Concerta Addiction and Abuse
Concerta addiction can happen quickly. The drug causes higher energy levels, as well as better focus and concentration, making continuous use attractive. If you persist in heavy use, it continues to alter your brain chemistry and increase your dependence on the drug. Obtaining or using the drug without a prescription is considered abuse, as is taking higher than prescribed doses.
Abuse and addiction can lead to dangerous consequences such as overdose, which can be life-threatening. Concerta abuse is common among college students who often mix it with alcohol. If you are concerned that a friend or loved one may be using the drug, there are a number of signs to look out for, many of which will be highlighted as you read on.
What Is Concerta?
Concerta is the brand name of the drug ‘methylphenidate’. Other brand names include Metadata Er, Ritalin, Ritalin La, Aptensio Xr, Metadata Cd, and Ritalin Sr. It is mostly used for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It acts as a stimulant medication to increase one’s attention span and reduce hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.
Some of the reasons for abusing methylphenidate include: enhancing performance in school, staying awake, losing weight, and experiencing a powerful high. The substance is also known by common street names like pineapple, kiddie coke, kibbies, bits, kiddy cocaine, smarties, and skittles.
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Concerta Addiction and Abuse: What Is It?
Abuse occurs when you take the drug without a legal prescription or take higher doses than your physician prescribed. Like most stimulants, you can get addicted if you use this substance regularly and in high doses. Over time, you could develop psychological dependence and the ensuing effects could make you a danger to yourself and others around you. Some of the effects of abuse and addiction include suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, and violent outbursts.
If you or a loved one is addicted to the substance, it is difficult to stop using even if you try really hard to. The effects of abuse and addiction are so serious that severe psychological effects might resurface months or even years after you stop abusing the drugs.
What Causes Concerta Abuse and Addiction?
Concerta is a stimulant that works by speeding up communication between the brain and body. If you decide to take it, chances are you can expect it to improve your brain power, increase alertness and attention, or make you feel ‘high’.
You may want to continue enjoying the effects of using the drug and, thus persist in abusing it. Due to the changes caused in your brain after repeated use, you may then develop dependence. While dependence does not always result in addiction, there is a good chance it will if you persist with substance abuse.
How Does Addiction Develop?
When you are addicted, you may be unable to stop using the substance even if you are aware of its negative consequences. Addiction is a chronic disease that is caused by changes in the brain resulting from chronic substance abuse.
The longer you abuse this drug, the greater the tolerance you develop and the higher the likelihood of you becoming dependent on the drug. If you are dependent on it, your body will no longer be able to function normally without the presence of the substance. Dependence can become an addiction if you are unable to stop using even when you are aware of the consequences of persisting with substance abuse.
How Concerta Addiction and Abuse Affects the Brain and Body
The substance increases dopamine activity in the brain. Dopamine is associated with movement, attention, learning, and the brain’s pleasure system. When you abuse Concerta, it causes changes in your brain which manifest in various ways such as aggression, compulsive behaviour, hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, mania, and disorientation, among other symptoms. Other possible issues include memory problems and permanent brain damage.
While the long-term effects can be severe, the short-term effects can be serious as well, including decreased appetite and vomiting which can contribute to weight loss. Other effects may include vision problems, skin rash, and abnormal heart rate that leads to heart attack. Taking the drug by injection can lead to collapsed veins and infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, which can in turn cause seizures and strokes by weakening the immune system.
Who becomes Addicted to Concerta?
Anyone can become addicted to this drug if they misuse it to the point of developing dependence. In particular, you are at risk of addiction if you have a prescription and decide to take higher doses than prescribed or use it for longer than recommended.
College students and teens are also at risk of developing dependence and addiction because they tend to want to use the drug for its stimulant properties. It helps provide a boost in academic confidence and, due to the nature of peer relationships, use can spread quickly through a campus.
Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Concerta Abuse and Addiction
If you suspect a friend or family member is abusing this substance or may be addicted to it, there are a number of signs you can look out for. One of the most obvious is restlessness, but other signs may include aggressive behaviour, psychotic behaviour, weight loss, skin rashes, vomiting, and vision problems, among others.
There can be no telling exactly how the drug will affect your loved one, but there are a number of possible effects to be aware of. They include insomnia, paranoia and other psychotic features, malnutrition due to lack of appetite, poor impulse control, headaches, gastrointestinal complaints, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, stroke and seizures, higher body temperature, infection and vascular injury if used intravenously.
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Short-Term Effects of Concerta on the Body
Continuous usage of stimulants can have dangerous short-term effects. The nature of such effects will be determined by factors such as the dosage taken, your individual immune system, and the amount of the substance in the body.
