Methylphenidate HCL, brand name Concerta, is a prescription drug that treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It also treats narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder.
Concerta has a high potential for substance abuse. Concerta use can have several adverse health effects on both your physical and mental health.
How Concerta Works
Concerta is a central nervous system stimulant. The central nervous system is made of the brain and spinal cord. Most of the body and mind’s functions run through the central nervous system.
The brain produces several chemicals to keep your body running smoothly. Two such chemicals vare dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine controls motivation and attention span, while norepinephrine controls blood pressure and heart rate.
Unusual dopamine levels are often a cause of ADHD. Concerta treats this by changing dopamine levels. Norepinephrine can also help treat ADHD by increasing attention and drive.
Concerta Vs. Adderall Vs. Ritalin
Concerta and Ritalin have the same active ingredient, methylphenidate. Both are central nervous system stimulant medications. Concerta affects both norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, while Ritalin mostly controls dopamine levels.
Adderall is an amphetamine, which also affects the central nervous system. Amphetamines focus on controlling norepinephrine levels in the brain. Norepinephrine mostly affects blood pressure and heart rate.
Concerta is a long-acting tablet, which gradually affects the body throughout the day. Ritalin is a long-acting capsule. Adderall is an immediate-release tablet, which goes into effect right away.
Is Concerta Safe?
Prescription medication is tested and approved by medical professionals long before it makes its way to your local pharmacy. Following the guidelines set by your doctor should minimize the chances of side effects.
However, no drug is completely safe. Concerta affects your brain chemistry, as well as the mixture of chemicals in your body. This may lead to unexpected side effects and health problems.
Taking the recommended dosage and communicating with your doctor is the safest way to take Concerta.
Side Effects Of Concerta
Concerta may have a number of physical and mental side effects, even when taken properly.
Side effects of Concerta may include:
- high blood pressure
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- dry mouth
- changes in body temperature
- muscle tightness
- back pain
- mood swings
- depressive symptoms
If you experience any number of these symptoms while taking Concerta, talk to your doctor.
Effects Of Concerta Abuse
According to the FDA, Concerta is a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that it has seen widespread substance abuse throughout the years.
Concerta can be abused in a number of ways. Both Ritalin and Concerta contain methylphenidate, and both can be crushed up and inhaled. This is known as “snorting.” Concerta can also be taken in excessive amounts, or mixed with other prescriptions.
The abuse of Concerta can cause a number of side effects. Like other prescription stimulants, taking Concerta will lead to increased brain activity. Overuse of Concerta may increase these effects to a dangerous level.
You can spot signs of recent Concerta abuse in a family member or loved one, if they:
- overuse their Concerta prescription
- do not have a prescription and still take Concerta
- take Concerta with other prescriptions or alcohol
Concerta abuse can lead to health problems. You should get help for yourself or a loved one who is at risk for abusing Concerta.
Concerta addiction can affect both your physical and mental health. Drug addiction generally happens when mental or physical dependence forms around taking the drug. One may also become addicted when taking increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effect.
You can spot signs of Concerta addiction in a family member or loved one. One who has recently taken the drug, or who hasn’t taken it for a while, will exhibit certain signs.
Signs of Concerta addiction include:
- drug tolerance (taking larger doses to get the same effect)
- craving of Concerta
- depression (especially after stopping Concerta)
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms after stopping use
Risk Of Concerta Overdose
Stimulant drugs can have severe effects when you take too much because they overload your central nervous system. While overdose may not always be fatal, intense professional care may be required to fight the overdose.
Symptoms of Concerta overdose include:
- tremors (uncontrollable shaking)
- heart arrhythmia
Concerta overdose is serious, and may require medical assistance. If you or a loved one exhibit these symptoms after taking Concerta, get help right away.
Concerta Abuse Treatment Options
Concerta is a Schedule II controlled substance. Many people have struggled with Concerta abuse and addiction, along with other stimulant drugs. Thankfully, treatment options for stimulant addiction have also seen success.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most well-known treatment options for stimulant addiction. It helps patients minimize their chances of relapse, while offering coping skills for living free of substance use.
Other behavioral therapies that have proven to work for stimulant addiction include:
- contingency management
- motivational interviewing
- community reinforcement approach
- 12-step facilitation therapy
If you or a family member are struggling with drug abuse, our addiction treatment programs offer safe and welcoming environments for recovery. To learn more, please contact us today.