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Concerta (methylphenidate) is a prescription medication used for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is a stimulant medication, which means it increases brain activity as well as heart rate and blood pressure. It affects dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter, and norepinephrine, which affects mood and blood pressure, helps regulate your central nervous system, and maintains certain organ functioning.1,2 Some people misuse Concerta to get high or help them stay awake. Concerta misuse can lead to addiction; however, treatment for Concerta addiction can help you quit using this stimulant drug and live a substance-free life.
Signs You May Need Treatment for Concerta Addiction
Concerta is most often prescribed for ADHD, but may also be prescribed for depression, narcolepsy, and cognitive disorders.³ It works by changing the amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.4 Because Concerta is categorized as a stimulant, much like cocaine and other amphetamine drugs, it can be misused, and you can become addicted. Chronic misuse of Concerta can lead to a diagnosis of a Concerta addiction or stimulant use disorder. Signs and symptoms of a stimulant use disorder can include:5
- Experiencing unsuccessful attempts to reduce or control stimulant use
- Cravings for the stimulant
- Using the stimulant more or more often than intended
- Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from stimulant use
- Neglecting to fulfill major life responsibilities, such as work or school, due to stimulant use
- Giving up or reducing vital life activities due to stimulant use
- Experiencing interpersonal problems caused by stimulant use
- Developing a high tolerance to the stimulant
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when abstaining from stimulant use
- Using the stimulant in hazardous situations
- Continuing to use the stimulant despite physical or psychological problems caused by stimulant use
If you have two or more of the above symptoms occurring in the same 12-month period, you may have a stimulant use disorder and require treatment for Concerta addiction. If you are taking Concerta as prescribed by a medical professional for a disorder, such as ADHD or narcolepsy, you may experience some of the above symptoms, such as withdrawal symptoms if you miss a dose, but that doesn’t mean you have a Concerta addiction.
Concerta Rehab Options
Treatment for Concerta addiction is available, and there are two main treatment options: inpatient and outpatient treatment. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice for you will depend on the severity of your addiction, your mental health, and your treatment preferences.
Inpatient Concerta Rehab
Inpatient Concerta rehab, which involves living at the treatment facility, is more intensive than outpatient treatment. This structured environment provides continuous, safe support from highly trained medical and mental health professionals. This option may be beneficial for those with a severe addiction, a polysubstance addiction, or a co-occurring mental health disorder.
Various therapies or interventions may be offered at inpatient care, depending on the rehab’s philosophy and treatment approach. Behavioral therapeutic approaches offered for inpatient treatment for Concerta addiction may include:6
- Group Therapy: A mental health expert facilitates discussions on various psychotherapy topics and/or treatment problems or concerns with a group of patients.
- The Matrix Model: This is an intensive treatment option that combines various evidence-based therapeutic techniques to help target the emotional, behavioral, and psychological components of addiction. This model is especially helpful if you struggle with stimulant addiction, like Concerta.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a therapy carried out by a trained therapist and focuses on addressing and reframing your thoughts and behaviors with short-term treatment goals.
- Motivational Interviewing and Enhancement Therapies: These therapies try to alleviate your uncertainty about stopping Concerta use and beginning treatment.
Inpatient treatment for Concerta addiction can provide around-the-clock support, medication management (if recommended), and remove access to places, people, or things that can trigger misuse. In addition, symptoms of Concerta withdrawal can be harmful, and an inpatient Concerta rehab can provide the detox services you need to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms.1
While there are several advantages to inpatient Concerta rehab, there are some disadvantages too. These may include inpatient treatments not necessarily covered by insurance, being away from loved ones, generally being more expensive, and the varying length of treatment depending on the facility. Also, there can be a greater adjustment period to recovery and sobriety after being in a controlled environment for an extended time.
Outpatient Concerta Rehab
Outpatient addiction treatment involves attending therapy and counseling during the day and returning home during non-treatment hours. It is a more flexible treatment option than inpatient, given that you may be able to keep working, attending school, or fulfilling other household obligations while recovering from Concerta addiction.
Outpatient Concerta rehab is typically recommended for individuals who need a less intensive, less structured environment for treatment. Outpatient treatment is generally cheaper than more intensive treatments, such as inpatient. Outpatient treatment can come in a variety of forms, including individual counseling and group counseling. Or there are more comprehensive programs, such as intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) or partial hospitalization programs (PHPs).
Since prescription stimulants such as Concerta can be difficult to abstain from if you have a more severe addiction or multiple relapses, outpatient treatment cannot remove the temptations for use in everyday life as inpatient rehab can do. Accountability can be more difficult with outpatient treatment, and the lack of structure may impact your ability to abstain.
If you find it difficult to show up for treatment or sessions or experience intense urges to use Concerta, a more intensive option may be the best option. With outpatient Concerta rehab treatment, a multi-pronged approach may be the most beneficial for success in your recovery.7
How to Choose a Concerta Addiction Treatment Program
Your choice of the best treatment for Concerta addiction depends on your needs, treatment preferences, and priorities. It may be helpful to consider certain aspects when selecting a program, such as:
- Cost of treatment
- Whether the program accepts your insurance
- Your level of need (e.g., inpatient vs. outpatient)
- Severity of your addiction
- The treatment setting and environment
- Where the program is located (e.g., close to home or family)
- The program’s accreditations
- Staff credentials
- Program rules
- Amenities and features
- Therapeutic community
- Collaborative care
- The types of treatments offered
- Your relapse history
If you need help finding a Concerta addiction treatment program, call our confidential helpline at 800-681-1058 (Who Answers?) . A treatment support specialist is available 24/7 to assist you.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, June 6). Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts.
- O’Donnell, J., Zeppenfeld, D., McConnell, E., Pena, S., & Nedergaard, M. (2012). Norepinephrine: a neuromodulator that boosts the function of multiple cell types to optimize CNS performance. Neurochemical research, 37(11), 2496-2512.
- Morton, W. A., & Stockton, G. G. (2000). Methylphenidate Abuse and Psychiatric Side Effects. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 2(5), 159-164.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2022). Methylphenidate: Medlineplus Drug Information. MedlinePlus.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. American Psychiatric Association Publishing.
- Treatment, C. for S. A. (2006). Chapter 8. intensive outpatient treatment approaches. Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 17). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts.