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Concerta Abuse Symptoms, Side Effects, and Addiction Treatment

What Is Concerta?

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 those of 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 the drug in order to get an immediate “high,” as opposed to the extended release (effects drawn out over time) that is intended when Concerta is used as prescribed.

Although Concerta may be useful in treating disorders such as ADHD when it is used as intended, its potential for abuse is a cause for great concern.

Signs and Symptoms of Concerta Abuse

If you have a suspicion that you or someone you know may be facing an addiction to Concerta, you should be aware of what to look for. Familiarize yourself with these signs and symptoms of Concerta abuse:

  • Grinding of the teeth.
  • Heightened feelings of wakefulness.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Irritability.
  • Feelings of elation or mania.
  • Sweats.
  • Fixation with repetitive motions.
  • Psychotic behavior, such as delusions or hallucinations.

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.
  • Headaches.
  • Gastrointestinal complaints.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Infection and vascular injury in those who abuse Concerta intravenously.
  • Seizures.
  • Death.

It’s clear from the above that Concerta abuse can be extremely dangerous to your health. To find recovery and get your life back, call free at .

Concerta Abuse Treatment

There are numerous options out there for those who need help overcoming Concerta addictions, such as:

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 severe and/or extended battles with Concerta.
  • Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, offers less immersive care, but with 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.

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% of youths in drug rehabilitation facilities reported using methylphenidate illegally.
  • Additionally, a study which surveyed children who were prescribed methylphenidate showed that 16% 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.

Teen Concerta Abuse

Concerta abuse is particularly prevalent among teens, since:

  • Many teens are diagnosed with ADHD and have prescriptions 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 among 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 prescriptions. 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?

Prescription diversion graph

According to a Recovery Brands survey in 2016, a surprising 63% of young individuals aged 18 to 28 years old get access to their doctor-prescribed stimulants through their friends. Further, 20.4% get their hands on them via family members, more than 18% from other students they know, and 14.8% by means of dealers.

Legitimate medical users can help out by keeping tabs on their stimulant medications for treating ADHD in order to protect susceptible young men and women from stimulant misuse and its consequences.

Learn more about teen drug misuse and the rise of study drugs.

How to Find Help for Concerta Misuse or Addiction

If you or a loved one is addicted to Concerta, help is available and recovery is possible. Professional addiction treatment can start anyone battling substance misuse on the path to a happier and healthier life. Rehab facilities are located throughout the U.S., and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. You can use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Services Locator to search for treatment centers. Many state government websites will also provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need. To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov.’ Once your state website is located, substance use resources shouldn’t be hard to find, and they should provide further phone contacts for your assistance.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted facilities across the country. To learn more about rehab programs and treatment options with AAC, please contact one of our caring admissions navigators free at . You can also check your insurance coverage online now to determine whether your health insurance provider will cover rehabilitation.

Additional Resources

To learn more about Concerta addiction and recovery, please visit the following pages:

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