Concerta Addiction, Abuse, Side Effects and the Best Treatment Options Available

Concerta abuse and addiction are growing problems in our country. But so many people who are addicted to this ADD/ADHD drug avoid going through detox or rehab. The right treatment program is needed to help them stop using. This drug can be extremely dangerous when it is being abused.

Like other medications, people tend to think of Concerta as safe because it is a prescribed drug. But the reality is that their perceptions of safety only contribute to its risks. When people take it according to their doctors’ instructions, there is usually no problem. It works well, and people get relief from their symptoms. Problems arise when people abuse it, and this has been happening more and more over the last few years.

Everyone who is addicted to Concerta needs to know the risks associated with this drug. It can have a profound effect on the mind and body both in the short and long-term. We also want to make people are that recovery help is available. A quality treatment program can make a big difference in their lives.

What is Concerta?

Concerta is a Schedule II prescription stimulant that is very closely related to Ritalin. It’s often prescribed for both children and adults. It’s quite effective, but it’s also frequently abused.

The generic name for this drug is Methylphenidate Hcl. It may also be sold under several different brand names, such as:

  • Aptensio XR
  • Cotempla XR-ODT
  • Metadate CD or ER
  • Methylin
  • QuilliChew ER
  • Qullivant XR

It has many street names as well, which may be what abusers are more familiar with. The street names for Concerta include:

  • Skittles
  • Smarties
  • Kiddie Coke or Kiddie Cocaine
  • Kibbles & Bits
  • Pineapple

Doctors will usually prescribe Concerta to treat the symptoms of ADHD or ADD. It is a central nervous system stimulant that works by affecting chemicals in the brain. These chemicals regularly contribute to hyperactive behaviors. They also help to control impulses.

Sometimes a doctor may prescribe Concerta for an off-label reason. It has been shown to be effective in some individuals suffering from narcolepsy or other sleep disorders. Because it can result in weight loss, some physicians may prescribe it as a weight loss medication.

There are many ADHD drugs that have similar qualities. Concerta and Adderall are often thought to be the same medication. While they are comparable, there are a few differences between them.

  • Concerta comes in an extended release tablet. This means that some of the medication begins working right away. The rest of it will be released in the body slowly, over time.
  • Adderall comes in both immediate release and extended release forms.
  • Because of this, Concerta is designed to only be taken once a day.
  • Men who take Concerta run the risk of experiencing painful erections. This side effect isn’t present in Adderall.
  • The generic form of Adderall is much cheaper than the generic form of Concerta.

Overall, both medications can be very helpful when they’re used appropriately. Likewise, both can be dangerous when they’re abused as well.

Concerta Addiction Information

Concerta’s Side Effects

Maybe you realize that you’re addicted to Concerta, but you want to keep taking it because of all the benefits you’re experiencing. It’s helpful to be able to concentrate in school or while you’re working. However, that level of focus is coming to you at such a great expense.

If you’re taking this drug and you don’t have a prescription for it, the side effects are likely to be even worse. Doctors have good reasons for prescribing it, and for those who don’t need it, adverse effects are possible. It’s important to know what taking this drug can do to your mind and body.

It’s possible to experience some of the short-term effects of Concerta after only taking it one time. You could suffer from: 

  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • The onset of a fever
  • An increased heart rate
  • Terrible mood swings
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping at night
  • Stomach pain
  • Painful headaches
  • Bouts of dizziness
  • Painful erections in men

You likely started taking Concerta because you wanted to increase your focus. You wanted to be more alert and awake. It’s possible that you began taking it for the sensations of euphoria your friends had told you about. All of these will be experienced when taking it as well. However, you need to know that there are dangerous consequences that can result too.

The longer you take Concerta, the more apt you are to experience some of the long-term effects, and these can include:

  • Vivid auditory or visual hallucinations
  • A high blood pressure
  • Heart attack or other heart issues
  • Stroke
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • The onset of seizures
  • A tendency to bruise easily

Because of how quickly this drug can cause you to lose weight, even more health issues can arise when you’ve been taking it for a period of time. If there has ever been a time for you to get help for your Concerta addiction, it’s right now.

What Does it Mean to Abuse Stimulants?