Some of the short-term effects that you may experience include; anxiety, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, vomiting, insomnia, skin rash, dry mouth, irritability, and raised blood pressure. These short-term effects can easily be treated with medication, so they can be managed effectively or diminished with time to a tolerable level.
Long-Term Effects of Using Concerta
The long-term effects of using this drug are more dangerous and can cause more permanent damage, even to the extent of becoming life-threatening. Some of the long-term effects include the same as those that develop in the short term but get worse over time.
Some of the effects that you may experience after long-term use of the substance include hallucinations, weight loss, delusions, paranoia, and violent behaviour. There is also the possibility of getting addicted if you use the substance for an extended period of time.
Physical Signs and Symptoms of Concerta Abuse and Addiction
The physical signs and symptoms of abuse are more visible and can be easily detected, especially if you already have reason to believe your friend or loved one may be engaged in substance abuse. Some of the physical signs to take note of include vomiting, twitching, convulsions, and mentions of headaches.
Other physical signs include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, complaints of nausea, sinus arrhythmia, and dry mouth. Some physical signs like weight loss and malnutrition can be particularly obvious and should be the first signs you notice when your suspicion starts to grow.
Psychological Signs and symptoms of Concerta Abuse and Addiction
The psychological signs and symptoms of abuse and addiction may not be as obvious as the physical signs, but they can most certainly be spotted. They include symptoms that indicate how the brain has been affected by substance abuse. Often, they are much worse than the physical symptoms and can last longer, even when you have stopped using the drug.
Some of the psychological signs and symptoms include exhibiting a manic-like state, drastic mood changes, psychosis, aggression, compulsive behaviour, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and disorientation. The more common symptoms include aggression and disorientation. If you notice a friend or loved one exhibiting or mentioning suffering from some of these signs, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.
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Signs of Concerta Withdrawal and Overdose
Withdrawal occurs when you stop using the drug at any point after becoming dependent on it. Symptoms of withdrawal affect people in different ways, depending on factors like duration of use, the dosage, and the nature of any co-occurring conditions. Symptoms of withdrawal may include significantly increased appetite, difficulty sleeping, psychomotor agitation, dysphoria, feelings of fatigue, and vivid unpleasant dreams.
One of the particularly challenging symptoms of withdrawal is cravings. They can cause you to relapse during withdrawal and that can lead to an overdose since your tolerance level will have lowered after stopping. Some of the symptoms of potential overdose include agitation, blurred vision, confusion, convulsions, dry mouth, euphoria, hallucinations, headache, hyperactivity, hypertension, increased heart rate, muscle twitching, sweating, tremors, and vomiting.
Identifying Concerta Abuse in the elderly
If you have an elderly relative who has been on Concerta, it is possible for them to abuse the drug too, especially since the drug was most likely prescribed and is easily accessible. The risk is increased even more because an elderly person will be more sensitive to the effects of the drug.
There are a number of signs to look out for to help you detect substance abuse in the elderly. They include malnutrition without any prior illness, depressive symptoms, anxiety, anger, confusion, hallucinations, compulsive attitude, vision problems, and psychotic attitude. At an older age, the immune system is relatively weak and this medication can cause serious harm if abuse is not identified and tackled in time.
Dangerous Effects of Concerta Abuse and Addiction
The excessive intake of this drug can lead to dangerous and life-threatening situations. If you engage in substance abuse by crushing and snorting the pills, or any other means of taking it, your brain is bound to suffer unpleasant effects both in the short and long term. With prolonged use, you could develop psychological disorders.
The effects of abuse and addiction are not limited to the brain alone, as there are physical effects as well, such as overdose and toxicity. Overdose can lead to hallucinations, confusion, toxic psychosis, or even death. Other dangerous effects of abuse and addiction include stroke, seizures, increased heart rate, insomnia, psychiatric disorders, and cardiovascular complications, among others.
Physical, Psychological, Emotional, Behavioural, and Mental Effects of Concerta Abuse and Addiction
Abuse and addiction can affect you or a loved one across various planes. While the psychological and physical effects are often discussed, there are other types of effects, including behavioural and emotional effects.
The emotional effects can even sometimes turn out to be more serious than the physical effects. They are particularly problematic because they may not be as glaring as physical effects. Even after successfully beating addiction, emotional effects can persist in forms such as emotional trauma, low self-esteem, and a negative outlook on life. We recommend getting treatment at a rehab centre where therapy and counselling are an integral part of the programme.
The Social Impacts of Concerta
One of the effects of abusing this substance is isolation. This isolation can lead to serious social problems affecting your family and friends, colleagues at work or school, or even strangers. Chances are you wouldn’t want anyone finding out about your addiction, so you would rather spend time alone and away from others.
