Last updated: 05/6/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Concerta is a prescription stimulant that treats ADHD. Unfortunately, the drug is often abused by those looking to experience a high or exploit its effects. Concerta misuse can quickly lead to addiction, which often requires treatment in a rehab facility.
Understanding Concerta Abuse
Concerta is the brand name for the drug methylphenidate, which is used to treat both ADHD and narcolepsy. “It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain.” Because Concerta itself is a long-acting drug, it releases its effects slowly when taken as prescribed.
However, many individuals abuse prescription stimulants for a number of reasons, including:
- To experience the high stimulants can cause in high doses
- To enhance school or athletic performance
- To increase social abilities
- To stay awake longer
- To lose weight
Anyone who uses this medication for one of these reasons is likely abusing it. One should only take Concerta exactly as prescribed and for the reasons it is prescribed. Many people crush and snort the tablet, though, to experience the full effects of the drug immediately, which is very dangerous and can lead to overdose, heart attack, and stroke.
Signs and Symptoms of Concerta Abuse
It is usually very easy to recognize someone who is abusing Concerta. Intranasal abuse produces effects rapidly that are similar to the effects of cocaine in both onset and type. These can include:
- Dilated pupils
- Increase in body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate
- Decreased appetite
- Increased energy
People often start abusing Concerta because of its desirable effects, like the ability to keep someone awake and alert. As stated above, some individuals even take the medication without a prescription in order to enhance their school performance. Research has shown that students who abuse prescription stimulants actually have lower GPAs in high school and college than those who don’t.
The drug will also make someone very talkative and hyper, which is another reason why many people enjoy using it. But individuals can swing from a happy, energetic mood to irritability and anxiety very quickly, especially when taking large doses of the drug. In addition, once the high wears off, the individual will often crash, becoming very fatigued and possibly even depressed. This binge-crash cycle is common among stimulant abusers and often becomes more intense the longer the abuse continues and the higher one’s doses are.
Like most stimulants, Concerta can become addictive if abused consistently. Chronic abusive use can lead to marked tolerance and psychological dependence with varying degrees of abnormal behavior.” Full-blown psychosis can sometimes occur, and the individual may become a danger to themselves and others, experiencing homicidal or suicidal thoughts, violent outbursts, and hallucinations.
Those who become addicted to Concerta are often unable to stop using the drug, even if they can see the serious issues their use is causing. In certain instances, individuals may also move on to more severe illicit stimulants like cocaine or crystal meth in order to counteract tolerance. The longer a person abuses a drug like Concerta without seeking help, the more severe the consequences are likely to be.
Concerta Addiction Treatment
Stimulant addiction requires professional treatment in many cases, especially because these drugs can cause serious psychological effects that can resurface months or even years after an individual stops abusing the drug. Certain medications may be used during treatment, especially early on, including antipsychotics and antidepressants, but the strongest treatment methods currently known for stimulant addiction are behavioral therapies.
These methods can help change the way patients feel and think about their Concerta abuse and help them learn how to avoid further issues with abuse in the future. In addition, patients need to be assessed and treated for any co-occurring disorders that may exist along with their addiction to Concerta.
Seek Treatment Today
Concerta can be a helpful medication for those who take it correctly, but it can create serious effects when abused, some of which may become deadly.