Both Ritalin and Adderall are prescription medications used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies have shown that, overall, Adderall has a higher rate of efficacy using lower doses. Regardless of their utility for practical medical purposes, both medications are commonly abused and have high rates of addiction. They are also considered gateway drugs to the use of meth and other illicit substances.  

In short, both Ritalin and Adderall have the ability to speed up your brain function. The release of chemicals in your brain puts you in an elevated mood. This can have temporary positive benefits but the withdrawal feelings, often described as a “crash”, can be extremely unpleasant. Those who abuse stimulants often use so-called “downers” like benzodiazepines, designed as anti-anxiety medication, to reduce the negative feelings of withdrawal. The combination of drugs in your body increases the risk of side effects.

Common side effects associated with misusing Ritalin and Adderall can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability 
  • Chronic headaches 
  • Suicidal ideation 

Ritalin has a shorter half-life than Adderall. The effects of Ritalin are typically two to three hours. Adderall has an extended-release and, therefore, remains in the body longer and slowly breaks down over the course of a day. Medications with a shorter half-life are, in some instances, considered riskier when it comes to the potential for abuse. Relatedly, this is why the benzodiazepine Klonopin is more heavily prescribed than Xanax. The relatively short half-life of Xanax can cause unintended addiction. 

On the other hand, some are prescribed Ritalin specifically because it has a short-lived impact. When used as prescribed, this allows individuals to manage the drug’s side effects more readily. It can also have less of an impact on eating and sleep. 

When it comes down to it, there’s very little difference between Adderall and Ritalin in relation to addiction. Adderall has slightly more overlap with side effects when combined with other medications. Both medications have high potential for abuse as there is a temptation to increase doses with the desire for better results. This is a slippery slope that can easily lead to addiction. 

Signs of Ritalin or Adderall Abuse 

If someone has started to abuse their prescription to stimulant medications like Ritalin or Adderall you will begin to see signs of mood and behavioral changes. Early signs may include difficulty focusing, or general irritability, restlessness, and agitation.  

You may notice a change in priorities, lack of interest in hobbies or activities that used to bring joy. Those with substance abuse often lie to hide their habit or become secretive about the motivations for their actions or behaviors. 

After abusing pills for a longer period of time, people are more likely to display changes in their personalities. They may become challenging to be around or choose to be more isolated. As the cycle of abuse continues, those with addiction often damage personal relationships with friends and loved ones. 

Early intervention is always ideal. That way, you can avoid the negative results of long-term drug abuse before someone you care about faces the painful consequences of prolonged addiction. 

Knoxville Recovery Center Can Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall, or other prescription medications, we encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Knoxville Recovery Center in Tennessee. Our addiction specialists can help you select the appropriate addiction treatment program tailored to fit your personal circumstances.   Depending on the stage of an individual’s addiction, they may require detox, an addiction treatment program, or both. Fortunately, Knoxville Recovery Center offers various services to those struggling with this addiction. 

Services offered: 

Detox – Our on-site detox clinic accommodates and supports clients as the body sheds all residual traces of the addictive substance. Clients are under medical supervision during the detox process to ensure that they remain safe and comfortable. 

Addiction Treatment –  During our addiction treatment program, clients will engage in introductory therapies and exercises that work to prepare them for continued, more intensive treatment outside of our facility. The goal of our addiction treatment track is to stabilize clients so that they are treatment-ready. 

Mental Health Treatment – Our mental health treatment program introduces behavioral therapies rooted in self-expression and holistic exercise. Art therapy, music therapy, and yoga are just a few forms of therapy we offer at the center. Our goal is to help the client reclaim their voice and expose them to treatment within a professional facility. 

Aftercare Planning – Aftercare is designed for individuals who have benefitted from our introductory addiction services and are transitioning into a more intensive addiction treatment program. Once a client is stabilized, they will be encouraged to pursue continued addiction treatment. Our experienced case managers will then work with our clients to place them in a program that addresses their specific wants and needs.

Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call Knoxville Recovery Center and speak with an addiction expert today.

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