Ritalin: ”Use It, Don’t Abuse It”

Few drugs have received such public attention and been publicized like Ritalin (with the exception of Prozac). This is likely because Ritalin is used for children. Ritalin has been in the headlines of major newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Ritalin has caused angry marches of different activity groups (at many cultural landmarks). Cosmetic pharmacology and other titles have been given to Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs and even Hilary Clinton jumped on the issue of the rapid growth of Ritalin use during her campaign.

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a mild stimulant of the central nervous system. Its effect is especially significant on motor activity and mental concentration. By modulating and stimulating the neurotransmitter dopamine, methylphenidate calms down hyperactivity, channels it, and keeps the patient focused. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a modern-time disorder and mostly benefits from Ritalin, especially children with ADHD. ADHD is a very severe illness, and untreated it has been shown to be a significant factor for the development of Substance Abuse Disorders, behavior and even medical problems. Ritalin has been a “God send” for thousands of children who might otherwise be deprived of a normal education and social relationships.

On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that Ritalin is a psychoactive drug and it should be used for clear indications and not for an unlimited period of time. Also, it should be used in conjunction with behavior therapy and family support. Ritalin has several contraindications: acute anxiety, ticks, seizures, allergies and certain drugs. It can cause decreased appetite and sleep problems. It may increase blood pressure as well as hostility.

Ritalin is a great medication, but it can also be a dangerous weapon. Use it, don’t abuse it. Always consult your doctor.