraindications: Anxiety, tension, glaucoma, Tourette’s syndrome
Effects and Adverse Reactions Substance Abuse
  • Short-Term: Decreased appetite, headache, insomnia, irritability, dizziness, abdominal pain
  • Long-Term: Anorexia, tics
  • Risk of Substance Abuse: High
  • Signs of Abuse: Weight loss, increased energy, changes in sleep patterns, irritability
Physiological Problem Signs and Symptoms Dependence and Addiction Issues
  • Withdrawal Syndrome Onset: Up to 10 hours after the last dose
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Irritability, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, aches and pains
  • Tolerance: Users may develop tolerance
  • Cross Dependence: N/A
  • Physical Dependence: High
  • Psychological Dependence: High
Legal Schedules and Ratings
  • Controlled Substances Act Rating: Schedule II