When you abuse a stimulant drug, that means you’re using it outside of its intended purpose. Concerta is a medication that is only intended for certain people. It’s not something just anyone should use. This drug could be dangerous for you if you misuse it in any way.

There are a lot of examples of drug abuse, and they include:

  • Taking a medication without a doctor’s prescription.
  • Mixing this drug with other substances, such as alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Having a prescription, but taking too much of it at one time.
  • Taking doses more frequently than you should.
  • Chewing the tablets instead of swallowing them.

It’s common for people to be unaware that they’re abusing Concerta. The perceived safety of it tends to cloud their minds. If you’re misusing this medication in any way, you should stop right now. You may need to talk with someone to find out if you need treatment.

There are a lot of ways people can abuse Concerta to get high. Most will start out by simply swallowing the pills. Eventually, they may increase their dosages once they start to form a tolerance to it.

Eventually, they may begin chewing the pills or crushing them into a powder to snort them. This method will create a more immediate euphoric effect.

There are also individuals who will dissolve the pills in water or another solution and then inject them. This is incredibly dangerous because the drug contains insoluble fibers that can block blood vessels.

Do We Have a Study Drug Epidemic on Our Hands?

Most parents don’t realize how often their sons and daughters are abusing Concerta and other similar medications. They send their kids off to college to get an education, but they fail to recognize the pressure they’re under to succeed. That pressure is often what results in them turning to dangerous drugs that they feel will help.

Research tells us that drug use on college campuses is at an all-time high. Concerta is among the most popular options for students looking for ways to get ahead. Some will fake the symptoms of ADHD to get prescriptions from their doctors. Others will purchase the drug from their friends illegally.

Most students aren’t aware of the dangerous side effects associated with study drugs. However, even if they are aware, the benefits far outweigh the risks in their minds.

Ignoring the fact that people are abusing prescription stimulants like Concerta isn’t going to solve the problem. If anything, it’s only going to make it worse because we’re allowing it continue. SAMHSA offers some statistics that shed some light on this issue:

  • In 2005, there were 13,379 emergency room visits related to ADD/ADHD stimulant drugs.
  • By 2010, that number had gone up to more than 31,000.
  • Most of the people impacted by this increase were ages 18 and older.
  • In 2005, there were 5,212 emergency room visits related to the non-medical use of drugs like Concerta.
  • By 2010, that number had increased to 15,585.
  • The number of visits due to adverse reactions went from 5,085 in 2005 to 9,181 in 2010.
  • In about 45% of the cases, there were other prescription drugs involved in their visits.
  • About 21% of the visits also involved legal drugs.
  • About 19% of the visits also involved alcohol.

To make matters worse, the number of prescriptions written for ADHD drugs has soared in recent years. There were close to a million of them written in 2014. In 2010, there were about 661,000 written. In 2004, there were only 359,100 written.

Are we a nation that has become dependent upon stimulant drugs? It certainly appears so.

If you’re addicted to Concerta, you need to know the facts. It’s vital for you to know as much about the drug as you possibly can, including its effects and addictive potential.

How Addictive is Concerta?

If this medication is abused, it can be very addictive. However, some experts believe that Concerta is less of an abuse risk than other stimulants. Even so, when you’re continually abusing a drug, you’re putting yourself in danger of an addiction.

Continuing to abuse this medication is going to result in extreme changes in your brain. Your body will adapt to the consistent presence of the drug over time. This is what makes it so highly addictive.

If you’re using Concerta to get high, or abusing it for other purposes, it’s going to result in increased dopamine levels. Dopamine is the chemical in your brain that improves how you feel. The brain typically releases it throughout the day after activities like eating a good meal.

In high doses, Concerta will cause your brain to release a lot of dopamine at one time. As you continue to use, you will get used to those higher amounts. As even more time passes, your brain will come to rely on the drug for the chemical rush it produces. This means that it will stop releasing dopamine on its own.

When you no longer release dopamine on your own, you feel like you need to use to feel normal. You may start to get depressed or feel down without the medication. This is one way that you can tell you’re addicted.

There are a lot of ways you can tell if you’re addicted to Concerta. You may want to begin by simply looking for some of the signs of addiction in yourself.

