When the facts are laid out on the table, you have to consider that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a very confusing illness. Overall, this problem is defined by a low attention span (hence the name), hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and recklessness, and certain individuals may have an especially hard time sitting still for long periods of time. As a result, some doctors will prescribe stimulants to suppress these side effects (especially if they are difficult to manage). Typical medications include Adderall (a mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) and Ritalin, the focus of our conversation today. Let’s take a look and see why this drug should be prescribed and taken with caution.
A Brief Look at Ritalin
The brand name for methylphenidate, Ritalin is a powerful ADHD medication that (like Adderall) controls the flow of dopamine and norepinephrine in the human brain. Mostly, drugs like Ritalin have proven to be effective suppressants for ADHD symptoms in about 80% of incidences. Consider this, though. Ritalin is a Schedule-II drug, the same class shared by morphine, amphetamines, and (shockingly) cocaine. In other words, this stimulant is potentially addictive.
Why Is This Drug So Dangerous?
In recent years, health experts have shown concern over the drug’s effect on juvenile ADHD patients, particularly young children. In June 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned parents that Ritalin (and similar meds) could induce rather than suppress erratic or psychotic behavior. For example, researchers claimed that some patients could experience hallucinations and suicidal thoughts or exhibit aggressive and violent behavior.
Even more frightening, as a Schedule-II substance, Ritalin can induce chemical dependency. Dangerous symptoms may include:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in pulse
- Cardiovascular issues
- Severe weight loss
Teens will often use Ritalin to induce effects similar to those produced by other stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines.
While it has proven to be a successful medication in a majority of situations, Ritalin is still potentially dangerous. Consider your child or teenager’s safety (or your safety) before you inquire about this drug as an ADHD suppressant.
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