Ritalin Withdrawal Symptoms & Detox Options

Prescribed ritalin use or abuse may lead to withdrawal symptoms upon quitting usage. Here's what you need to know about withdrawal and getting help.

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Ritalin withdrawal doesn’t typically affect people who are taking therapeutic doses of the drug as prescribed by a doctor. Ritalin, or its generic form, methylphenidate, is commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, although it can also be used for the treatment of narcolepsy.

However, some people take Ritalin in doses higher than the prescribed dose or take it without a prescription as a stimulant drug that increases attention and alertness. In some cases, Ritalin abusers snort the drug in order to get a quicker, more intense high. People who use Ritalin illicitly are at risk of developing withdrawal symptoms once they quit.

Symptoms and Signs of Ritalin Withdrawal

One potential symptom of withdrawal from Ritalin is the onset of depression. This occurs because Ritalin affects the brain’s production of the compound dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for regulating pleasurable sensations, and high doses of Ritalin cause an increase in dopamine production. When the brain is suddenly deprived of those high doses of Ritalin, depression often follows.

Other Ritalin withdrawal symptoms include disrupted sleep patterns and fatigue. Individuals with ADHD may experience a rapid return of ADHD symptoms when they suddenly stop taking Ritalin. The amount of time a person has been taking or abusing Ritalin and the specific dose is taken have a huge impact on how severe the symptoms of withdrawal are and how long they last.

Withdrawing from Ritalin: Options for Help

Ritalin withdrawal treatment, also known as detoxification from Ritalin, is the initial step in quitting illicit use of Ritalin. Because the symptoms of withdrawal are not typically deadly, there is no need for constant monitoring during the detoxification process.

Withdrawal can be completed in an inpatient rehab center or on an outpatient basis at a clinic or hospital. If the patient is experiencing severe depression as a symptom and is contemplating thoughts of suicide, monitoring may be necessary throughout the withdrawal process.

Therefore, an inpatient program may be more suitable when severe depression is a symptom. In some cases, the person who is recovering from Ritalin abuse or addiction becomes so uncomfortable during the withdrawal phase that he or she starts using the drug again in order to relieve the withdrawal symptoms.

People who have had trouble sticking with the detoxification process in the past may also benefit from an inpatient program. Once detoxification is complete, typically within a few days after halting Ritalin use, the patient can proceed to long-term solutions to help overcome the Ritalin abuse or addiction.

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Detoxing, Addiction Treatment Rehab, and Recovery

Once the patient has gone through detoxification, the long-term aspects of addiction treatment and recovery can be addressed. Like the withdrawal phase, the addiction or abuse recovery phase can take place in an inpatient clinic or on an outpatient basis. During this phase, the recovering Ritalin user learns how to live without Ritalin. If the drug was originally prescribed to treat a specific condition, treatment may involve finding other solutions for treating the original problem.

Rehab and recovery may also involve individual or group counseling. During these counseling sessions, the former user investigates the causes of drug abuse or addiction. Another type of therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, is also used to treat drug abuse, including Ritalin abuse. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on teaching the recovering user-specific techniques to use when confronted with the temptation to use Ritalin again. Without follow-up treatment for Ritalin abuse or addiction, a relapse may occur.

Ritalin Information at a Glance
Medication Name, Costs Class of Medicine
  • Generic Name: Methylphenidate hydrochloride
  • Generic Name Variations: N/A
  • Chemical Name: methyl phenyl (piperidine-2-yl)acetate
  • Brand Name: Ritalin
  • Brand Name Variations: Concerta, Daytrana, Metadate, and Methylin
  • Cost/Price: About $2 for a 30mg pill
  • Function or Use at Low Dose: Maintains alertness, fights fatigue, improves attention
  • Function or Use at High Dose: Euphoria
  • Chemical Makeup: N/A
  • System: Affects Central Nervous System
  • Duration of Action: 1-4 hours
Form, Intake and Dosage Interactions and Complications
  • Drug Forms: Patches, liquid, tablets, and capsules, administration routes: Oral, snorting, injection
  • Dosage: 5-30mg twice daily
  • Overdose: N/A
  • Alcohol Interaction: Increases blood plasma levels
  • Illicit Drugs: Cocaine
  • Prescription Medications: Antidepressants
  • Contraindications: Tricyclic antidepressants
Effects and Adverse Reactions Ritalin Abuse
  • Long-Term: Loss of appetite, muscle twitches, fevers, convulsions, anxiety, paranoia, irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, etc.
  • Risk of Ritalin Abuse: Highly addictive
  • Signs of Abuse: headaches, dizziness, nausea, appetite loss, nervousness, weight loss, insomnia, abdominal pains, severe depression, etc.
Physiological Problem Signs and Symptoms Dependence and Addiction Issues
  • Withdrawal Syndrome Onset: N/A
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Extreme fatigue, depression, agitation, increased appetite, nausea, insomnia, suicidal impulses
  • Tolerance: Increases with usage
  • Cross Dependence: N/A
  • Physical Dependence: 1-3 weeks
  • Psychological Dependence: Much longer – the brain continues to tell the body it needs the drug even after the body isn’t physically dependent.
Legal Schedules and Ratings
  • Controlled Ritalins Act Rating: Schedule II


Questions and Answers (FAQ)

How long do Ritalin withdrawals last?

The duration of the physical symptoms of Ritalin withdrawal generally lasts from 1-3 weeks, depending on the length of the addiction and how high the dosages were. Without treatment, the timeline for symptoms can last much longer, and the psychological symptoms can be more severe.

Do you have a list of popular terms or slang terms for Ritalin?

Johnny, pineapple, mind candy, Vitamin R, little blue lines, ritty, rit

Are there any home remedies for getting clean safely?

While using a home remedy may seem like a natural alternative to gain relief, many home remedies either do not work or may have dangerous side effects. Certain remedies include the use of other drugs to help ease withdrawal pains, but these should be administered under the direction of a qualified physician. Your safest alternative to relieve Ritalin withdrawals is to seek help.

How long does it take to detox from Ritalin?

The process to detox from Ritalin can vary depending on the length of use and the size of the dosages. Detox programs can provide you with the assistance you need, and make the withdrawal process as easy as possible. Please see our locator page or call us at 1-888-658-5242. Freedom from addiction can begin today.