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Substance Abuse – Another warning about Ritalin Abuse

When people talk about substance abuse or drug abuse, they generally refer to harder, potent drugs such as Cocaine, Tik or Heroin.

Understandably so, as these drugs are illegal, and they do cause drug addiction, and we know they can cause serious physical, mental and psychological harm to users.

Substance Abuse Treatment Centre South Africa

But what people tend to forget or would rather ignore is the fact that pharmaceutical (legal) drugs can be used illegally, and in fact are abused more often, and their abuse is far more prevalent.

The problem is that because pharmaceuticals drugs are legal, cases of abuse are often not recognised or reported leaving abusers to carry on with their addiction, free from judgement and interference.

In addition, the procurement of these drugs is easier and far less risky because it is done through legal medical channels:


  • the family doctor
  • the pharmacist
  • the hospital
  • or the psychiatrist.


Today, one of the most abused pharmaceutical drugs is Ritalin.

Step Away Substance Abuse Treatment Centre South Africa

Since it is exam time (a time when Ritalin is predominantly abused), our rehabilitation team thought it necessary to highlight some of the important facts about Ritalin abuse to help our readers make better decisions.

Ritalin Abuse – “I need it to concentrate”

Methylphenidate otherwise known as Ritalin, is an amphetamine based central nervous system (CNS) stimulant.

Often praised for its abilities to ‘help people focus’, this pharmaceutical regularly flies far below the radar when it comes to substance abuse and substance addiction.

Originally, it was designed to help:


  • individuals suffering from narcolepsy (a sleeping disorder),
  • or those who struggled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).


Is ADHD and ADD being over diagnosed by doctors with the complicity of parents?

In recent years it has become the new age ‘wonder drug’ and the go-to for anyone having ‘trouble’ concentrating.

Teachers and parents often welcome the ADHD and ADD diagnosis and the prescription of Ritalin as the cure for ‘problem children’ in the classroom.

Schedule 6 - Misuse and Ritalin Abuse

In South Africa, Ritalin is classified as a schedule 6 type drug. Schedule 6 is the highest legally scheduled drug type available in our country.

Substances classed as Schedule 6, have a moderate to high potential for abuse as well as physical and psychological addiction, and therefore their distribution, usage and dosage must be monitored closely.

Other drugs found in this class include:


  • Morphine
  • Cocaine
  • and Amphetamines - (Amphetamines are a key ingredient found in Crystal Meth/ TIK)


Ritalin Side Effects

As with many drugs, the way you ingest Ritalin will produce different effects:


  • intranasal or intravenous ingestion producing amphetamine-like effects, especially when taken in conjunction with alcohol.


Selling Ritalin

Today, Ritalin is readily available to just about anyone, well, anyone who is capable of reciting the necessary ‘characteristic’ symptoms of ADHD or ADD to their GP that is.

Irrespective of whether the diagnosis of ADHD or ADD is being overstated, we know that much of the trade in Ritalin stems from teenagers and students selling their ready supply of personal Ritalin to friends.

Parents are not exercising enough control over the supply and usage of Ritalin, with the result of stocks being diverted to the illegal trade and abuse of the substance.

More and more teenagers are being caught trading in Ritalin and supplying friends at school.

Ritalin Abuse - Becoming addicted

Similar to Cocaine (and often referred to as ‘Kiddie Cocaine’), Ritalin increases your productivity and ability to concentration when orally ingested.

The chemical structure of both Ritalin and Cocaine increases the dopamine levels in your brain by blocking dopamine transporter proteins, which take up dopamine from your synapse.

With regularly elevated dopamine levels, your brain begins to associate Ritalin with an immense neurochemical reward.

Consequently, your brain begins to think these synthetically elevated levels of dopamine are normal, creating an addiction only Ritalin or its distant cousin, Cocaine can fill.

Step Away – Drug Rehab Centre South Africa

Although Ritalin has changed the lives of millions of children and adults who have been clinically diagnosed with ADHD, ADD or narcolepsy, it has the ability to ruin the lives of the people who abuse it.

Instead of turning to Ritalin to help you study try to adjust:


  • Your diet
  • Sleeping patterns
  • Method of learning
  • Exercise routine
  • Study environment


If you have a healthy diet, filled with nutritional foods it can improve concentration levels. Having the correct amount of sleep and being active will also increase your ability to focus.

It's also important to cut down on the amount of television you watch and the amount of time you spend on social media.

By correcting your learning methods and improving your study environment you will also positively impact your concentration levels.

For more information, please contact us.

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