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What Is Concerta?
When taken in high doses, Concerta can produce physical and mental effects similar to street drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.
Concerta is the brand name for an “extended-release” version of methylphenidate. Methylphenidate is also prescribed under the brand name Ritalin and is most often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, particularly in children and young adults (although adult ADHD diagnoses are on the rise, as well).
Concerta, or methylphenidate, is a schedule II stimulant drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. When taken in high doses, Concerta can produce physical and mental effects similar to street drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.
People who abuse Concerta often crush the pill or empty the capsule of its contents and subsequently either inject or snort Concerta in order to get an immediate “high,” as opposed to the extended-release (effects drawn out over time) that is intended when used as prescribed.
Although Concerta may be useful in treating disorders such as ADHD when used as intended, its potential for abuse is a cause for great concern.
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Signs and Symptoms of Concerta Abuse
If you have a suspicion that someone you know may be facing an addiction to Concerta, you should be aware of what to look for. Familiarize yourself with these signs of Concerta abuse:Worried about someone you love? Learn how to help.
- Grinding of the teeth.
- Heightened feelings of wakefulness.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Feelings of elation or mania.
- Fixation with repetitive motions.
- Psychotic behavior, such as delusions or hallucinations.
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Effects of Concerta Abuse
A person with a Concerta addiction needs to be aware of the effects of methylphenidate abuse. Although it is a prescribed medication, Concerta can have negative effects on a person similar to those of methamphetamine or cocaine when it is not being used as prescribed. Some of the effects of Concerta abuse can include:
- Paranoia and other psychotic features.
- Malnutrition due to lack of appetite.
- Poor impulse control.
- Gastrointestinal complaints.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Infection and vascular injury in those who abuse Concerta intravenously.
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Concerta Abuse Treatment
There are numerous options out there for those who need help overcoming Concerta addictions, such as:
- A drug rehab program.
- Local or “virtual” online support groups.
- One on one or group therapy sessions.
The most common forms of treatment are, broadly, inpatient and outpatient treatment.
- Inpatient treatment provides the patient with consistent and comprehensive 24/7 care and is best for those who have had a severe and/or extended battle with Concerta.
- Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, offers less immersive care but at the benefit of getting to live at home during treatment.
Discuss these options with a medical professional to determine which path will be best for you or your loved one.
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Concerta: Key Statistics
Concerta abuse is increasingly becoming a more significant problem across the US, as illustrated by the following statistics:
- The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that Emergency Department visits involving ADHD medications in the U.S. increased from 13,379 in 2005 to 31,244 in 2010.
- A study spanning three states conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration found that 30 to 50 percent of youths in drug rehabilitation facilities reported using methylphenidate illegally.
- Additionally, a study which surveyed children who were prescribed methylphenidate showed that 16 percent of those children had reported being asked to supply their medication to others for illegal use.
These statistics demonstrate that young people are abusing their prescription drugs—and even when they are not abusing the drugs themselves, others are asking them to enable their own substance abuse problems.
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Teen Concerta Abuse
Concerta abuse is particularly prevalent among teens, since:
- Many teens are diagnosed with ADHD and have a prescription in their names.
- Many teens have friends with prescriptions, which gives them easy access.
Considering the damaging effects that such stimulant medications can have upon those who abuse them, it is disturbing to note the rising trend of methylphenidate use by teens.
How do young adults get stimulant medications without a prescription?
Many young adults are able to get prescription stimulant medications in spite of not having a prescription. This is a far-reaching problem that can give way to widespread abuse. But where do these college-age men and women get ahold of the medications?
According to a Recovery Brands survey in 2016, a surprising 63% of young individuals 18 to 28 years old get access to their doctor-prescribed stimulants through their friends. Further, 20.4% get their hands on them via their family members, more than 18% from other students they know, and 14.8% by means of a dealer.
Legitimate medical users can help out by keeping tabs on their stimulant medications to treat ADHD in order to protect susceptible young men and women from misuse and its consequences.
To learn more about Concerta addiction and recovery, visit the following pages:
You can also join the conversation about addiction by visiting our Forum today.
- Morton, W., & Stockton, G. (n.d.). (2000). Methylphenidate Abuse and Psychiatric Side Effects. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry, 2(5), 159–164.
- PBS. (n.d.). Ritalin Abuse: Statistics.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2015). Label: CONCERTA- methylphenidate hydrochloride tablet, extended release.