ClickCease Concerta Addiction: Abuse Signs & Treatment Options - Granite Recovery Centers

Concerta Addiction: Abuse Signs & Treatment Options

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: August 27th, 2021


James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

Concerta is the brand name of methylphenidate. The drug also has other brand names such as Ritalin La, Ritalin, Metadata ER, Ritalin Sr, etc.

Concerta is a type of medication used to cure Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD, and narcolepsy. Experts describe this medication as a stimulant, a type of drug that impacts the central nervous system directly as well as brain function. Taking the drug can help improve your attention span to keep you more focused. You are strongly encouraged to use Concerta based on your doctor’s prescription.

Concerta Addiction and Abuse

Abuse is what happens when an individual decides to take a given drug without a prescription. It can also occur when a person takes a higher dosage than what was prescribed by a qualified medical practitioner.

Just like other stimulants, if you use Concerta frequently and in higher doses, you will develop what is known as psychological dependence. The side effects could cause danger to you and the people around you.

Some of the most common effects of abusing Concerta are hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and violent outbursts. It is worth noting that once you are addicted to this medication, it is almost impossible to stop using without professional help. The effects of abusing this drug can be severe to the extent that they can surface even months or years after you have stopped using it.

What Causes Addiction and Abuse?

Concerta is a type of stimulant that speeds up the communication and coordination between the mind and body. By taking it, you should expect the drug to greatly improve your brainpower or increase attention and alertness. This can also cause feelings of euphoria or a high.

Many people enjoy the effects that the drug has on them, so they develop the habit of using it even without prescription. Due to these effects, if you keep using Concerta, there is a good chance that you will develop dependence. Though it is not true that dependence will always lead to addiction, you can develop an addiction if you keep abusing the drug.

How Do You Develop Addiction?

Once you are addicted, you might still not be able to stop using it even when you are fully aware of the negative consequences of the drug. Addiction is a chronic disease caused by changes in the brain. These changes are caused by consistent abuse of a substance like Concerta.

As you keep using and abusing the drug, you will develop a stronger tolerance, and after some time, you will become dependent on the drug to simply go about daily life. When you become dependent on Concerta, your body will lose its ability to function without the presence of that particular substance.

How Does Concerta Abuse Affect the Brain?

Concerta is a drug that can be used to enhance the dopamine activity in your brain. Dopamine is the hormone associated with attention, movement, learning and the brain’s pleasure system. Thus, when you consume Concerta, the drug brings about some changes that manifest themselves in a range of ways, such as compulsive behavior, hallucinations, disorientation, mania, psychosis, delusions, etc. In some cases, users might experience things such as permanent brain damage or memory problems.

While the long-term effects of Concerta abuse can always be severe, the short-term consequences can also be equally profound. The short-term effects of using Concerta include but are not limited to vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss.

In some instances, users can experience a skin rash, vision problems and unusual heart rates that could lead to a heart attack. If you take the drug through injection, you might experience collapsed veins, and your blood vessels can be infected. Such instances might lead to strokes and seizures by weakening the immune system.

Can Anyone Become Addicted to Concerta?

Anyone who misuses this drug to the level of developing dependence can become addicted. For instance, if you have a prescription but decide to take higher doses, there is a good chance that you will eventually become addicted. Individuals can also get addicted if they use the drug longer than recommended.

Individuals can also develop dependence and later addiction when they use the drug for its stimulants effects. Concerta is widely used by students and teens looking to enhance their academic confidence, and due to peer relationships, its use can spread very fast through campus.

Signs and Symptoms of Concerta Abuse

If you feel that a friend or loved one is addicted to this drug, there are a number of signs and symptoms to look out for. Restlessness is one of the most obvious signs that someone might be using Concerta. The other signs include psychotic behavior, aggressive behavior, skin rashes, weight loss, vision problems and more.

It is hard to tell how exactly this drug will affect someone close to you; however, there are some effects that you need to be aware of. The signs include paranoia, insomnia, malnutrition as a result of lack of appetite, headaches, poor impulse control, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, seizures and stroke.

What Are the Short-Term Effects of Concerta on the Body?

If the stimulant is used consistently, it could have dangerous short-term effects on the body. However, the nature of the short-term effects can be determined by things such as individual immune system, dosage taken and the amount of substance already in the body.

