Is Concerta Addictive? | Banyan Treatment Massachusetts

Is Concerta Addictive?


Stimulant abuse is a growing problem in the United States, particularly among young adults.

Oftentimes, people will abuse stimulants for their ability to increase energy, alertness, and concentration. Commonly abused stimulants include Ritalin and Adderall, both of which have a potential for abuse. But what about similar stimulants, like Concerta? Can Concerta get you high? Is Concerta addictive? Let’s get into it.

What Is Concerta?

Concerta is the brand name for methylphenidate, a prescription stimulant that falls into the same drug class as Ritalin. Like Ritalin, Concerta is also used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When taken as prescribed, Concerta improves the symptoms of ADHD by improving your attention span and your focus and by providing control for behavioral problems.

Usually, Concerta is taken by mouth as a tablet. While they’re often compared to each other, Concerta and Ritalin are different because Concerta is an extended-release medication, meaning it’s slowly dispelled within the body over a long period. Concerta usually lasts about 12 hours.

How it Works

Methylphenidate (Concerta) works by increasing levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the central nervous system. Dopamine plays a significant role in how we feel pleasure, and norepinephrine increases your heart rate and blood pressure.

People with OCD may attempt to ignore these thoughts or attempt to get rid of them by performing compulsive behavior. Oftentimes, the person believes they have to perform this behavior to “cure” or get rid of these thoughts. These obsessions usually occur when you’re trying to concentrate or do something.

Common Concerta side effects in adults include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Vision problems
  • Skin rash
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Numbness, tingling, or cold feeling in the hands or feet
  • Sweating

The activation of dopamine is associated with feelings of pleasure, euphoria, and also reinforced behaviors. Most if not all drugs of abuse affect this neurotransmitter, contributing to the idea that Concerta abuse is possible.

Is Concerta an Addictive Drug?

Yes, Concerta is addictive. Concerta dependence and tolerance can occur if you take more than the recommended dose, mix it with other drugs or alcohol, take it in a way it’s not meant to be taken, or if you use it without a prescription. Though Concerta can increase attention span, decrease hyperactivity, and improve impulsive behaviors in people with ADHD, taking it if you don’t have ADHD can lead to hyperactivity and overstimulation.

Getting high off Concerta is also possible if you take higher doses than recommended or take it more frequently than your doctor advised. A Concerta high is the result of an increase in dopamine. While the drug is slowly meant to produce this increase when taken as prescribed, abusing it can lead to intense side effects.

People may abuse stimulants like Concerta to improve their performance at work or school, lose weight, or simply get high. What they fail to acknowledge, however, is the damage this drug can do to their brain, heart, liver, and other areas of their body. Concerta addiction can occur as the result of chronic abuse. If you’re taking this drug and find yourself misusing it, our rehab in Boston offers prescription drug addiction treatment that can help.

Concerta Addiction Signs and Symptoms

People who engage in Concerta abuse may display certain signs or symptoms, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Vision problems
  • Numbness
  • Sweating
  • Skin rash
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Arrhythmias (very slow or fast heartbeat)

Crushing Concerta or snorting Concerta are also ways that people may abuse this drug, which can contribute to other signs of abuse like frequent nose bleeds. Additionally, people who begin using drugs may display other behavioral signs like isolating themselves or losing interest in their usual activities.

Not only can you abuse Concerta, but you can also overdose on it if you take too high of a dose in a short period. Overdose may also occur if it’s taken in a way that isn’t recommended (such as snorting it) or if it’s taken with other drugs or alcohol. An unintentional overdose may also occur if you take alcohol with Concerta in your system, so beware if you’re taking this medication regularly.

Concerta Addiction Treatment

When methylphenidate is abused in high doses or for long periods, it’s not advised to stop taking it without professional treatment. Our Boston rehab offers medically monitored detox options to patients at our sister facilities. During medical detox, patients may receive medication as well as 24-hour supervision to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Following detox, patients receiving our addiction treatment in Massachusetts may then be placed in one of our levels of care. Our treatment programs not only address the physical aspects of recovery but also addresses the contributing mental factors of addiction by offering clients addiction counseling and individual and group therapy options.

An inpatient or outpatient treatment program can guide those with Concerta addiction towards long-term recovery. Call Banyan Massachusetts today at 888-280-4763 to learn how our drug treatment in Boston can help.

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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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