Cirque Lodge > Blog > Addiction > Dangers of Snorting Ritalin

What is Ritalin?

Ritalin is the brand name for the prescription medication methylphenidate, a stimulant used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD.

ADHD causes a person to act impulsively, be hyperactive, and have a shortened attention span. These symptoms can interfere with everyday functioning and productivity.

Ritalin is produced in an immediate-release and an extended-release version. The immediate-release tablets release the chemical all at once, whereas the extended-release version of the drug gradually delivers the drug into the bloodstream over a number of hours.

The Controlled Substances Act classifies Ritalin as a Schedule II controlled substance. This is due to its high abuse potential and the fact that it is likely to lead to severe dependence and addiction. This class of drugs is also considered dangerous and has a potential overdose risk.

Effects of Ritalin on the Body and Brain

Ritalin is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that increases the rate of communication and interaction between nerve and brain cells. This results in a rise of neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. For people with ADHD, therapeutic doses help manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

Abusing prescription stimulants in higher amounts than have been recommended or using the drug without having ADHD can lead to an overdrive of the central nervous system. The large rushes of neurotransmitters being released produce a euphoric high, increasing the risk of compulsive drug use in the future.

Why Would Someone Snort Ritalin?

Despite the prescription drug being classed as dangerous, people still regularly abuse the medication via snorting - insufflation. Ritalin tablets can be crushed into a powder and inhaled via the nasal passages. Abusing Ritalin in this manner allows people to feel the drug's effects more rapidly and intensely, as it is the most direct route to the bloodstream.

Misusing Ritalin can involve taking the drug:

  • In a different way than prescribed
  • Without a prescription
  • To specifically get high

ADHD medications may be abused for a number of reasons. One is to use it as a performance-enhancing drug. People may start snorting Ritalin to increase their productivity and energy levels in response to pressure at work or school. Individuals may also use these performance-enhancing qualities in social situations, with the drug also having the ability to increase confidence and sociability.

Additionally, people abuse Ritalin as a dietary supplement. The drug decreases users' appetites and, in turn, causes them to lose weight.

Other individuals may start snorting Ritalin as a way to self-medicate an untreated mental illness.

Side Effects of Snorting Ritalin

Side Effects of Snorting Ritalin

Ritalin insufflation can cause a range of side effects over the short and long term. Misusing Ritalin initially produces feelings of euphoria, wakefulness, sociability, and focus. However, the effects of snorting Ritalin in high doses can commonly be unpleasant.

These can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • High body temperature
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Extreme sweating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Paranoia
  • Decreased libido

Dangers of Snorting Ritalin

There are a number of serious, more dangerous health risks from Ritalin abuse. Some of the dangers of snorting Ritalin include:

  • Anorexia
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Abnormal liver function
  • Cardiovascular issues

Snorting Ritalin can also cause lead to severe damage to the nasal passages and sinuses, leading to other side effects such as:

  • Constant runny nose
  • Nose bleeds
  • Feeling the need to constantly clear the throat
  • Sinusitis
  • Dental issues

Ritalin Overdose

When snorting Ritalin, people tend to take the drug in high doses over shorter periods of time in order to maintain their high. However, this is extremely dangerous and can even lead to a fatal overdose. It is much harder to keep track of dosage in powdered form compared to a tablet, so it is highly advised never to snort the prescription medication.

Symptoms of a Ritalin overdose include:

  • Headaches
  • Agitation
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart palpitations
  • Hypertension
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Blocked blood vessels
  • Dryness of mucous membranes
  • Convulsions
  • Severe confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

If you are with someone you suspect has overdosed on Ritalin, contact the emergency services immediately.

Ritalin Addiction

Addiction - or substance use disorder - is a mental health condition that can be defined by impulsive and uncontrollable drug use. Many people see addiction as a weakness of will and a choice, however, it is quite the opposite.

