Is Ritalin a Safer Drug than Adderall?

Both Ritalin and Adderall are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Let's go into the facts that include differences and similarities between these two psychostimulants.

Ritalin and Adderall are two prescription drugs that have been creating a lot of buzz of late. The drugs are similar in almost every way. What treatments are used are nearly identical as is their molecular makeup. But Ritalin and Adderall haven’t been in the news lately because of how similar they are; they are being talked about because of the role that they’re playing in an epidemic of prescription pills.

True, the majority of the prescription pills that are being abused are opiates but Ritalin and Adderall play an active role in the massive opiate addiction numbers of late. This is because written Ritalin and Adderall can be mixed with opiates in them to increase their potency. Not only that, but the drugs are dangerous because of what else they might lead to; methamphetamines.

Is Ritalin a Safer Drug than Adderall?

Active Ingredients in Ritalin and Adderall

The active ingredients in Adderall and Ritalin are different. But the molecular structure of the two compounds is nearly identical. For Ritalin, the active ingredient is called Methylphenidate. And for Adderall, the active ingredients are called dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. If these chemical names sound similar to methamphetamine to you, it’s because they are.

Specific Differences Between Ritalin and Adderall

Both Ritalin and Adderall are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. The active ingredients in the drugs work by reacting with the central nervous system. Once reacting with the central nervous system, neurotransmitters are flooded with dopamine which speeds up brain activity. At a glance, there is very little difference between these two drugs. The only huge inconsistency between the two prescription pills is that Ritalin works faster and wears off quicker. Adderall usually lasts from four to six hours while Ritalin is only active for 2 to 3.

The Side Effects of Ritalin and Adderall Abuse

Ritalin and Adderall are central nervous system stimulants. When used correctly and as prescribed, they can be an excellent treatment for helping people who have trouble focusing. But there are some side effects and these are dramatically increased if the drugs are misused. Side effects for Adderall and Ritalin can include insomnia, a loss of the desire to eat, dehydration, increased heart rate, anxiety, headache, and irritability. In addition, studies have shown that abuse of amphetamines of any kind (legal or otherwise) can change brain chemistry.

How Dangerous Are These ADHD Drugs?

Ritalin and Adderall can become dangerous when the drugs are abused. Although it might be relatively difficult to overdose on these drugs per se, the real danger from these prescriptions comes from their ability to be gateway drugs. Many meth users report having started using uppers in the form of Ritalin, Adderall, or something similar. And as mentioned before, the drug can be mixed with opiates to increase its potency. The risk of overdose from opiates is increased significantly when mixed with amphetamines.

The Bottom Line of Ritalin vs. Adderall

Since these drugs are nearly impossible to tell apart, the dangers and risks are equal for each drug. Comparing the two is akin to comparing similar-sized oranges: indistinguishable.

What if I'm Addicted to Adderall or Ritalin?

If you or someone you love is struggling with a dependency on legal amphetamines or otherwise, we at On Call Treatment can help. But the first step might perhaps be the hardest: reaching out. Reaching out is integral to get one’s life back on track. And fortunately, there are whole communities of people who have dedicated their existence to helping addicts do this very thing.