Attention deficit medication helps drug addicts: study

July 26, 2010

The active ingredient in Ritalin, a medication used to control the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, could help boost self-control in cocaine addicts, a study published Monday showed.

Yale University psychiatry professor Chiang-shan Ray Li administered Ritalin's active ingredient, methylphenidate, to volunteers who were addicted to cocaine, and asked the participants to perform a computer test that assessed .

The participants were instructed to quickly press a button whenever a "go" prompt appeared on the screen.

But randomly during the test, the "go" prompt was rapidly followed by a "stop" prompt, indicating that the subjects should resist the impulse to press "go."

Study participants who were given methylphenidate were better able to resist pressing the button than were participants who were given a placebo, the study published in the found.

"The main finding of this work is that improved inhibitory control in cocaine-dependent patients," the study says, suggesting that the active ingredient in Ritalin should be investigated as a treatment for disorders such as addictions, which are related to self-control deficits.

Explore further: Pediatric Ritalin may affect young brains

Related Stories

Pediatric Ritalin may affect young brains

July 18, 2007

U.S. medical researchers have discovered use of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Ritalin by young children might affect their brains.

Adult ADHD linked with dopamine levels

August 9, 2007

Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have a reduced response to the drug Ritalin, U.S. government scientists have found.

Ritalin may cause changes in the brain’s reward areas

February 4, 2009

( -- A common treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, prescribed millions of times a year, may change the brain in the same ways that cocaine does, a new study in mice suggests. Research from Rockefeller ...

Self-control impaired in type 2 diabetics

February 10, 2010

Type-2 diabetes, an increasingly common complication of obesity, is associated with poor impulse control. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine suggest that neurological changes ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2010
Give the addicts more drugs they can get high off of and addicted to!

It seems pretty obvious that Ritalin could be used to treat addiction, because an addiction is an impulsion, obsession and compulsion (not that these are mutually exclusive). Stimulants, dopamine releasing agents and dopamine reuptake inhibitors all have potential in mitigating obsessions (including suicidal ones) but also the potential of becoming obsessions themselves.
4 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2010

isn't that just trading a coke addiction with a meth addiction??
4 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2010
It is rather curious to employ a dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor(Ritalin) to treat an addiction to a dopamine-norepinephrine-serotonin reuptake inhibitor(cocaine). Though Ritalin is less potent and has a lower potential for addiction than cocaine, the treatment seems to be akin to that of methadone & heroin(i.e. moving the addict from a street drug to a pharmaceutical while maintaining the addiction, at least in the early phases).

To echo MichaelExe's point, Ritalin has the potential for psychological and physical addiction.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.