While Ritalin is legally prescribed to thousands of persons with ADHD everyday, the drug has become one of choice for struggling college students from the East Coast to Fresno, Calif. Students cramming for a big exam have been known to abuse the so-called “study drug”, with numerous unforeseen consequences.
While Ritalin is safe for appropriate use by persons with ADHD, their neurotypical peers are at risk for addiction, with hundreds of Ritalin-addicted students enrolled in drug rehab centers every year. Like cocaine, Ritalin is a stimulant that affects levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, inducing a euphoric high. However, withdrawal symptoms are nothing to shake a stick at. While Ritalin withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, they are not life-threatening, and can be overcome successfully.