Drug abuse causes the brain to release an intense rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in many important functions, such as reward, motivation, pleasure, movement, and memory. Our brains are hardwired to seek out dopamine which has played an important role in human survival throughout evolution. However, substance abuse hijacks this system and redirects users' thoughts and behavior to think they keep needing this dopamine hit over and over again.

Addiction changes the physical structure and chemical makeup of the brain, making it even more difficult to fight against the urge to abuse drugs. The disorder causes people to continuously abuse the substance, in this case, Ritalin, despite its negative impact on all areas of their life and their wishes to stop.

Symptoms of a Ritalin Addiction

Symptoms of a Ritalin Addiction

There are signs to look out for to spot a Ritalin addiction, including:

  • Drug cravings
  • Being unable to uphold their personal or professional responsibilities
  • White powder on the person’s body, clothes, or other objects
  • Frequent sniffling, runny nose, or rubbing the nose
  • Paraphernalia used to crush up and snort Ritalin, such as straws
  • Empty medication bottles
  • Developing a tolerance to the drug
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to bring them pleasure
  • Changes in friendships and social circles
  • Getting into trouble at work, school, or legally

Ritalin Dependency and Withdrawals

Over time, the body gets used to having high doses of Ritalin in the body and the central nervous system adapts to its presence. This causes the users to develop a psychological and physical dependence on the drug. Here, if the person's regular dose is decreased or stopped, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

Ritalin withdrawal symptoms can occur more easily when the medication is abused or snorted. Some of these include:

  • Panic and anxiety
  • Severe depression
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Fatigue

For people who have a history of mental issues, the severe depression experienced during withdrawals can result in fatal consequences. People withdrawing from Ritalin may experience suicidal thoughts and carry out self-harm. Therefore, it is important to seek professional guidance before quitting the drug.

Ritalin Addiction Treatment

If you or your loved one is struggling with drug abuse and has mental health concerns, it is advised that you reach out to a medical professional. Addiction is a powerful mental condition, and it does not get better on its own. Thankfully, there are a number of therapeutic techniques that have allowed millions to overcome their addiction and lead a life of sobriety that is happy and fulfilling.

Medical Detox

The first part of the treatment process is a medical detox. Here, healthcare professionals offer around-the-clock support to deal with the withdrawal symptoms whilst detoxing from Ritalin as safely and comfortably as possible. Medical staff can monitor vitals, such as blood pressure, and provide psychological support as and when needed.


Medical detox is the first step in overcoming physical dependence - following that, it is vital that people overcoming addiction attend some form of psychotherapy to tackle the core issue that leads to drug abuse in the first place. This way, the individual is less likely to relapse and stay substance-free for the long term.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely used kind of psychotherapy to treat addiction. This kind of behavioral therapy involves helping individuals recognize their Ritalin-taking triggers and build coping mechanisms to prevent this from happening in the future.

Family therapy and support groups are also vital tools when overcoming addiction. A strong community that is willing to support you is incredibly important to make a long-term successful recovery.

Residential Rehabilitation Treatment

Residential Rehabilitation Treatment

Residential treatment programs allow inpatients to recover from their substance abuse issues in a calm and fresh setting away from where the Ritalin abuse occurred. Inpatients in rehab have access to medical treatment and advice 24/7, increasing their chances of a successful recovery. Residential programs also allow individuals to build healthy routines and habits that they can take forward when they leave the center.

It can be extremely difficult to deal with addiction, though please know you are not alone. Cirque Lodge is a exceptional rehab center situated in the serene Rocky Mountains in Utah. The facility is one of the most exclusive and trusted in the country, only utilizing the most advanced recovery treatment options.

The expert staff approaches each inpatient with understanding and empathy, with the discretion of each person being at the forefront of their mind. Cirque Lodge's enriching rehabilitation programs heal addiction in a holistic manner, treating both the body and mind to overcome the disorder.

It combines the twelve-step model of recovery with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, and experiential therapies. However, the exact treatment trajectory is highly customizable to each individual. If you want to find out more about the drug and mental health treatment options, please contact Cirque Lodge today and start your journey toward recovery and a happier and healthier life.

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