Some of the physical signs you may have an addiction include:

  • Chronic sleep problems
  • A decrease in your appetite
  • Weight loss
  • An irregular heart rate
  • An increased blood pressure
  • An increased body temperature

Psychologically and behaviorally, you may experience:

  • Bouts of anxiety or even panic attacks
  • Anger and agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Bouts of paranoia
  • Problems making good decisions

People with Concerta addictions will frequently try to get multiple prescriptions from different doctors. This is known as Doctor Shopping, and it’s extremely dangerous. They may also try to purchase their medications online or on the street. If they can’t afford them, they may resort to stealing in order to get them.

If you’re still unsure about your relationship with Concerta, you may need to take further steps to get answers. It might be helpful to take a stimulants addiction quiz to get more information about your situation.

Can You Quit Using Concerta if You’re Addicted?

It is possible to quit taking this drug if you’re addicted to it. However, that’s something that should never be attempted outside professional help. You need to talk with an addiction treatment expert to find out the best way for you to proceed.

Still, it is possible to recover. Right now, you may feel that you’re so stuck in your addiction that there’s nothing you can do. We want you to know that isn’t true at all. With the right professional help, you can begin the journey of recovering.

Once you stop taking Concerta, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms that can be quite troubling. In fact, they are usually difficult enough to derail a quit very fast.

Some of the more common Concerta withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Chronic headaches
  • A decreased heart rate
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Fatigue during the day

You’re very likely to crave this drug once you stop taking it. The cravings can be very hard to resist.

Fortunately, if you get professional support, your recovery can be much easier. That’s why you should rely on the assistance of experts to help you through the transition of getting clean.

The worst thing you could do would be to just stop this drug cold turkey. Many people take this approach without realizing the risks involved. If you stop taking it abruptly, you’re likely to have intensified withdrawal symptoms. Some of these can be debilitating, or even life threating, such as:

  • Severe symptoms of depression
  • The possibility of suicidal thoughts
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • A decreased ability to focus
  • Lack of energy
  • Nausea and vomiting

There’s really no telling how long you might experience these and other symptoms. Most people who quit Concerta cold turkey will end up relapsing. When they do, they may go back to taking the same amount they were using before they quit. This puts them at risk for a fatal overdose.

Treating Your Concerta Addiction Properly

Addiction treatment professionals understand the right ways to treat this type of drug dependence. It’s important for you to trust their judgment. They’ve seen Concerta addiction before, and they know exactly what you need to recover.

Remember, you’re not in this by yourself. You don’t need to take matters into your own hands, and you’re more likely to be successful with help.

Detoxing From Concerta

Your first course of action will probably be to go through a stimulants detox program. This is going to help your body rid itself of those harmful toxins while improving your health at the same time. Detoxing is very important because it can speed up your physical recovery from this addiction.

There are different ways that doctors will treat patients during the detoxification process. Your doctor will talk with you about the various types of withdrawal treatments. Together, you’ll decide which will work best for you.

Most people find that they need to go through medical detoxification when they’re using stimulant drugs. You may need to begin by tapering down your dosage slowly, over time. This will give you time to adjust to having smaller doses of it. The goal will be to minimize any withdrawal symptoms so that you’re more comfortable.

You may also be given additional medications to help you with your symptoms. For instance, you may be offered an antidepressant to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.

There are other, non-medical ways of detoxing from Concerta as well. Because this drug reduces your appetite, your diet probably hasn’t been very healthy. It’s possible that when you do eat, you’re not eating the right foods. You will probably be meeting with a nutritionist to get your diet back on track. This will help you feel better and it will also improve the detoxification process.

Exercise is another non-medical form of detox. Your body will process toxins out through your pores when you sweat. You may find yourself starting to exercise a little bit every single day.

How Can a Stimulants Rehab Help You Through Recovery?

It’s not enough for you to just work on the physical part of your addiction. You also need to work on the mental part as well. Since you started using, your brain has been convinced that you need this drug. It’s vital to understand what it was that led you to become addicted to it. That’s what you’ll be working on during your stimulants treatment in therapy.

There are a lot of reasons why people turn to drugs to cope. Maybe you’re a college student and you truly believed that taking Concerta would make you smarter. It’s possible that you suffer from depression, and you like the way this drug makes you feel. Regardless of what it is, your therapist will help you find out and begin the healing process.

