Dangers and Side Effects of Ritalin in Adults


Ritalin is most commonly prescribed to children with Attention Deficit Disorder, but it can also be used by adults. The effects of Ritalin on adults can be quite different from the effects on children. Ritalin is sometimes prescribed to treat depression, for instance, because it has a stimulative effect that is in opposition to the calming effects the drug has on hyperactive kids. Paradoxically, perhaps, when used by adults Ritalin can actually create a feeling of hyperactivity. The danger is that this effect can wear off over time.

Ritalin (Image: Pictac/iStock/Getty Images)

Weight Loss

One of the most common side effects of Ritalin use is the loss of appetite. When the loss of appetite is combined with the rush of energy that is normally experienced, it very often leads to weight loss. In some people this weight loss can be quite drastic. The danger inherent in this side effect is that as people realize they can more easily lose weight while on Ritalin, they may begin to lose too much weight. Further complicating the issue is losing too much weight too fast to be healthy.

Weight loss
Weight loss (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)


Some people experience chronic headaches when they begin taking Ritalin. These headaches may be worsened with caffeine ingestion. First try cutting back on caffeine and if this does not reduce the occurrence of headaches, try cutting down on the dose. If the headaches continue, it may be necessary to quite taking the Ritalin.

Headaches (Image: David De Lossy/Digital Vision/Getty Images)


It is important to remember that in adults Ritalin usually has a stimulant effect. This means you should avoid taking your dose of Ritalin close to bedtime. Just how close to bedtime you can take Ritalin without it effecting sleep will depend on the individual. However, even if you miss a dose, it is better to go ahead and skip it than to take it late in the afternoon or the evening especially.

Sleep (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)


Eventually, most adults will reach a point where the energy rush of Ritalin begins to wear off. The addiction to that good feeling and overwhelming energy and focus can become overwhelming. As a result, once the effects of the drug begin to ramp down, there is a tendency among some to try out increasing the dosage to get back the lost effects. For some people, the addiction can grow so great that they even begin crushing the pills and snorting them.

Anxiety and Blood Pressure

Taking too high a dose of Ritalin can lead to feelings of anxiety. Although extended release versions of Ritalin are available, most people still take Ritalin in two separate doses each day. Taking these two doses too close together can also produce feeling of anxiety. Along with anxiety, it is not unusual for some people to experience an increase in blood pressure.

High blood pressure
High blood pressure (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

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