Before we start answering the question whether Ritalin is addictive, we need to make a basic distinction between dependency and addiction. Dependency to a certain medication or substance involves only the physical and/or physiological aspect of needing to take the certain medication or substance. If the medication or substance is not taken, adverse symptoms start to happen. Addiction involves the social aspect as well, namely affecting the everyday life of the addict and resulting in them engaging in antisocial behavior in order to acquire the medication or the substance. In this article, we will not tackle the addiction to Ritalin as we do not wish to involve the social aspect, but we will tackle the dependency to the medication.
The easiest way to do this would be to simply say that there is a possibility of developing dependency to Ritalin. This medication is very similar in structure to amphetamines and it is a psychostimulant which means that it stimulates certain nerve processes in the brain by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. This results in the enhancement of certain mental processes and can also elevate mood and lead to euphoria.
This is usually perceived as pleasant by the people who take Ritalin which may lead to psychological dependency. In addition to this, Ritalin may also cause physical dependency, due to its effects on the levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain.However, it needs to be said that when properly used, Ritalin does not usually lead to dependency. The chances of this happening increase with using larger doses than prescribed, as well as by using Ritalin once the regimen has finished. Also, recreational use of Ritalin often leads to dependency as the users do not follow any instructions and do not know how much of Ritalin can be used safely and for how long.