Primarily used as a drug to treat ADHD, Concerta can easily be abused. If you use Concerta regularly, then you may be worried that you have an addiction. To help you determine whether you’re using Concerta correctly or abusing it, you should know the side effects that can occur when taking the drug. If you suffer from these side effects, then it may be a sign that you’re overusing it. Here’s what you need to know about the side effects of using Concerta.
How Does Concerta Work?
Concerta is an OROS system to deliver the drug to your body over time. OROS stands for Osmotic Controlled-Release Delivery System. Because it’s released slowly throughout the day, those who suffer from ADHD can receive relief all day at a safe level.
Besides being used for ADHD, Concerta is also sometimes used to treat narcolepsy.
Because Concerta is an amphetamine, it can be extremely addictive.
Understanding how Concerta interacts with your brain can help you understand why you may experience certain side effects. Concerta controls two different neurotransmitters in your brain. The first is dopamine.
Dopamine plays an important part in the reward system in your brain. When you do something that makes you feel good, then dopamine is the reason that it feels good. That may be something as physical as having sex or sharing a laugh with a friend. It may be more emotional, as well, like receiving praise for your hard work or receiving a paycheck.
Normally, your brain produces enough dopamine to keep yourself feeling good and happy throughout the day. Those who suffer from depression often lack a lot of dopamine in their brains.
Dopamine does more than just make you feel happy. It can also help you focus. Concerta controls dopamine levels. It produces more dopamine to further help you concentrate. It makes your brain reward you for staying focused. In return, you want to focus more. That’s what makes it an ideal treatment for ADHD where being unfocused is common.
The second neurotransmitter that Concerta influences is norepinephrine. This hormone is similar to adrenaline. It increases your heart rate and burns energy. In so doing, it helps you focus as well. It’s also often used as an appetite suppressant.
Concerta also increases the amount of norepinephrine in your brain. It’s not uncommon for those taking Concerta to lose some weight because they’re not as hungry. The influx of hormones also helps them pay attention.
In regards to narcolepsy, norepinephrine is even more important. It plays a crucial role in the sleep-wake cycle. Those who fall asleep suddenly without actually being tired can find help through norepinephrine. It will help them stay awake and focused.
Because Concerta plays with two vital hormones in your brain, the abuse of Concerta can lead to mild and serious side-effects.
Side-Effects of Concerta
Some of the mild side-effects of Concerta include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling nervous
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
These are side-effects you may encounter if you use Concerta according to the prescription given to you by your doctor. You’re encouraged to stop taking Concerta and to speak with your doctor if these symptoms worsen or occur for a long time.
Understanding how Concerta affects the brain, it’s easy to understand why weight loss and trouble falling asleep are among the milder side-effects of the drugs. Depending on when you take the drug, it may still be in your system when you try to sleep. That can make falling asleep, and staying asleep, difficult.
Because it also affects your appetite, you’ll eat less. Your weight may shrink.
Certain side-effects like nausea or headaches may be because of your appetite. Your body is actually hungry, but you don’t feel the need to feed it. As a result, you feel dizzy from weakness, sick because your body has depleted its energy reserves, or you have a headache because your body is actually starving.
Certain side-effects are worrisome for those with heart problems. They include:
- High blood pressure
- Quickened heart rate
Because the hormones act similar to adrenaline, your heart rate is going to increase. That will also increase your blood pressure. If you already suffer from high blood pressure, then using Concerta could be dangerous. It may elevate your blood pressure even more.
This could put you at risk for a heart attack.
Consuming several tablets of Concerta may also result in cardiac arrest. The more of the drug that you take, the more elevated your blood pressure may become.
There are also more serious side-effects that you may experience. Those who are addicted to Concerta and use the drug frequently may experience some of the following:
- Pain in fingers or limbs
- Blood flow problems
- Unusual wounds on toes or fingers
- Irregular heartbeat
- Twitching or shaking
- Vocal outbursts
- Blurred vision
These more side-effects can occur in those who take Concerta as prescribed, too. However, it’s far rarer. Those who have a Concerta addiction may develop these side-effects because of the sheer amount of the drug that’s in their system.
Because the drug interacts with the activity of your heart, you may notice that your toes or fingers start to have blood flow problems. You can tell if you’re experiencing these problems if you notice that they feel cool or experience pain. You may even find that there are odd wounds on your fingers or toes.
It’s also important to pay attention to your normal resting rate for your heart. While the drug can increase your heart rate, it’s not supposed to make it irregular. If you experience an irregular heart rate, then you need to see a doctor immediately.
Having an irregular or accelerated heart rate can also lead to other side-effects like fainting, seizures, or blurred vision. These are also indicators that you may experience cardiac arrest soon.
