Ritalin Withdrawal

Ritalin is the brand name for the medication methylphenidate. Acting as a central nervous system stimulant, Ritalin was designed to interact with certain chemicals in the brain as well as various nerves that correlate to hyperactivity and impulse control.

It is often prescribed to individuals suffering from different attention disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is even listed as a medication to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

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But like cocaine, Ritalin is habit-forming, meaning it is addictive. Developing a physical and mental dependence on the drug is common among its users, and stopping can be difficult.

While Ritalin possesses real medical uses, it is very often abused because of its stimulant-like effects on the body. It can create feelings of euphoria like cocaine and other stimulants, while simultaneously increasing mental performance among many people, making it desirable for college students looking for an edge.

What Are the Ritalin Withdrawal Symptoms?

When people abuse Ritalin, they often take higher doses than prescribed. They may also resort to snorting the drug in order to obtain a more intense, quicker high. Over time, a habit develops and the individual may find themselves dependant on Ritalin.

Whenever stopping Ritalin, an addicted person will undergo various withdrawal symptoms as a result of the drug interfering with the brain’s dopamine (feel-good chemical) production. By flooding the brain with dopamine, it depletes the natural stores of the chemical, and the brain relies on the drug to supplement the missing dopamine.

When you remove the drug, it takes some time for the brain to acclimate to normal dopamine levels and production once more. In the interim, you may experience Ritalin withdrawal symptoms such as:


  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Hunger
  • Depression
  • Vivid dreams & nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Cravings for Ritalin


These symptoms can be mild to severe depending on the duration of Ritalin abuse as well as the amounts of Ritalin taken. Users can often experience a crash after stopping the drug, which boasts more intense withdrawal symptoms.

What Are the Stages of the Ritalin Withdrawal Timeline?

Ritalin withdrawals can begin as soon as a few hours after the final dose is administered. The onset of withdrawal symptoms will begin, starting with feelings of agitation, anxiety, and depression. It is during this stage the cravings for the drug will be strongest in order to combat these symptoms.

restlessness of coming down

The emotional and mental Ritalin withdrawal symptoms are harrowing. Much like its stimulant counterparts, the primary source of discomfort throughout the withdrawal process is centered on the mind. Anxiety and agitation are the most commonly cited mental Ritalin withdrawal symptoms. It is the feeling of “crawling out of your skin” that may entice addicts to return to using once more.

The restlessness of coming down off of a Ritalin high can be debilitating. Also known as a “crash”, it is the physical and mental symptoms Ritalin users encounter as their high from the medication fades and they settle back into normalcy.

As the brain fights to regain internal balance and regulate itself once more, thoughts and feelings are often racing and can lead to insomnia.


You will experience the most discomfort. Intense fatigue, nausea, agitation, and even uncontrollable shaking may be present. Throughout the first few days, these symptoms will begin to lessen and eventually the worst physical symptoms will fade.


Ritalin withdrawals, as the physical symptoms die down, intense cravings and lingering insomnia may be experienced. Since Ritalin is a stimulant, it directly impacts the sleep schedule of its users. It may take several days to a week to regain some sort of normalcy when it comes to sleeping patterns. During this time, psychological symptoms will peak such as depression and anxiety as the brain attempts to level itself out.


Ritalin withdrawals, the user may still experience difficulties sleeping and continued anxiety and depression. The cravings for the drug will return in waves throughout this time.


Withdrawals maintains difficulties with sleeping and cravings for Ritalin. Fleeting feelings of nervousness and depression may also still be present.

The withdrawal process from Ritalin may continue up to several months after stopping the drug, with the severity of symptoms decreasing over time. Mood swings, insomnia, and cravings are common occurrences throughout the following months, which vary in severity based on how long you used the drug and how much. If you took Ritalin more often at higher doses, expect to experience a longer withdrawal process than that of a person who used less for a shorter period of time.

Give our experts a call today! We are here to help you through your withdrawal period.

Give our experts a call today! We are here to help you through your withdrawal period.

Why Should I Detox?

While Ritalin withdrawals are not necessarily life threatening, they do produce a high level of discomfort for many people addicted to the drug. Stopping cold turkey will create an almost immediate onset of withdrawal symptoms that may be too intense for you, leading you back to using Ritalin.

The severe depression experienced as a result of stopping Ritalin can be dangerous, as well. Users in full blown Ritalin withdrawals experience severe mood swings and mental instability due to the chemical imbalance their addiction has caused. As the brain attempts to regulate itself once more, these racing thoughts and vast shifts in mood can cause various psychological issues. Suicidal ideations are often encountered during the Ritalin withdrawal process, and having psychological support is crucial during this time.

What is the Next Treatment Step?

If you are ready to stop taking Ritalin, it’s important to undergo the full continuum of treatment for a better chance at success in recovery. The first step is to enter a medical detox facility. Staffed by a full medical team as well as psychological support staff, you’ll be assessed upon arrival and provided various withdrawal medications that will ease the symptoms you’ll encounter during detox.

While at detox, your physical well-being will be monitored 24/7 as round the clock medical support staff will ensure your comfort and safety during the detox process.

Ritalin Withdrawal Timeline

You’ll also have access to counselors and case managers who can help you take the first steps in the therapy aspect of treatment, providing emotional support during the difficult time in detox.

Following a successful detox, you’ll head off to a residential treatment facility. Here, you’ll stay an average of 30 to 45 days (sometimes shorter, sometimes longer) which varies on a case-by-case basis. With the withdrawal process behind you, you can more intently focus on the therapy aspect of treatment.

You’ll encounter full-time intensive therapy using a variety of proven methods designed to help treat the underlying causes of your addiction. Addressing these issues can help you better understand why you struggle with addiction as well as understanding the disease of addiction as a whole.

After completing residential, it is recommended you follow up your treatment with attending an IOP (intensive outpatient) program. Here, you’ll do part-time therapy, usually in a group setting, that will help act as a buffer for you as you return to the hustle and bustle of normal life. Acclimating to life in recovery can be challenging, and by undergoing IOP, you can be provided addiction support during the difficult transition time, as well as be kept accountable to your sobriety by being subjected to drug testing in the program.

By completing the full-continuum of addiction treatment, your likelihood of success in sobriety and maintaining long-term recovery is far more likely. Each step prepares you for the next phase in your addiction treatment and life and can help provide a solid foundation for you to build a happy, healthy life in recovery upon.

Are you or someone you love currently struggling with Ritalin addiction? Let Palm Beach Institute help you! With almost 50 years of experience in addiction treatment, our addiction professionals are waiting by the phone 24/7 to get you connected to the help you need. By calling now at (855) 960-5456, you’ll begin the admissions process and take the first step toward your new life in recovery! Don’t delay; get the help you need and deserve now!