Some of the most common short-term effects that you could experience include headache, stomach pain, insomnia, vomiting, anxiety, dry mouth, dizziness, raised blood pressure, irritability and more. Thankfully, most of these short-term effects can be treated with medication. Therefore, it is advisable to seek medical attention when you notice them after using Concerta.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Concerta on the Body?

Note that the long-term effects of using Concerta are more dangerous and could lead to permanent damage to the body. The effects could become life-threatening in some cases. Some long-term effects are the same as what you will experience just a few days into using the drug. This might include weight loss, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and violent behavior. If you keep using the drug for an extended period, it’s likely that the side effects will worsen.

Psychological Signs of Concerta Abuse and Addiction

Compared to the physical signs and symptoms of substance abuse, the psychological ones might not be obvious, but they can be spotted. These might be symptoms that manifest how badly a section of the brain has been affected as a result of Concerta abuse. Note that the psychological signs are sometimes worse than the physical signs, and they tend to last longer, even after you have stopped using the substance.

Some of the psychological signs and symptoms associated with Concerta abuse include aggression, drastic mood changes, a manic-like state, delusions, hallucinations, compulsive behavior, psychosis, paranoia and disorientation. Aggression and disorientation are the most common symptoms to look out for.

If you notice that your friend or loved one has two or more of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, it is advised that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What Are the Treatment Options for Concerta Addiction?

If you are struggling with Concerta addiction, you have a few treatment options available. Though physical dependency is most of the time an issue, Concerta’s withdrawal signs and symptoms are not as severe as withdrawal from other drug addictions. Less severe treatment options can typically be used to help patients safely detox from the substance in such cases. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.

When you seek Concerta addiction treatment, you can be treated on an outpatient or inpatient basis.

Outpatient

If you are someone with a less severe addiction and your withdrawal symptoms are not so intense, an outpatient treatment program may be a good fit. The program has the benefit of letting you keep living in your home while you access medication.

Many people who abuse Concerta are young adults and teens, so full-time residential treatment might not be ideal if it involves stepping away from work, school and other essential responsibilities. Outpatient treatment is seen as an option that lets patients access professional help as they maintain important aspects of their everyday life. The format is still ideal for those who need counseling and detox to help quit their addiction.

Inpatient

Inpatient treatment is the most intensive option for patients looking to stop abusing Concerta. It involves living in a rehabilitation facility with 24/7 access to the necessary support. You are recommended to choose this option if you have severe dependency or if you have developed other medical and health complications as a result of Concerta abuse. It has been shown that the inpatient option is the most appropriate and effective way to treat addiction.

What About Therapy Treatment and Rehab?

There are many options when it comes to treating patients and helping them stop Concerta abuse. The treatment process might involve medical management, such as the use of medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and tapering methods.

Medication can be used to get rid of the substance from your system and ensure that you go through the withdrawal process successfully. Therapy and counseling, on the other hand, will focus on treating the addiction itself.

The main goal is to deal with the reason for your addiction and equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to help stop you from getting back to substance abuse. In most rehab facilities, many treatment methods such as individual and group therapy are incorporated so that you can lead a normal life again.

How Do You Stay Off Concerta?

Since Concerta is a prescribed medication, you and your loved ones may not know when you have started to become addicted. Whether you began with a prescription or obtained the drug illegally, it is advisable to seek professional attention when you need to quit. Most of the time, you won’t be able to avoid the drug when you try it on your own.

Though quitting is not an easy thing to do, it is essential to stop using the Concerta so that you won’t have to deal with its long-term negative implications. You can take control of your life by seeking treatment in a detox clinic or a rehab center like Granite Recovery Centers. It is also recommended to get help from support groups when looking to overcome addiction.

Final Thoughts

Concerta can be both legally and illegally acquired. Even if you follow the doctor’s prescription, you might still develop the bad habit of abusing the drug in the long run. Note that there are short-term and long-term effects of Concerta, and they can all be detrimental to your overall health. As such, it is vital that you try to stop using the drug once you start experiencing the signs and symptoms of dependence and substance use disorder. Breaking the habit of substance abuse is hard, and you might not be able to do it on your own, so we are here to help you restore your health and well-being again.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.