No specific medication has gained widespread acceptance as having broad clinical effectiveness in the treatment of stimulant dependence. Nevertheless, medications are useful in managing particular manifestations of dependence in selected patients. Potential indications for pharmacotherapy include treatment of comorbid psychiatric disorders, management of stimulant withdrawal and other drug-induced mental disorders, treatment of concurrent substance use disorders (e.g., alcohol dependence), and facilitation of initial abstinence.
Dependence on Ritalin and other methylphenidates can lead to withdrawal once the drug is stopped. Withdrawal is the process of gradually cutting back on the amount of a drug being taken until it can be discontinued entirely. Withdrawal can cause a variety of side-effects, including depression, unusual behavior, and feelings of weakness and sleepiness. Users who stop taking methylphenidates should have their doses tapered down slowly under the direction of a physician. The most effective treatment for methylphenidate abusers is behavioral therapy, sometimes used in conjunction with antidepressants. One behavioral approach is cognitive-behavioral therapy (or talk therapy), which focuses on modifying the patient’s attitudes, thinking processes, and coping skills. Recovery support groups may also be helpful, especially in the months or years following addiction treatment.