Treatment for Ritalin addiction begins with someone recognizing they have a problem. Without this key step, treatment is less likely to lead to recovery.
Detoxification is the process where an addict undergoes withdrawal under medical supervision. For Ritalin, this usually takes three days to a week. Any symptoms that emerge may be treated with medications to limit suffering. Sleep aids can help with insomnia. Anti-anxiety drugs can be used, and Clonidine (a blood pressure drug) is sometimes given to help ease cravings.
Along with any medications that might be prescribed, the recovering addict is evaluated for nutritional status. Vitamins and a healthy diet are usually part of detox. Patients are usually monitored if suicide risk is present and they are kept from obtaining more drugs – either by restricting visitors or confinement to the facility.
As a patient becomes more focused (even during withdrawal) they are able to process information and interact with counselors. Therapy can begin usually a day or two into the rehabilitation. Monitoring of physical status will continue. Because Ritalin clears the body fairly quickly, urine tests will expose hidden use and the tests are usually instituted to keep them ‘honest’.
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The goal of treatment therapy is to teach new behaviors and life-skills that will help maintain recovery and prevent relapse. Patients are taught about their addiction generally, and are counseled individually to find out what might lead to using.
Current therapeutic models combine one-on-one therapy with group sessions. Group sessions allow other users to share experiences and the consequences of abusing. Some newer therapies also incorporate family members and significant others.
Modern treatment facilities use a standard of ninety days of inpatient therapy as the most successful. However, because of costs, many programs are much shorter. Aftercare is considered just as important as initial treatment – Ritalin and stimulant addiction is considered a chronic disease, requiring long-term management.
12-step groups are a popular option because of their anonymity and low cost. Attendance allows addicts to continue to deal with their addiction and associated problems long-term. Many Ritalin addicts will relapse however. Amphetamine addiction may require multiple rounds of detox and rehab before extended periods of abstinence become the norm.
Time is an element in treatment for Ritalin addiction. More time clean is better. For addicts, recovery seems like a process of growing away from active addiction more than a complete cure. This is an important factor and many do not realize how much time is involved – years more than months.