The Effects of Ritalin on the Body

Ritalin is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, it can also be abused, and that comes with the risk of serious side effects.

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The right amount of Ritalin allows dopamine levels in your brain to rise slowly.

Ritalin may help you feel less fidgety, so you're able to sit quietly and control the impulse to move.

If you have a history of seizures, Ritalin may make matters worse.

Some children experience slower growth patterns while taking this medication.

If you have a history of seizures, Ritalin may make matters worse.

When taken in high doses or for a long period of time, stopping Ritalin abruptly can cause symptoms of withdrawal.

Stimulants can cause your blood pressure to rise. That could be a problem if you have pre-existing blood pressure problems.

Ritalin may cause nausea or stomachache in some people. Taking very high doses can cause vomiting.

When abused, Ritalin can make your breathing irregular.

Ritalin can make it easier for you to focus your attention on the task at hand.

If you're already dealing with anxiety or agitation, Ritalin may aggravate your symptoms.

Some people experience visual problems, like blurred vision, when taking Ritalin.

Ritalin is a federally controlled substance because it can be habit-forming. Abusing this drug is a serious risk to your health.

Hostility and paranoia are serious side effects of Ritalin abuse.

Cold fingers and toes may be a sign of poor circulation.

Ritalin can make your heart beat faster. If you already have heart problems or heart abnormalities, this could pose a serious risk.

Some people find they have less of an appetite when taking Ritalin. Long-term abuse can lead to malnutrition.

Ritalin can sometimes cause a prolonged erection. This can be quite painful and may even require treatment.

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A Dose of Dopamine
Control Over Fidgeting
Lower Threshold for Seizures
Slowed Growth
Delusions
Withdrawal
Rising Blood Pressure
Upset Stomach
Breathing Problems
Improved Concentration
Anxiety and Agitation
Blurry Vision
Habit-Forming
Hostility
Cold Fingers and Toes
Increased Heart Rate
Decreased Appetite
Prolonged Erection
Image

The right amount of Ritalin allows dopamine levels in your brain to rise slowly.

Ritalin may help you feel less fidgety, so you're able to sit quietly and control the impulse to move.

If you have a history of seizures, Ritalin may make matters worse.

Some children experience slower growth patterns while taking this medication.

If you have a history of seizures, Ritalin may make matters worse.

When taken in high doses or for a long period of time, stopping Ritalin abruptly can cause symptoms of withdrawal.

Stimulants can cause your blood pressure to rise. That could be a problem if you have pre-existing blood pressure problems.

Ritalin may cause nausea or stomachache in some people. Taking very high doses can cause vomiting.

When abused, Ritalin can make your breathing irregular.

Ritalin can make it easier for you to focus your attention on the task at hand.

If you're already dealing with anxiety or agitation, Ritalin may aggravate your symptoms.

Some people experience visual problems, like blurred vision, when taking Ritalin.

Ritalin is a federally controlled substance because it can be habit-forming. Abusing this drug is a serious risk to your health.

Hostility and paranoia are serious side effects of Ritalin abuse.

Cold fingers and toes may be a sign of poor circulation.

Ritalin can make your heart beat faster. If you already have heart problems or heart abnormalities, this could pose a serious risk.

Some people find they have less of an appetite when taking Ritalin. Long-term abuse can lead to malnutrition.

Ritalin can sometimes cause a prolonged erection. This can be quite painful and may even require treatment.

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A Dose of Dopamine
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Control Over Fidgeting
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Lower Threshold for Seizures
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Slowed Growth
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Delusions
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Withdrawal
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Rising Blood Pressure
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Upset Stomach
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Breathing Problems
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Improved Concentration
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Anxiety and Agitation
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Blurry Vision
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Habit-Forming
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Hostility
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Cold Fingers and Toes
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Increased Heart Rate
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Decreased Appetite
Image18
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Prolonged Erection
Image

The right amount of Ritalin allows dopamine levels in your brain to rise slowly.

Ritalin may help you feel less fidgety, so you're able to sit quietly and control the impulse to move.

If you have a history of seizures, Ritalin may make matters worse.

Some children experience slower growth patterns while taking this medication.

If you have a history of seizures, Ritalin may make matters worse.

When taken in high doses or for a long period of time, stopping Ritalin abruptly can cause symptoms of withdrawal.

Stimulants can cause your blood pressure to rise. That could be a problem if you have pre-existing blood pressure problems.

Ritalin may cause nausea or stomachache in some people. Taking very high doses can cause vomiting.

When abused, Ritalin can make your breathing irregular.

Ritalin can make it easier for you to focus your attention on the task at hand.

If you're already dealing with anxiety or agitation, Ritalin may aggravate your symptoms.

Some people experience visual problems, like blurred vision, when taking Ritalin.

