Concerta Abuse

Concerta (methylphenidate) is prescribed by doctors to treat the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults and children. It can also be used to treat narcolepsy, a disorder that causes extreme sleepiness and sudden, uncontrollable bouts of sleep.

Concerta, or methylphenidate, is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, “prescription stimulants have a calming and ‘focusing’ effect on individuals with ADHD… Treatment of ADHD with stimulants, often in conjunction with psychotherapy, helps to improve ADHD symptoms along with the patient’s self-esteem, thinking ability, and social and family interactions.”

Some users who do not have ADHD or narcolepsy take the medication without a prescription, expecting to improve their own thinking and performance. This, however, will not work, and will lead to addiction.

The NIDA explains that “prescription stimulants do promote wakefulness, but studies have found that they do not enhance learning or thinking ability when taken by people who do not actually have ADHD.” Further, abuse of the drug can lead to fatal health complications.

If you or someone you love is addicted to Concerta, call 800 774 5796 now to find the ideal substance abuse treatment for your individual needs.

Understanding Concerta Abuse

Concerta is a stimulant drug that works by speeding up the messages between your brain and your body to make you feel more alert and energetic. People abuse it to stay awake, increase focus, or suppress appetite for weight loss.

Stimulants also increase dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with movement, pleasure, and attention. When naturally produced, dopamine occurs by slow and steady increments, as it does when patients take Concerta as prescribed.

When taken in large doses, or by crushing and then injecting or snorting the medication, Concerta can cause euphoria due to an unnaturally rapid increase in dopamine levels. This effect promotes addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Concerta Abuse

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the abuse of Concerta may cause pleasurable effects such as:

  • Joy (euphoria, or “flash” or “rush”) and less inhibition, similar to being drunk
  • Feeling as if your thinking is extremely clear
  • Feeling more in control, self-confident
  • Wanting to be with and talk to people (more sociable)
  • Increased energy

Those who abuse Concerta often appear restless or very busy. They may also have trouble sleeping, act aggressively and begin losing weight. Other negative effects of Concerta abuse include:


Concerta abuse can cause disorientation.

  • Vomiting
  • Twitching
  • Convulsions
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Sinus arrhythmia
  • Dry mouth
  • Mania
  • Psychoses
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Disorientation

Dangers of Concerta Abuse

While abusing Concerta, some users may experience delusions, hallucinations, paranoia and psychosis. Depression and suicidal thoughts are also common among individuals addicted to Concerta.

The paranoia, aggression and psychosis caused by heavy Concerta use can lead addicts to either accidentally or purposefully harm themselves or others. Abuse of the drug can also result in heart attack, seizure, or stroke. It is important for addicts to seek help before too much damage is done.

Sustained use of Concerta will create a tolerance for the drug, forcing addicts to increase their dosage to experience the same effects. Higher doses of Concerta mean a greater risk of serious complications and death.

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Who Abuses Concerta?

A person of any age, gender, financial status, or ethnicity can become addicted to Concerta. Some people take it to try and accomplish more tasks in less time, or on less sleep. Some people take it to try and lose weight or achieve fitness goals. Some take it as a way to self-medicate their depression.

In all of these cases, the benefits are short-lived, and the substance abuse inevitably backfires, resulting in effects that are opposite to those which are desired. For example, while Concerta will make depressed people feel better initially, their low mood will become worse and worse each time the drug wears off, frequently leading to severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “a growing number of teenagers and young adults are abusing prescription stimulants to boost their study performance in an effort to improve their grades in school.” Many of these young people mistakenly believe that Concerta can result in cognitive enhancement, and therefore better grades.

However studies have shown that while they do indeed keep you awake, Concerta cannot improve mental sharpness or the ability to learn. In fact, students who abuse these drugs tend to have lower GPAs than non-users.

Concerta Addiction

Anyone, from any walk of life, can become addicted to Concerta. When used appropriately, under a doctor’s instructions, Concerta can improve a patient’s quality of life. But overuse and abuse will lead to addiction, and serious mental and physical consequences.

Because many forms of this medication are prescribed by doctors, users often believe that the drug is harmless, and non-addictive. This is a hazardous misconception. Concerta is only safe when used in a precise dosage, as determined by a medical doctor, to treat a specific medical condition. When you use Concerta to improve performance or get high, addiction occurs.

Am I Addicted to Concerta?


Being unable to stop Concerta despite negative consequences is a sign of addiction.

If you fear that you are addicted to Concerta, ask yourself the questions below, and be sure to answer honestly:

  • Do I abuse Concerta every day?
  • Do I abuse the drug in order to combat feelings of unhappiness, loneliness, depression, etc.?
  • Have friends or family members mentioned more than once that they are worried about my drug use?
  • Do I become hostile or angry when they do so?
  • Do I ever experience withdrawal symptoms such as: an inability to feel pleasure, fatigue and/or changes in sleep or energy levels, thoughts of suicide, anxiety and irritability, or intense cravings?
  • Do I feel like I can’t have fun, be normal, or complete everyday tasks without Concerta?
  • Am I secretive about my drug use, lying about when I use or how much I take?
  • Am I beginning to experience hallucinations, aggression, paranoia, or any other symptoms of psychosis?
  • Do I need more and more each time I abuse the drug in order to feel the effects?
  • Have I experienced any major problems in the last year, such as a breakup, job loss, car accident, family problems, financial problems, or getting arrested as a result of my drug use?
  • Despite these problems, do I feel unable to stop using Concerta on my own?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be addicted to Concerta and in need of professional help.

Concerta Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease.  The NIDA explains that “repeated drug use changes the brain, including parts of the brain that enable you to exert self-control. These and other changes can be seen clearly in brain imaging studies of people with drug addictions.”

This is why addicts require professional help to break the cycle of addiction. The substance abuse specialists at a qualified drug and alcohol treatment facility are trained in how to manage addiction and lead addicts safely to recovery.

There are a wide variety of affordable treatment options available, but all of them begin with abstaining from drug use.


Abstinence and detoxification is the first step to any recovery plan. A person needs clarity of mind and a body free from addictive substances before they can be effectively treated. While Concerta withdrawal is rarely dangerous, it is quite unpleasant, which can lead to relapse. Experiencing withdrawal in a rehab center under the care of medical professionals will ensure that you detox with as little discomfort as possible.


Whether addicts choose inpatient residential treatment, and/or outpatient treatment, all substance abuse recovery plans will include talk therapy. Individual therapy allows for patients to work intensively on issues specific only to them, while group therapy allows them to both support and experience support from other addicts who are struggling with similar issues. Family therapy is a valuable tool to ensure individuals encounter the best possible environment at home, to prevent relapse.

Other treatment options include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: CBT teaches patients to retrain their brains with new methods of coping with stress and cravings, and avoiding trigger situations
  • 12-step meetings: Meetings based on the 12-step program that originated with Alcoholics Anonymous are an invaluable resource to support long term sobriety.
  • Treatment for co-occurring conditions: most addicts suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues that underlie and fuel their substance abuse. These co-occurring disorders must be addressed as a part of recovery.
  • Nutrition, fitness and recreational therapy: a strong body is just as important as a strong mind when it comes to long-term recovery. The better a person feels, the more prepared they will be to handle life as it comes.

Seek Help Today

Addiction to Concerta can have devastating consequences for addicts and their loved ones, but recovery is possible. Call 800 774 5796 today to speak to one of our treatment advisors. We can help you find the ideal treatment for your needs.

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