Then there are also stranger psychiatric side-effects that you may endure. These include:
- Mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
You can hallucinate on Concerta. The images that you see before you can be frightening. It may lead you to make rash decisions that can harm you or other people. It can also be difficult to speak. You may have rushed speech or you may be unable to control the words leaving your mouth.
Paranoia is another disturbance that you may experience. Whether it’s due to the delusions or perceived threats around you, you may suddenly feel afraid or anxious. As a result, you may become more hostile towards those around you. It’s possible to become a danger to yourself and to others when experiencing a high from Concerta.
Long-Term Concerta Side-Effects
Those who have taken Concert frequently over the years, or those who have a long addiction history with the drug, may also experience other side-effects. These include:
- Hormone imbalances
- Toxic psychosis
- Liver toxicity
- Cardiac arrest
Liver toxicity is rare when you use Concerta appropriately. However, if you take Concerta frequently in a short amount of time, and continue to do this over the years, then your liver may have serious problems. The damage to your liver may be so great that you need a new one.
There are also other long-term side effects associated with Concerta that are based on how you take the drug. If you choose to crush and snort Concerta, then your nasal cavity may experience side effects like common nose bleeds. Snorting can seriously damage your nose.
Those who inject Concerta will damage their veins over time. Your skin may also start to lose its health due to the number of injections.
Suicidal thoughts are most common when you’re trying to break your addiction. Because the drug is no longer creating the hormones that make you feel good, you’ll feel sick and depressed. It can be difficult to detox from Concerta, but it’s possible with help from the Granite Recovery Center.
How Our Recovery Center Can Help You
After recognizing that you’re suffering from an addiction to Concerta, your next step should be to join our center. We have a detox program that’s designed to help you through the withdrawal process of Concerta. Part of the detox program is to make the side-effects as bearable as possible.
When Concerta is no longer active in your body, your brain has to go back to producing dopamine and norepinephrine on its own. It will have a difficult time doing this. Because your brain produced so many hormones, it’s no longer as sensitive as it once was to the signaling used to call for more of the hormones.
Recovery may be possible for your brain, but it will take time. Unfortunately, you’re going to feel depressed and ill until your brain is able to produce those hormones normally again. The length of time it takes to get back to a feeling of normal may take anywhere from weeks to years, depending on how long you were addicted to the drug.
Our recovery center can make withdrawal easier by giving you non-addictive medications. These medications subdue the unpleasant feelings that you’ll experience during a withdrawal. Your brain will make you crave more of the drug. Our medications can help reduce the craving and keep you feeling well enough to stay strong to break through it.
Another unfortunate aspect of Concerta is that it can take time to fully leave your system. Because it’s a drug that is slowly released in your body over time, you likely consumed a great deal in order to get your high. Depending on how long you were addicted to the drug, it may take several months for the drug’s traces to finally leave your body.
That means your detox may last for some time. Even though some of the most pronounced unpleasant parts of the detox are over, you may still feel an occasional craving for Concerta.
Once your body is entirely purged of the drug, you join some of our therapy programs to ensure you stay on the path of sobriety.
Our Therapy Programs Will Give You the Tools You Need to Fight Addiction
At Granite Recovery Center, we work hard to ensure everyone is able to find a type of therapy that works for them. Our treatment program covers everything from group therapy to 12-Step programs. We believe in using cognitive therapy to help beat addiction.
Cognitive behavioral therapy refers to a kind of therapy that shows you the bad thinking patterns and behaviors you have and teaches you how to recognize them and choose another path. You’ll sit down with your therapist and go over the triggers or reasons that caused you to fall into addiction in the first place. Once those triggers are discovered, we can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms that can replace your need to take Concerta.
Learning these behaviors isn’t always enough. You also need a support group at your back. We have several different aftercare programs as well. One of those includes our alumni program. Those who graduate from our center are able to join the alumni program.
These individuals are brought together for fun activities like laser tag and other games. They’re able to have fun in a safe environment. It also helps them find friends who understand the hard life of addiction. These friends can help you stay on the path of sobriety. You can help them, too.
There are also other support groups that you can find online that may be a great help. If you’re someone who doesn’t like interacting with people directly, then online support groups can allow you to be anonymous and still receive the help and support that you need.
At Granite Recovery Center, we can give you the tools to live a life of sobriety.
Schedule Your Tour Today
If you’re ready to finally put an end to your Concerta addiction, then give us a call. We’ve helped tons of patients before that were struggling with a prescription medication addiction before. We can help you, too. Schedule a tour of the center today or call our friendly staff to learn more about our programs. Sobriety is possible at our center.