Substance Use

Ritalin Overdose: What You Need to Know

ritalin pills spilling out of jar

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What You Should Know About Ritalin Overdose

Ritalin is a synthetic stimulant also known by its generic name, methylphenidate. It’s designed to stimulate the central nervous system and is prescribed for people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy, a condition that can cause people to fall asleep without warning. It may also be used to treat specific symptoms of other conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease.

While Ritalin is a useful drug for those that need it, it can be misused, and it is possible to become addicted to Ritalin. Abuse of this drug can lead to Ritalin overdose.

At Zinnia Health, we offer an individualized approach for anyone struggling with Ritalin addiction, helping them build a firm foundation for long-term recovery. We plan an evidence-based program including detoxification, individual or group therapy, as well as medication-assisted treatment. For more information, call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439.

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Can You Overdose on Ritalin?

Yes, it’s possible to overdose on Ritalin, which can be very dangerous for the person involved. Ritalin is prescribed in controlled doses, so taking more than prescribed can have extremely negative effects on your body.

What To Do in an Emergency

If you suspect someone close to you is overdosing on Ritalin, call 911 immediately.

Please call 911 right away to get help and advice for a person who is overdosing.

What Are the Treatment Options for a Ritalin Overdose?

Ritalin overdose treatment will almost always involve admittance to a hospital where the individual will receive supplemental oxygen and intravenous fluids. As well as rehydrating them, this helps deliver medications to lower their blood pressure and stabilize their heart rate.

Activated charcoal may help absorb some of the Ritalin in their system and reduce the potential damage. Medical staff may also work to reduce the person’s temperature. This may involve ice packs or cooling mists.

Is a Ritalin Overdose Dangerous?

Yes, a Ritalin overdose is very dangerous, and in recent years, deaths caused by Ritalin overdose have been on the rise. People can also suffer organ failure or severe organ damage if an overdose is extreme or left untreated.

Ritalin may also impact an individual’s mental health, causing the following side effects:

  • Feelings of paranoia
  • Drastic changes in character
  • Hostility
  • Suicidal tendencies

How Much Ritalin Does It Take To Overdose?

As with all stimulants, the amount of Ritalin needed to cause an overdose varies from person to person. However, current pharmacology guidelines suggest that the maximum dose is 72 mg, which should only be taken orally.

If someone ingests more than this, they could be at risk of overdosing. This risk increases if they are snorting or injecting the drug.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Ritalin Overdose?

Ritalin overdose symptoms may include: 

  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Increased irritability and even hostile behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heartrate or palpitations
  • Fluctuating body temperature or fever
  • Sweating
  • Breathing heavily
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Tremors and shakes
  • Seizures

Other Ritalin Side Effect Complications

A high fever is an occasional and dangerous complication of Ritalin overdoses. Hot, dry skin for no other obvious reason could indicate that someone has overdosed on Ritalin, and as well as calling 911, you can help by offering cool drinks or reducing the temperature of the immediate environment.

At Zinnia Health, we understand that overcoming Ritalin substance use disorder is a complex process with different challenges for everyone. That’s why we offer a tailored approach to addiction treatment, designed to help people get their lives back on track.  We also work with most insurance providers. Learn more: Call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439.

What Increases the Risk of a Ritalin Overdose?

Taking any stimulants such as Ritalin with opioids could increase the risk of overdose and the negative effects associated with this. Combining multiple stimulants can also be dangerous.

The following substances could be problematic when combined with Ritalin:

  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Prescription drugs, including codeine, tramadol, and Vicodin
  • Heroin
  • Alcohol
  • Large amounts of caffeine, i.e., strong energy drinks in large volumes

Why Does a Ritalin Overdose Occur?

A Ritalin overdose can occur completely by accident. Ritalin is often taken to manage behavioral health by those diagnosed with ADHD, which is associated with memory issues. Someone could take too much simply because they’ve forgotten they’ve already had their dose.

If someone is taking Ritalin recreationally, they may have no idea of what dosage is appropriate. They may have been pressured into drug use by a peer and not know how to dose it properly.

They may also have become addicted to Ritalin and not be capable of moderating their own use, leading to increased usage. Ritalin overdose can also occur due to contraindications with other medications, taking it with illicit drugs, or existing health problems.

How To Tell If Someone Is on Ritalin

It’s important to remember that most people will take Ritalin because it’s been prescribed by a medical professional.

However, if someone starts taking Ritalin recreationally, you may notice the following signs:

  • Changes in character
  • Complaints of dry mouth
  • Intense mood swings
  • Anxious behavior
  • Trembling
  • Rapid breathing
  • Excessive bursts of energy
  • Secretive behavior
  • Low mood
  • Paranoia

Why Would Someone Take Ritalin?

Most Ritalin users have the drug prescribed to help with ADHD or narcolepsy. The drug imparts additional focus to help with ADHD and provides the stimulation required to prevent narcolepsy episodes.

Ritalin is also taken recreationally by people looking to gain more focus, stay up for longer, or simply feel the pleasure and euphoria associated with stimulants.

This desire could be driven by:

  • Work or college demands
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Negative events in the person’s life
  • Bereavement
  • Relationship breakdown

Stimulant use or misuse is almost always problematic because so many stimulants are addictive.

How To Help Someone With a Ritalin Use Disorder

The most important thing when dealing with Ritalin substance abuse is to be compassionate. Consider that:

  • The person may not realize that they have become addicted. Talk to them about their habit, and they may realize for themselves that they have lost control. This may prompt them to seek help.
  • Learn what you can about the drug and Ritalin addiction support, so you can support them in the best way possible.
  • Seek help and provide relevant resources to help the person realize they are not alone. If they suffer from an overdose, this can be the wake-up call they need to get help, so offer assistance and support to get them on that path.

Zinnia Health can offer a way out of Ritalin abuse and addiction back toward normality. Our team here at Zinnia Health understands the challenges of overcoming Ritalin use disorder and is committed to helping anyone achieve lasting recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439.

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(855) 430-9439
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