In rare instances, Ritalin can cause tolerance. Consult with the prescribing doctor to best address this situation.
Ritalin is a stimulant that can genuinely help people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is made of methylphenidate, which is known to help people focus at work and school. Like caffeine, methylphenidate is a stimulant.
When a child or teenager needs medical assistance for ADHD, they may exhibit:
Usually, people who are diagnosed with ADHD have a prescribed medication like Ritalin that they take for years.
It can be difficult to know when someone should stop taking Ritalin. People with ADHD can often be weaned off their medication if they have been doing well for at least a year.
The New York Times published an article in 2012 stating that children usually become tolerant of ADHD medication. Parents may notice that the effects of Ritalin are not the same as when their child first started taking the drug.
Tolerance for “study drugs” like Ritalin is even easier to notice when someone is taking this medication without a prescription. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) warns that using stimulants for a long time allows a person to build tolerance, even if a person uses them under a doctor’s supervision. This tolerance can form even more quickly with abuse.
A 2016 article published on The Conversation shows that Ritalin and other similar stimulants are popular with student populations.
People can become tolerant of Ritalin in the same way they may become tolerant of any other drug. Tolerance can vary depending on how it occurs. To better understand this, let’s explore its many definitions.
Tolerance, dependence, and addiction are not the same. People often confuse these terms because it is easier for an individual to misuse or depend on a substance to which they have built tolerance.
Once tolerance has been detected, a person may choose from several treatment options, but this depends widely on how a person used Ritalin. People who used Ritalin with a doctor’s supervision may be able to do the following:
People who take Ritalin for recreational reasons, or without a doctor’s supervision, can also take steps to decrease their tolerance. However, these methods are self-reported on forums such as Quora.
A loss of appetite is common with people who take Ritalin and other study drugs. This can cause a person to lose weight.If a person monitors what they eat, and adds some exercise into their daily life, it may help lessen tolerance to the drug.
Recreational use of Ritalin should never cause a person to truly feel different. Ritalin can still be effective in low doses that do not cause a person to feel a particular effect.
Medication that makes a person need to use the bathroom more often can eventually cause other health issues. If this is happening, consider options other than Ritalin.
In one forum, a user explained that if a person uses Ritalin for studying, they should try to make their environment — like their bedroom or desk — as similar as possible to their classroom or test site. This may trigger memories that will help them do better while using less Ritalin.
Because Ritalin tolerance can make it easier for a person to depend on the drug or become addicted, it is best for a person to deal with their tolerance issues as soon as they notice a problem.
If a person becomes dependent on Ritalin, they may develop withdrawal symptoms when they go without the medication. NIDA mentions that these uncomfortable effects may make it easier for a person to begin abusing any substance.
A person may start to use Ritalin again to get rid of these symptoms.
Misuse of any drug requires treatment, but no one needs to wait until the most obvious signs of misuse begin to take a break from Ritalin or seek help.
Jenny Kutner wrote an article on Mic in 2015 where she discussed how she stopped taking her ADHD medication. Kutner not only discussed her story, but she also spoke with others who had used stimulants to cope with ADHD as children who decided to stop taking their medication as they became adults.
Kutner also spoke with people who keep their prescription on hand even though they plan to go off them. One individual, she talked to mentioned that they keep their medication accessible in case of a stressful event, such as a test.
This type of use could spell trouble for people because it is similar to the behavior of people who use Ritalin as a study drug.
People who misuse Ritalin and decide they want to stop can seek help. NIDA mentions that cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful for individuals with a variety of issues with addiction.
College and university students may have access to a university health center that provides access to therapy and addiction assistance.
The prescribing doctor should always be informed of any tolerance developing.
(December 2015) How do I prevent creating a tolerance of Ritalin? Quora. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-prevent-creating-a-tolerance-of-Ritalin
(June 2018) Prescription Stimulants. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants
(January 2012) Ritalin Gone Wrong. The New York Times. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/opinion/sunday/childrens-add-drugs-dont-work-long-term.html
(September 2015) Here’s What It’s Like to go Off Your ADD Meds in Your 20s. Mic. Retrieved February 2019 from https://mic.com/articles/125085/here-s-what-it-s-like-to-go-off-add-meds-in-your-20s#.rkRttEH9C
(November 2018) When to Stop Using ADHD Medications. Verywell Mind. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/starting-and-stopping-adhd-medications-2633125
(May 2016) The hefty price of ‘study drug’ misuse on college campuses. The Conversation. Retrieved February 2019 from https://theconversation.com/the-hefty-price-of-study-drug-misuse-on-college-campuses-59340
(July 2016) Why ‘smart drugs’ can make you less clever. The Conversation. Retrieved February 2019 from https://theconversation.com/why-smart-drugs-can-make-you-less-clever-62673
(October 2018) What Does Medication Tolerance Mean? Verywell Mind. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/medication-tolerance-1124101