Concerta (methylphenidate) is a prescription stimulant in the same class as Ritalin. The chemical makeup of Concerta is similar to cocaine and amphetamine, which makes it highly addictive.
Those who use the drug recreationally, without a prescription, and those who take more than the prescribed dosage are at risk for developing an addiction to Concerta. Signs of Concerta addiction include:
- Needing higher doses to feel the drug’s effects (tolerance)
- Experiencing strong urges to use Concerta
- Finding new ways to obtain the drug—legally or illegally—in order to abuse it
- Using Concerta even if it’s causing issues with loved ones or responsibilities
A person with an addiction to Concerta will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug. Those with a Concerta addiction are advised not to quit taking the drug without medical supervision. A medical provider can set up a tapering program for the user where the drug will be administered in increasingly smaller doses. The medical professional will be able to help users manage and treat withdrawal symptoms.
“When abused by older teens or adults – especially if it’s crushed or poured from capsules then snorted or injected – the drug is more like other forms of amphetamine, including methamphetamine, that have damaging and addictive psychological and physical effects.” – Dr. Lawrence Diller, The Sacramento Bee, 2015
Understanding Concerta (Methylphenidate)
Concerta pills are cylindrical in shape and either red, gray, yellow, or white, depending on the potency. They are formulated in 18 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg, and 54 mg strengths. One brand name for Concerta is methylphenidate. Other brand names of methylphenidate include:
- Aptensio XR
- Metadate CD
- Metadate ER
- Ritalin LA
- Ritalin SR
Street names for Concerta include kibbles & bits, kiddy cocaine, pineapple, kiddie coke, smarties, and skittles. Concerta is a Schedule II regulated stimulant.
Concerta is primarily used as a stimulant medication to increase attention span and decrease hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
Concerta and other similar drugs are stimulants that have a calming effect and increase focus, so they are widely used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The drug also slowly raises the user’s dopamine levels in the brain, achieving a therapeutic effect.
Concerta affects chemicals in the brain and nervous system that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. It is often prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Although many people take Concerta to treat these conditions, others abuse the drug for its stimulant properties.
Concerta is often abused by crushing and snorting large doses of it for a more powerful high. The drug can also be abused intravenously.
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Concerta Effects and Abuse
Obtaining or using Concerta without a prescription is considered abuse. For those with a prescription, increasing the dose and/or frequency without the prescribing doctor’s recommendation is also considered Concerta abuse.
People may abuse Concerta to:
- Improve academic performance – As a stimulant, Concerta increases focus, concentration, alertness, and energy levels. College-age students commonly abuse stimulants as study aids.
- Weight lose – Stimulants are appetite suppressants, so people abuse Concerta in order to lose weight.
- Get high – Because Concerta activates the reward system in the brain, the drug can provide a high when taken by someone who is not being treated for ADHD. Increased dopamine levels are associated with attention and pleasure.
Taking too much Concerta can lead to overdose, which can be life-threatening.
A Concerta overdose can affect the individual both physically and psychologically. Physical Concerta overdose symptoms include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Sinus arrhythmia
- Dry mouth
Psychological symptoms of Concerta overdose include:
- Manic-like state
- Compulsive behaviors
Common Concerta Drug Combinations
Concerta is sometimes taken in combination with other drugs, such as alcohol, especially among college students. The mixing of Concerta with alcohol can have dangerous consequences.
As a stimulant, Concerta can override the depressant effects of alcohol. Users may not feel the effects of alcohol like they normally would, causing them to drink more. This increases the risk of alcohol poisoning.
Combining the drug with alcohol can also intensify the negative side effects of Concerta, such as nausea, headaches and dizziness. It can also cause anxiety and impaired concentration in the user.
Concerta Abuse Statistics
Approximately 6.4 million children ages four to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.
1/3 of all college students
Approximately one-third of all college students have abused stimulants like Concerta.
15,585 ER visits
There were 15,585 emergency room visits related to ADHD treatment medications like Concerta reported in 2010.
Overcoming a Concerta addiction can be difficult. Professional treatment can help with the process. Please call us now for help finding a Concerta addiction treatment program.