|Ritalin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Ritalin is chemically similar to cocaine and can cause “nervousness, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headache, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and psychosis.” It was previously thought that Ritalin had limited long-term effects, but another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported it does have long-term side effects.
“Clinicians consider Ritalin to be short-acting” said lead researcher Professor Joan Baizer of the University of Buffalo. “When the active dose has worked its way through the system, they consider it all gone.” However, further research showed that Ritalin is capable of “causing long-lasting changes in brain cell structure and function.”
The National Institute on Drug Abuse also studied the effects of Ritalin and discovered it causes physical changes in neurons in the reward region of mouses’ brains, which are similar to long-term side effects of cocaine. The combination of the three studies suggests the long-term side effects of Ritalin include potential brain injury to the frontal lobes, and the onset of clinical depression.
It’s estimated that three million children in the United States take ADHD drugs, and Ritalin abuse among children is common. Young people are more vulnerable to the side effects of Ritalin because their brains are still forming.
Most parents only want the best for their children, and may not know the long-term side effects of medications being prescribed to them. It’s important to be aware of the harmful side effects of any drug ingested, whether it’s prescribed or not. If you or someone you care about is having substance abuse problems, there are many esteemed addiction treatment centers that can offer assistance.