Ritalin is a stimulant prescription medication that can stay in your system for one to three days after stopping use, depending on the amount and type used. It is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of the medical condition, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and it is sometimes used to treat narcolepsy. This medication is listed as a controlled substance by The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and has a schedule II classification.
How Long Does Ritalin Stay in Your System? (Saliva, Hair)
Ritalin can be traced in a urine or saliva drug test for about 1 to 3 days after discontinuing its use, and hair follicles can test positive for the drug for up to 30 to 90 days after the last use. The time it stays in your system can vary depending on the amount of drug being used, if it’s extended or immediate release, the individual’s weight, height, diet, metabolism, etc. It doesn’t store in the cells and is water-soluble, making it quicker to process and digest in the body than other drugs.
When methylphenidate is used with alcohol or taken orally with a high-fat content meal, it can take longer to purge. The liver metabolizes alcohol and Ritalin, and the liver puts the priority on metabolizing alcohol first, thus causing the substance to stay in the system longer. Taking Ritalin with a high-fat diet will slow absorption, consequently keeping it in the system longer.
Ritalin, also known as methylphenidate, is a drug that is at the highest level of control for any medication that can be prescribed by a physician. This listing means that, according to the federal government, it has a serious potential for physical dependency and abuse, but it has useful medical applications. It is estimated that in 2016, out of 150,000 individuals that were prescribed methylphenidate over the age of 12 years old, 68,000 misused the medication at least once.
Methylphenidate is a synthetic stimulant drug that is in the same classification as cocaine, morphine, and amphetamine. It is known by a variety of street names such as Diet Coke, Kiddie Cocaine, Skittles, Smarties, and Vitamin R. After the “up” wears off, the “down” leaves the individual with a crashed out feeling that can be instantly relieved by taking more of the stimulant, which often leads to drug dependency and addiction.
Ritalin acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system (CNS), which increases the neurons’ activity in the brain and spinal cord. This affects the brain’s neurotransmitters (the brain’s messengers) dopamine, norepinephrine, and others. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects pleasure, movement, and attention span, while norepinephrine acts as a stimulant. Ritalin increases the neurotransmitters’ actions by blocking their reabsorption into the brain’s neurons, which allows the substance to give a euphoric effect or a high.
Effects of Ritalin
Some of the effects of Ritalin can include:
- Loss of Appetite
- Pulse Changes
- Heart Problems
- Weight Loss
Signs of Drug Abuse
Some signs that an individual may be abusing methylphenidate can include:
- Memory Issues
- Irritability, anxiety, or depression
- Mood swings, aggressiveness
- Rapid heart rate
- Suspiciousness or paranoia
- Dilated pupils
- Acting secretive or isolating self
Ritalin can be habit-forming after taking it for a long time. This means that anyone taking the drug can become tolerant and require more for the same effect. This can lead to drug abuse and addiction.
Signs of Methylphenidate Overdose
It is important to know the signs of Ritalin overdose and seek emergency medical help immediately. Some of these signs can include:
- Confusion, sweating, flushing, fever
- Agitation, trembling, convulsions
- Loss of consciousness
- Dilated pupils, dry mouth or nose
- Headaches, hallucinations
- Irregular, increased, or pounding heartbeat
- Muscle twitching
As prescriptions for Ritalin increase, so does Ritalin abuse and addiction. It is important to understand the risks and signs that using this stimulant may cause and when it is time to ask for help. Drug addiction is a complex medical condition that is treatable, and reaching out for professional medical help can make your recovery a success.