Concerta Misuse & Addiction
Concerta is a stimulant medication used primarily to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).1 In this article, you can learn more about what Concerta is, the drug’s side effects, as well as its potential for misuse and addiction.
You can also learn more about the signs and symptoms of Concerta addiction, Concerta withdrawal, and how to go about getting help for Concerta addiction for yourself or your loved one.
What Is Concerta?
Concerta is a brand name, extended-release formulation of the generic medication methylphenidate. This central nervous system (CNS) stimulant is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and indicated as part of a total treatment plan for ADHD in people from ages 6 to 65. Such treatment may include other psychological, behavioral, or social measures.1
Concerta may help increase attention span and reduce impulsive and hyperactive behavior in people with ADHD.1
Concerta Side Effects
Some people may experience side effects when taking Concerta. Concerta side effects can include:1
- Decreased appetite.
- Problems sleeping.
- Dry mouth.
- Increased sweating.
- Weight loss.
Concerta Misuse Health Risks
While Concerta can be an effective medication when taken as prescribed for ADHD, prescription stimulants can also be misused. Concerta misuse may involve:2
- Taking Concerta at a higher dose than was prescribed.
- Taking Concerta in a different way than prescribed, such as crushing and snorting the drug, or injecting it.
- Taking Concerta just to feel its effects—to get high from it.
- Taking someone else’s Concerta prescription.
Misusing Concerta exposes a person to additional health risks, such as:1
- Psychological and physiological dependence.
- Abnormal behavior.
- Psychotic episodes (especially with non-oral misuse).
At high doses, prescription stimulants can lead to:2
- An irregular heartbeat.
- Heart failure.
- A dangerously high body temperature.
Is Concerta Addictive?
Yes, Concerta misuse can lead to the development of a substance use disorder (SUD), or in the most severe form, addiction. Addiction is the continued compulsive use of a substance despite negative consequences.2
Methylphenidate, the main ingredient of Concerta, is classified as a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which means it has a known potential for misuse and addiction.1,3
Concerta and other stimulant drugs increase the activity of certain brain chemicals linked to reward. This can result in reinforcing effects, prompting people to repeat the drug-taking behavior persistently.2,4
Signs and Symptoms of Concerta Addiction
Substance use treatment professionals diagnose Concerta addiction as a stimulant use disorder. Criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) are used to aid in the diagnosis.5
According to the DSM-5, at least 2 of the following signs and symptoms within 12 months indicates a likely stimulant use disorder:5
- Taking the stimulant in larger amounts or for longer periods than was originally intended.
- A persistent desire or unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control stimulant use.
- Spending a substantial amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from using the stimulant.
- Cravings or a strong desire to use the stimulant.
- Recurrent use of the stimulant which results in failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school, or home.
- Continued stimulant use despite having persistent interpersonal conflicts caused or made worse because of stimulant use.
- Giving up or reducing important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of stimulant use.
- Using the stimulant in situations where it is physically hazardous.
- Continued use of the stimulant despite knowing that a physical or psychological problem is either caused or made worse by such use.
- Developing tolerance to the stimulant, which means increased amounts of the stimulant are taken to achieve the same effect. This criterion does not apply to someone taking Concerta as prescribed.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, often using the stimulant (or a closely related substance) to relieve or avoid these unwanted effects. This criterion does not apply to someone taking Concerta as prescribed.
With continued use of Concerta, physiological dependence may develop. Concerta withdrawal symptoms will result when a person abruptly reduces or stops their Concerta use.5
Symptoms of Concerta withdrawal and other prescription stimulant withdrawal can include:5
- Unable to sleep or sleeping too much.
- Unpleasant, vivid dreams.
- Increased appetite.
Although there are no FDA-approved medications for managing stimulant withdrawal, seeking professional assistance can provide valuable support to ensure safety and comfort during the Concerta withdrawal process and beyond.6
While an outpatient rehab program may provide adequate support for many, some people can experience more serious withdrawal symptoms that include severe depression, and even suicidality.6
In these rare cases, participating in a medical detox program can provide medical oversight and ensure a person’s safety.6
Concerta Addiction Treatment
If you or your loved one needs treatment for Concerta addiction, Greenhouse Treatment Center offers several different types of rehab. The spa-like facility provides both outpatient and inpatient rehab near Dallas.
Greenhouse uses evidence-based therapies shown to effectively treat stimulant use disorders. These include contingency management and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).7
You may be uncertain as to how to enter treatment, or how to pay for it. Simply call today to talk to a caring admissions navigator. The Greenhouse team is available 24/7 to answer your questions and walk you through starting the treatment admissions process.