Substance Use

Why is Ritalin an “upper” drug?

Posted on 28 November 2010 by admin

Ritalin is a prescription drug that is sometimes given to people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). People with ADHD might have difficulty concentrating and might be unable to stay still for any length of time. So if Ritalin is a drug that might improve the concentration and attention-span of people with ADHD, how could it be an upper? It might not seem to make a whole lot of sense.

The chemical balance in the brain of someone with ADHD will be different from someone who does not have ADHD. Some research suggests that people with ADHD have low levels of a chemical called dopamine, which can motivate people and increase joy. So in simple terms, Ritalin can help increase the dopamine levels for people with ADHD. If someone has regular levels of dopamine already, then Ritalin will increase those levels even more, and can make someone “high”, or bring them “up”.