Concerta Addiction and Abuse

Originally Posted On: Concerta Addiction and Abuse

Understanding Concerta (Methylphenidate)

Concerta pills are cylindrical in form and come in a variety of colors such as gray, red, yellow, or white depending upon their potency. They are manufactured in strengths of 18 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg, and 54 mg. Concerta is the brand name of methylphenidate. Some other brand names for methylphenidate include:

  • Metadate ER
  • Ritalin LA
  • Ritalin
  • Ritalin SR
  • Aptensio XR
  • Metadate CD

Concerta is commonly used as a stimulant to improve attention span and reduce hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Stimulants such as Concerta provide a soothing impact on individuals with ADHD and other related disorders by improving pathways of the brain to better communicate with one another. The medication also steadily increases dopamine in the brain, providing a therapeutic benefit for those with ADHD and other similar diagnoses. However, if these medications are used by those who don’t have ADHD, the drug’s effect, in contrast, would be hyperactivity and over stimulation.

Some individuals misuse Concerta by consuming more pills than prescribed or grinding and snorting huge amounts of Concerta for an intense high. The drug may also be abused intravenously. Street names of Concerta may include kiddy cocaine, kibbles & bits, pineapple, Smarties, skittles, and kiddie coke.

Concerta Effects, Abuse, and Addiction

Purchasing or using Concerta without a prescription is considered abuse. Those who increase their prescribed dosage or frequency of consumption without their doctor’s approval is considered Concerta misuse.

Concerta activates chemicals in the brain and nervous system that correspond to impulse control and hyperactivity. It is a medication generally prescribed for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. While many take Concerta to manage these disorders, some prefer Concerta for its stimulating properties.

People are also known to abuse Concerta to:

  • Improve academic performance: As a stimulant, Concerta improves attention, concentration, attentiveness, and energy levels. College-aged students are known to use stimulants as study aids.
  • Lose weight: Stimulants are hunger suppressants. Therefore, many consume the drug in the hopes of losing weight.
  • Get High: Since Concerta stimulates the brain’s dopamine system, the medication can induce a high on individuals without ADHD or other similar disorders when consumed. Increased levels of dopamine results in heightened levels of pleasure and concentration.

Over consumption of Concerta may lead to overdose that can affect the person both physically and psychologically.

Physical symptoms of Concerta overdose may include:

  • Headache
  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sinus arrhythmia
  • Vomiting
  • Twitching
  • Convulsions
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Dry mouth
  • Uncontrollable tremors
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid breathing
  • Restlessness

Psychological symptoms of Concerta overdose may include:

  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Manic-like state
  • Psychoses
  • Aggression
  • Panic attacks
  • Disorientation
  • Mental confusion

Concerta abuse can cause tremendous strain on the heart and cardiovascular system of the user. In the most critical circumstances, Concerta misuse can lead to cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack, low or high blood pressure, stroke, circulation failure, fatal drug poisoning, seizure, and coma.

The chemical composition of Concerta is identical and equally addictive to other stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamine. Addiction to Concerta can develop quickly and easily. The effects of the drug can have you hooked and lead to repeated abuse. Over time, when the frequent abuse turns into a more regular one, the individual will develop an addiction or dependency on the drug.

Concerta is categorized as a Schedule II drug, which means that the drug has both a medicinal purpose and a high potential for misuse. All consumption of Concerta prescriptions or otherwise stand a chance of developing dependence and, eventually, an addiction.

Concerta, when injected or snorted, acts in the same manner as an amphetamine formulation, such as methamphetamine. Hence, this method of consumption can result in adverse physical and psychological effects.

Concerta Abuse Statistics

  • 6.4 Million: About 6.4 million children aged four to seventeen years have been diagnosed with ADHD.
  • 1/3 College Students: About one-third of college students have misused stimulants, such as Concerta.
  • 15,585 ER Visits: 15,585 emergency room visits relating to the use of ADHD medications, such as Concerta, were recorded in 2010.

Recognizing a Concerta Addiction

The behaviors that suggest Concerta addiction are:

  • Frequent or very constant cravings for Concerta.
  • Investing more and more time in purchasing and using the substance.
  • Wishing to stop the substance abuse but ending up relapsing back into the habit.
  • Continuing to abuse Concerta, although it poses health complications.
  • Running into financial troubles due to Concerta abuse.
  • Alienating oneself from family and friends, as the addiction takes control of the individual’s life.
  • Retreating into Concerta use whenever there is an exam or assignment.
  • Neglecting work and family obligations.
  • Unable to function normally without drug use.
  • Doctor shopping to acquire more medication.

It is normal for an individual to underestimate the harmful nature of Concerta. However, it should be understood that these stimulants work quickly to develop a psychological dependence. Making the user believe that the substance is essential to promote academic and work excellence.

Concerta Withdrawal and Symptoms

When Concerta addiction occurs, the patient may suffer uncomfortable withdrawal effects if they avoid taking or reducing their drug dosage. Withdrawal is the body’s reaction to no longer having the medication it depended upon, as the body became so used to the effects of Concerta that it can no longer function as normal without the substance.

