ZocdocAnswersWhat are the symptoms of Ritalin addiction?

Question

What are the symptoms of Ritalin addiction?

I'm worried that I'm becoming addicted to Ritalin. I'm 28 and I've been on a Ritalin prescription for several years, but this year I began taking it sooner than I was supposed to because I feel crazy without it. I can't imagine stopping. Is this addiction? How would I know?

Answer

Presumably you are taking Ritalin because you have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD). Although Ritalin is actually a stimulant (and is often abused on the street because of these properties), in people who genuinely have ADD it does not have this effect; rather it helps them maintain mental focus and be productive in their lives. Therefore, if you are taking the Ritalin in the dose and at the interval that it was prescribed, it is unlikely that you will become addicted to it. People who abuse Ritalin usually take it in much higher doses than those which are prescribed for ADD. It is much more likely that the Ritalin is helping your ADD symptoms by keeping you focused and on task. When you do not take the Ritalin, you feel 'crazy' and the symptoms return. You may want to discuss with your doctor whether you need to modify the original Ritalin plan. For example, initially many people try just taking the Ritalin during the school year or busiest time of their work year, with a break when things are less stressful. However, if this is not working for you (you said you started taking the Ritalin earlier this year) then you should discuss this as soon as possible with your psychiatrist.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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