The most common uses of Ritalin are to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. The drug is usually consumed orally to boost focus and alertness. If used under a medical professional’s guidance, it is relatively safe to use as a first-line ADHD medication.
In addition to its stimulating effects, some people use Ritalin recreationally for its euphoric effects. Students on college campuses misuse it for performance enhancement and focus enhancement.
Those who snort the drug, however, are likely to experience more intense effects and may become addicted to it. Can the drug be administered intranasally? Can prescription stimulants such as Ritalin be snorted?
Why Misuse Ritalin?
For many people who take Ritalin under prescription, it is a useful medication, but it is also often misused in various ways. People who do not need a prescription may use it for therapeutic reasons and recreational purposes to achieve a euphoric high.
Ritalin abuse is common on college campuses, and so is the misuse of other ADHD medications. Students are often under a lot of pressure while in college, leading them to make desperate decisions. Aside from coffee, many students take “study drugs” to enhance their focus and stay awake through long study sessions and retain more information.
Amphetamine analogs (such as Adderall and Ritalin) are said to provide students with greater motivation for studying and completing tasks. However, the usefulness of prescription stimulants as study drugs for people who don’t have ADHD hasn’t been definitively proven. Ritalin and other prescription stimulants are relatively easy to obtain on college campuses, and many students have encountered them.
Misusing these drugs can be dangerous. Ritalin’s side effects include anxiety, insomnia, appetite loss, and anxiety. If students pull too many all-nighters, the drug can lead to exhaustion and malnutrition.
An average dose can stimulate users, enhancing their focus and making them feel awake. At higher doses, users may experience euphoria, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, and elevated heart rates.
While many people use Ritalin as a study drug, people who snort Ritalin likely do so as part of recreational drug use. In an attempt to create a similar experience to cocaine, they may want to increase Ritalin’s intensity by snorting it.
What Is Ritalin and How Does It Work?
Ritalin is a brand-name prescription drug that contains methylphenidate as its primary active ingredient. Methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant, which means it increases nervous system activity.
As an amphetamine analog, its effects are similar to those of Adderall. The drug is absorbed into the bloodstream in amounts between 11% and 52% when taken orally. An hour after taking the drug, you will begin to feel its stimulating effects. The effects of these drugs usually peak two hours after they are taken. In some cases, patients could feel the drug’s effects for a longer period with extended-release versions.
As soon as it enters your bloodstream, it can start to make its way to your brain, where it produces psychoactive effects. Excitation, motivation, and mood enhancement can be caused by the stimulant’s interaction with the brain’s “feel-good chemicals.”
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes differences in the brain that lead to difficulty focusing, among other symptoms. In people with ADHD or attention-deficit disorder (ADD), Ritalin can correct a chemical difference in the brain that hinders focus or motivation.
Methylphenidate belongs to the class of drugs known as norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). Motivating and rewarding chemical messengers are released, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. It is also possible to experience stimulating effects from Ritalin without ADHD.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are produced as part of your normal neural chemistry. Certain everyday activities trigger the release of these chemicals. As soon as there are enough chemicals in your system to produce the intended effects, reuptake removes them from your system.
By blocking this process and allowing more of these natural chemicals to bind to receptors, Ritalin creates significant stimulating effects. As a result, Ritalin floods your receptors with more dopamine, increasing the number of chemicals released into your brain.
What Are the Means of Administration?
A drug’s “means of administration” refers to how it enters the body. The first step in affecting your brain involves getting past the liver and then the blood-brain barrier. These roadblocks filter out most chemicals, but some make it through.
Various methods of administering drugs exist, such as oral intake, sublingual (under the tongue), intranasal, and intravenous administration. A drug’s bioavailability depends on its route of administration, which determines how well it reaches the bloodstream.
The effects of some drugs may be stronger or more rapid depending on where they enter the body. Almost all drugs can be absorbed more efficiently through intravenous injections because they enter the bloodstream directly.
Prescription Ritalin is most commonly prescribed for oral administration. It is estimated that only 30% of Ritalin enters your bloodstream, despite an oral bioavailability that ranges from 11% to 52%. Like other stimulants (such as amphetamines), Ritalin enters the bloodstream faster when snorted. Users who snort the drug also experience its effects more rapidly. Taking Ritalin by mouth determines its dosage. It is possible for a pill to deliver a dangerously high dose when it is crushed and snorted.
The Effects of Snorting Ritalin
Snorting Ritalin generally has stronger effects than taking Ritalin orally. Within minutes, if not immediately, you’ll begin to experience cognitive effects. It can cause feelings of alertness, increased focus, euphoria, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, and sleep problems.
The effects of stimulants on your heart rate and blood pressure are multifaceted. When you snort Ritalin, you can experience heart palpitations and high blood pressure, but when you take a prescribed dose, your heart rate should only increase slightly. If snorted in large amounts, overdoses or strokes can occur.
Despite Ritalin’s relative safety, it should never be used for any other purpose than what it was prescribed for.
Can Snorting Ritalin Cause a Deadly Overdose?
Ritalin overdoses can occur when the drug is taken in excess, especially when snorted. You receive a higher dose of Ritalin by snorting it than by swallowing it. When you take high doses all at once, you may experience uncomfortable or even deadly side effects.
Prescription pills provide a higher dose of methylphenidate to compensate for Ritalin’s 30% delivery. The dose that actually reaches your bloodstream increases when snorted since it is not intended for snorting.
Ritalin is also available in extended-release forms. The term “extended-release” refers to drugs that release a substance over a long period. Chronically ill patients can get relief throughout the day with a tablet taken once. An extended-release pill contains a higher dose of medication than an immediate-release pill.
Additionally, the tablets slowly dissolve through digestion and release small amounts of the drug over time. Crushing the pill compromises this system. When a pill is crushed, a greater dose is delivered than can be managed at one time, resulting in an overdose.
Overdose symptoms can include heart failure and heart arrhythmias. Some medications can increase serotonin levels and cause serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome includes seizures, panic attacks, and hallucinations.
What Are Ritalin’s Physical Effects?
By changing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the synapse and affecting the absorption of these neurotransmitters, Ritalin affects brain activity. Typically, a low dose is started, and levels are slowly increased as needed.
If you have ADHD, you will be able to focus more clearly, gain more control over your actions, and fidget less when you take Ritalin. The medication can worsen anxiety or agitation if you are prone to them. People who take Ritalin may experience blurry vision or other eyesight changes. It is also possible to experience:
- Feeling nervous
- Fast heartbeat
- Mood swings
- Increased blood pressure
High doses can cause more severe effects, which can include:
- Twitching in the arms and legs
- Mood changes
You should report these symptoms to your doctor.
Overdosing on Ritalin may result in potentially serious symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and appetite changes. If you experience any adverse side effects while taking Ritalin, you should consult your prescribing physician.
The Inherent Dangers of Snorting Drugs?
Insufflating (snorting) drugs of any kind has its unique dangers. Powdered substances, such as crushed Ritalin tablets, can irritate your nostrils and nose’s passageways. Additionally, it can cause pain, redness, and inflammation. Some substances can cause extreme pain when snorted.
Furthermore, other contaminants can also damage your nasal passageways, in addition to chemically active drugs. If you use chronic intranasal drugs, it is possible you could lose the function of either your right or left nostril. You may lose the ability to smell or find it more difficult to breathe through your nose as you age. When snorting complications are severe, infections can spread to the lungs.