Ritalin is a federally controlled substance because it can be habit-forming. Abusing this drug is a serious risk to your health.

Hostility and paranoia are serious side effects of Ritalin abuse.

Cold fingers and toes may be a sign of poor circulation.

Ritalin can make your heart beat faster. If you already have heart problems or heart abnormalities, this could pose a serious risk.

Some people find they have less of an appetite when taking Ritalin. Long-term abuse can lead to malnutrition.

Ritalin can sometimes cause a prolonged erection. This can be quite painful and may even require treatment.

image1
line1
A Dose of Dopamine
image2
line2
Control Over Fidgeting
image3
line3
Lower Threshold for Seizures
image4
line4
Slowed Growth
image5
line5
Delusions
image6
line6
Withdrawal
image7
line7
Rising Blood Pressure
image8
line8
Upset Stomach
image9
line9
Breathing Problems
image10
line10
Improved Concentration
image11
line11
Anxiety and Agitation
image12
line12
Blurry Vision
image13
line13
Habit-Forming
image14
line14
Hostility
image15
line15
Cold Fingers and Toes
image16
line16
Increased Heart Rate
image17
line17
Decreased Appetite
image18
line18
Prolonged Erection

The Effects of Ritalin on the Body

Ritalin is a nervous system stimulant that is commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children. Ritalin (a brand name for methylphenidate) is a prescription medication.

The number of children diagnosed with ADHD is on the rise. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 6.4 million American children aged 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. Many of those children are taking medications like Ritalin to help ease symptoms. Treatment usually involves some behavioral therapy as well.

Ritalin may also be used to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. As with all stimulants, this medication is a federally controlled substance. Unfortunately, it can be abused, which comes with the risk of serious side effects. Ritalin should only be used with medical supervision.

Central Nervous System

Ritalin influences both dopamine and norepinephrine activity in your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects pleasure, movement, and attention span. Norepinephrine is a stimulant. Ritalin increases the action of these neurotransmitters by blocking their reabsorption into your brain's neurons. The levels of these chemicals increase slowly. Your doctor will probably start you on the lowest possible dose and increase it in small increments, if necessary.

Ritalin may make it easier for you to concentrate, be less fidgety, and gain control of your actions.

If you're already prone to anxiety or agitation, or have an existing psychotic disorder, Ritalin may worsen these symptoms. If you have a history of seizures, this medication may cause more seizures. Some people taking Ritalin experience blurred vision or other changes to eyesight. Other potential side effects include headache, trouble sleeping, nervousness, and, rarely, racing heart or high blood pressure.

This medication can temporarily slow a child's growth, especially in the first two years of taking it. That's why your doctor will keep an eye on your child's height. Your doctor may suggest a drug holiday (often done during the summer), which is when the drug is temporarily stopped. This can encourage growth, and also allows your child's doctor to see how they do without taking the drug.

Ritalin, like other central nervous system stimulants, may be habit-forming. If you take a large dose, the quick rise in dopamine can produce a temporary feeling of euphoria. Taking Ritalin in high doses or for a long time can be habit-forming. If you stop taking it abruptly, you may experience withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal include sleep problems, fatigue, and depression. It's better to taper off slowly and under a doctor's care.

When abused, stimulants like Ritalin can cause feelings of paranoia and hostility. Very high doses can lead to:

  • dry mouth and eyes
  • shakiness, severe twitching
  • mood changes
  • confusion
  • delusions, hallucinations
  • seizures

If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Circulatory System

Ritalin can cause circulation problems. Your fingers and toes may feel cold and painful, and your skin may turn blue or red. Use of Ritalin is linked to peripheral vascular disease, including Raynaud’s disease. If you take Ritalin and experience circulatory problems, tell your doctor.

Stimulants can also raise your body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. That’s usually not a problem in the short term, but you should have regular exams to check your heart rate and blood pressure. Stimulants should be taken with caution if you have pre-existing blood pressure or heart problems. Ritalin may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Rare cases of sudden death have occurred in patients who have structural heart abnormalities.

Abusing stimulants by crushing pills and injecting them can lead to blocked blood vessels. An overdose can lead to dangerously high blood pressure or irregular heartbeat.

Digestive System

Ritalin can reduce appetite in some people. Other side effects include stomachache and nausea. Abusing this drug can cause vomiting. Over time, Ritalin abuse can lead to malnutrition and related health problems.

Respiratory System

When taken as prescribed, Ritalin doesn’t generally cause a problem with the respiratory system. However, very high doses or long-term abuse can cause irregular breathing. Breathing problems should always be considered a medical emergency.

Reproductive System

Males who take Ritalin may experience painful and prolonged erections. When this occurs, it’s usually after prolonged Ritalin use, or after your dose was increased. It’s rare, but it sometimes requires medical intervention.