Concerta Addiction: Side Effects & Treatment

Concerta (methylphenidate) is a prescription stimulant medication that is used to treat ADHD. Although Concerta, when used as prescribed can dramatically reduce symptoms associated with ADHD, it still comes with a potential for misuse. Overtime this misuse can lead to dependence and even addiction.

This page will explain what Concerta is, the risks of misuse, and how to get help if you or a loved one is struggling with Concerta misuse or prescription stimulant addiction.

What is Concerta (Methylphenidate)?

Concerta (methylphenidate) is a prescription stimulant that is used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).1 Prescription stimulants increase activity of certain chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and norepinephrine.2

Side Effects of Concerta

There are some common side effects associated with Concerta use. These can include:1

  • Decreased appetite.
  • Headache.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Nausea.
  • Insomnia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Dizziness.
  • Weight loss.
  • Irritability.
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).

Can You Overdose on Concerta?

It is possible to overdose on Concerta. Symptoms of a Concerta overdose can include:1

  • Vomiting.
  • Agitation.
  • Convulsions.
  • State of confusion.
  • Hallucination.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Headache
  • Raised body temperature.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Mydriasis (pupil dilation).
  • Dry mouth.

Is Concerta Addictive?

Concerta is a Schedule II substance with a known risk for misuse, dependence, and addiction.4 Misuse of a prescription medication, like Concerta, can involve taking it differently than prescribed, more often, or in larger quantities than prescribed; taking someone else’s prescription, or taking Concerta in order to get high.5

Concerta misuse is common among adolescents and young adults, as it is typically used as a study aid to improve school performance.5 This is likely due to the misperception that prescription stimulants enhance cognitive performance in people who have not been diagnosed with ADHD.  In 2019, it was reported that 5.8% of people aged 18 to 25 have misused prescription stimulants over the past year.2 Additionally, 0.6% of those aged 18 to 25 were reported to have a stimulant use disorder in the past year.2

Concerta Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone has become physiologically dependent on Concerta, if their use abruptly slows or stops suddenly they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms from stimulants can include:7

  • Dysphoric mood.
  • Fatigue.
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Psychomotor retardation or agitation.

Withdrawal can be physically and psychologically uncomfortable, which is why medical detox is recommended.8  During medical detox, addiction specialists and healthcare providers can help manage your withdrawal symptoms and make you more comfortable as your body adjusts without the substance.8

While detox is an invaluable first step on the road to recovery, it may not be sufficient to help you maintain long-term sobriety.9 Cravings for Concerta may persist and could result in relapse. Entering into longer-term treatment, inpatient or outpatient, can help pave the way toward lasting recovery.10

Treatment of Concerta Addiction at Sunrise House

If you or someone you care about is struggling with stimulant dependence or addiction, there is effective help that can get you on the road to sobriety and back to living the life you deserve. At our inpatient rehab in New Jersey. our treatment team uses evidence-based addiction-focused healthcare to help people find meaningful recovery from substance use disorders.

To learn more about how to start treatment, call one of our admissions navigators at . Admissions navigators will be able to provide information on paying for rehab, using insurance to pay for rehab, and the different types of addiction treatment available.

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