Are There Support Groups for Concerta Addicts?

You may want to consider going to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in your area. This is a program that was designed for drug addicts. The goal is to put you in touch with others who understand how you feel and what you’re going through.

NA meetings can be very helpful. However, this might not be the best option for you in the beginning of your recovery. You may want to attend meetings after you’ve completed your professional treatment.

Northpoint Washington: We are Here to Help With Concerta Addiction Recovery

Once a person gets addicted to Concerta, it can be very difficult to stop using it. Whether it is being used as a study drug, or as a way to get high, people need treatment to recover. Otherwise, they are very likely to go back to using.

At Northpoint Washington, our drug treatment program offers help for people who are addicted to Concerta. We take a personalized approach with our patients and because we keep our population small, we can give them the attention they need. Our facility only has 22 beds, and with such a high staff to patient ratio, this gives our patients an advantage in recovery.

When a patient walks through our doors, they feel like they are right at home. Our facility is very modern, but it is also quite comfortable. The patient is immediately set at ease by our staff members upon introduction. We let them know that we understand how hard it was for them to admit that they need help. Because so many of our staff members are also recovered addicts, we can relate to our patients on a more personal level.

We are located in Edmonds, Washington, which is perfect for people who live in the state. But there are some people who prefer to travel away from home to go to rehab. We can accommodate them as well.

Concerta addicts need the services we offer at Northpoint Washington. There are three phases of recovery that our patients go through once we begin working with them.

The first step is for them to go through detox. This allows us to better manage their withdrawal symptoms and keep them safe. It is possible to experience complications during Concerta withdrawal, but detoxing appropriately can help people avoid them. Most people with this addiction will be tapered off the drug slowly. Additional medications may be added to help with any emerging withdrawal symptoms. This is known as medical detox.

Once detox is over (between 7 and 10 days), the next step is to move on to rehab. During the rehabilitation phase, we provide therapy to our patients in many forms. All of them have a designated addiction therapist, and they will meet with them regularly for private sessions. We also recommend group therapy and family therapy, if needed.

Our program lasts for 28 days, and at the end of that time period, our patients are ready to be discharged. But before they go, we sit down and go over their aftercare plan with them. This is the third phase of treatment. Aftercare is essential to recovery because that ongoing support is so desperately needed. Many of the top addiction treatment experts in the world say it is the most important part of recovering.

We believe that it is crucial to offer our patients treatment for both co-occurring disorders and cross addictions. Otherwise, they are likely to suffer through a relapse.

Many people who are addicted to Concerta also have some other type of addiction. This is known as a cross addiction and it can apply to other substances or to addictive behaviors. Learning what they all are is important because every addiction should be treated during rehab.

Co-occurring disorders are common among Concerta addicts as well. Most of these individuals are probably suffering from ADD or ADHD, but that is not true for all of them. Some people may choose to use this drug as a way to self-medicate the symptoms of:

We offer dual diagnosis treatment as a way to treat co-occurring disorders. This way, our patients can get help for both conditions at the same time.

Is Going to Rehab Expensive?

The cost of rehab is what makes most people shy away from it. It can be very expensive, depending on the type of treatment that is needed. For someone who is addicted to Concerta, they will need both detox and rehab. This can cost several thousand dollars, which is unheard of when most people need to pay out of pocket.

Fortunately, they do not need to pay out of pocket as long as they have health insurance. The Affordable Care Act requires all health insurance companies to provide their customers with addiction treatment benefits. But please keep in mind that they can vary, based on the insurance policy itself.

At Northpoint Washington, we are in-network with many health insurance providers. For this reason, we are able to keep any out of pocket costs to a minimum for our patients.

Concerta Addiction Treatment

Where Can You Find the Best Treatment for Concerta Addiction Near You?

Here at Northpoint Washington, we offer the best stimulants rehab program in the area. You’ll find that our personalized approach offers you a unique experience that’s designed to meet your needs.

We know how difficult it is to ask for help when you’re a Concerta addict. Please know that we’re here to assist you in every way we can. 

Do you have questions about Concerta addiction or treatment? Please contact us today.

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