Any decision to discontinue Concerta must be conducted under a doctor’s supervision since withdrawal from the medication can cause traumatizing physical and psychological effects that make it more challenging for the patient to achieve and sustain sobriety.

Concerta withdrawal is often referred to as the Concerta Crash. Signs of withdrawal differ based on the nature and history of Concerta addiction. Long-term reliance on Concerta typically results in more severe and longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms.

General and severe symptoms of Concerta withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Dysphoria
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Irregular blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares
  • Increased appetite
  • Foggy thinking

Duration of Withdrawal

Withdrawal from Concerta typically starts within 24 hours from the last dose, while some may even take a few days. Concerta withdrawal usually lasts no more than seven days, although some of the symptoms recognized as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can persist for many months.

Quitting cold turkey usually results in a more severe yet shorter withdrawal period. While tapering off usage can take longer, but this is generally the preferred form of detoxing since the withdrawal is often less severe.

Common Concerta Drug Combinations and Dangers Associated with Concerta

Concerta is often used in conjunction with other substances, such as alcohol, particularly among college students. Combining Concerta with alcohol will overcome the depressant impact of alcohol, leading them to drink more and more as they are unable to feel its usual effects. This raises the likelihood of alcohol intoxication, which can be lethal. Combining this medication with alcohol can also increase the unpleasant side effects of Concerta, such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, anxiety, and impaired Focus.

When Concerta is injected or snorted in large doses, it may result in significant levels of dopamine being released in the brain, contributing to extreme consequences.

Intervention for a Concerta Problem

In most scenarios of substance abuse, it is usually the family and friends who notice the addiction first. For such scenarios, interventions are an ideal initial step towards helping one acknowledge and overcome their addiction. If carried out correctly, interventions can be an effective tool against addiction. Hence it would be advisable to seek the help of a professional interventionist.

The interventionist will help you create an ideal environment or a safe space to conduct your intervention as well as provide advice and guidance on how to best move forward. As confronting an individual with substance abuse is an emotional and unpredictable event, the guidance and instructions of a professional interventionist are highly recommended.

Concerta Addiction Treatment

A doctor or a treatment specialist at the treatment center will first assess the severity of the Concerta addiction in the individual, after which the appropriate care and individualized treatment plan will be crafted based on their results. Concerta addiction treatments are primarily provided through inpatient and outpatient facilities, with the level of care depending on factors such as the support given at home, the gravity of the drug addiction, and any other underlying mental or health complications. Since Concerta is widely misused with the presumption of improving academic performance, it is not unusual for Concerta addiction treatment programs to include new learning habits and techniques to help individuals improve performance at Work and school without the influence of stimulants.

Like any other substance abuse treatment programs, Concerta treatment programs are also comprised of therapies, counseling, and medical detox. Behavioral therapies, such as Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), equip patients with healthy coping mechanisms to prevent spontaneous urges and help them address the root causes that led to their addiction. While Motivational Interviewing is a non-confrontational approach that assists individuals in developing the motivation to quit the addiction and to accept themselves, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an approach that helps to change the negative thoughts into positive ones and boost self-esteem and ethical behaviors.

Group therapies, individual therapies, and homework in between sessions are typical amongst specific substance abuse treatment programs.

Patients are also taught relapse prevention and communication skills during these sessions while being allowed to form support groups with individuals who have the same goals of being sober or drug-free. Other holistic therapy programs such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness techniques, chiropractic care, stress management techniques, acupuncture, massage therapy, nutritional meal planning, and fitness programs can also be found in treatment programs to establish long-term recovery.

It is important that those who wish to quit Concerta seek the assistance of a professional treatment center as abrupt cease of Concerta consumption can lead to severe psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient Rehab for Concerta Addiction

Highly effective in treating all sorts of substance addictions, inpatient rehabs are residential treatment facilities that offer the utmost care, support, and assistance for patients. This rehab is the go-to choice of many individuals with severe addiction, as it is structured to provide patients with a safe, supportive, and medically-supervised treatment environment void of all distractions and temptations.

Inpatient rehabs offer programs that may last as short as 28 days or as long as several months, depending on the gravity of the patient’s addiction and psychological condition. Patients will also be treated for co-occurring disorders along with substance abuse during their stay.

The best way to manage Concerta withdrawal is through a prescribed tapering program. This method is simply the process of allowing the individual to gradually reduce their drug intake over a few weeks so that the withdrawal symptoms are kept to a minimum until the patient is safely removed from their addiction.

Counseling is a vital part of any treatment program, as it helps an individual change the way they respond or react to certain triggers that may carry them towards Concerta abuse once again.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most effective ways to address addictive behaviors and target the components of psychological dependencies to Concerta through one-on-one therapy sessions. Apart from this, inpatient rehabs also provide therapeutic approaches to treat Concerta addiction, such as:

  • Biofeedback
  • Neurofeedback
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Pet therapy
  • 12-step programs
  • Experiential therapy
  • Yoga and meditation