Treating Addiction to Prescription Stimulants

Treatment of addiction to prescription stimulants, such as Ritalin, is often based on behavioral therapies proven effective for treating cocaine or methamphetamine addiction. At this time, there are no proven medications for the treatment of stimulant addiction. However, antidepressants may help manage the symptoms of depression that can accompany the early days of abstinence from stimulants.

Depending on the patient’s situation, the first steps in treating prescription stimulant addiction may be tapering off the drug’s dose and attempting to treat withdrawal symptoms. The detoxification process could then be followed by one of many behavioral therapies. Contingency management, for example, uses a system that enables patients to earn vouchers for drug-free urine tests. The vouchers can be exchanged for items that promote healthy living.

Another behavioral approach is cognitive-behavioral intervention, which focuses on modifying the patient’s thinking, expectations, and behaviors while at the same time increasing skills for coping with various life stressors. Recovery support groups may also be effective in conjunction with behavioral therapy.
Source: The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)