Isolation can negatively affect your relationships just as much as other effects of the drug, such as aggression and violent behaviour. The people closest to you are sure to suffer most, but others could get hurt as a result of your behaviour as well. This is why groups for family members of addicts exist. It may start with you, but addiction affects so many others around you.
Coping with Withdrawal
Withdrawal occurs when you stop using the drug at a point when your body has gotten used to using it to function normally. During withdrawal, your body struggles to regain and maintain the balance of internal functions. Withdrawal may range from mild to severe, depending on various factors.
The best way to deal with withdrawal is to seek treatment in a detox clinic or rehab centre. Where inpatient treatment is not feasible or not needed, you can get treatment on an outpatient basis through your doctor’s office or a detox clinic. Medications may be prescribed while you follow a schedule to get you off the drug gradually. On your own, you should endeavour to eat healthily, drink lots of fluids, and exercise regularly.
How to Treat Concerta Withdrawal
Treatment for withdrawal is usually handled using a method known as tapering, which involves being gradually weaned off the drug until you no longer need it. With every reduction in dosage, your doctor should check your progress and make adjustments where necessary. This method is used because it helps to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
Where some symptoms persist, you may be prescribed medication to help manage them. Such medication may include antidepressants. The goal of withdrawal treatment is to reduce the severity and occurrence of symptoms, in order to ensure a safe and comfortable withdrawal process.
Therapy, Treatment and Rehab for Concerta Abuse and Addiction
Treatment for abuse and addiction may include some medical management, including the tapering method and the use of medication, but this is not the only approach to treatment. Often, treatment starts with medical intervention but is soon made to include therapy.
Medication alone may take care of the process of getting the drugs out of your system and helping you get through withdrawal safely, but therapy tackles the addiction itself. The goal is to attack the addiction problem at the root and equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to help prevent you from returning to substance abuse. Most rehabs incorporate these treatment methods, including inpatient and outpatient treatment centres.
Concerta Addiction Treatment Prices
Prices of addiction treatment vary depending on various factors such as the nature of the treatment and the rehab facility in question. Treatment can range from free, when you go through a community-based service or NGO, to thousands of pounds for private rehab. Most rehabs offer some form of flexible payment plan and accept insurance, among other financing possibilities.
While prices vary widely, inpatient rehab may cost between £8,000 and £20,000 for a 30-day programme while an outpatient programme of the same duration may cost between £6,000 and £10,000.
Staying off Concerta
This drug is a prescription medication, so you or a loved one may not even realise you are getting addicted if you are following a prescription. Whether you started out with a prescription or have been obtaining it illegally, it is best to seek professional help when you are ready to quit because chances are you won’t find it easy to stay off the drug on your own. It may not be easy, but it is important to quit in order to avoid having to deal with the negative long-term effects that come with abuse.
You can regain control of your life by getting treatment in an appropriate setting such as a rehab centre or a detox clinic. Support groups are another effective option for helping you overcome your addiction. After a formal treatment programme, you may also need to do some work yourself by practising relapse prevention techniques and healthy habits. It may be difficult at first, but it is possible to be fully rehabilitated.
Psychotherapy takes treatment further after detox. It is intended to be a healing process in which you work one-on-one with a therapist in a safe and confidential environment. One of the most popular psychotherapy approaches used in individual counselling is cognitive behavioural therapy.
The goal is to get to the root of your drug problem and equip you with the skills needed to help you stay off the medication after rehab. Sessions involve sharing things about yourself which you may not normally share, but therapy is widely known to be effective.
Getting support from others like you who are struggling with substance abuse can make all the difference sometimes. Support groups bring together a group of individuals struggling with and recovering from, addiction. They are often recommended for aftercare because it can help speed up the recovery process.
A support group can help you cope better and feel less isolated as you make connections with people in similar situations as you. Even if you join a support group, it shouldn’t replace your medical care.
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As the name implies, family therapy involves your family and it can take on different forms depending on which members of your family are affected. For instance, couples therapy may be ideal where a spouse is addicted. This form of therapy helps to improve the relationship between you and your family by fostering understanding, trust, and development.
During the course of therapy, you and your relatives will interact with a counsellor over a recommended number of sessions. Through the course of therapy; communication between family members, better understanding, and deeper empathy are expected to be achieved.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Concerta?
Concerta is the brand name for the drug methylphenidate and it’s used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Some people abuse the drug for a powerful high or for other reasons, including enhancing school activities, staying awake, and losing weight.
What is it used for?
Concerta is often used for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is used as a stimulant and is commonly abused by students to improve academic performance, increase focus, and heighten energy levels.
Who becomes addicted to Concerta?
Concerta is a class II stimulant and like all stimulants, it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. People with a prescription, but who use the medication in a way different from how it was prescribed are at risk of getting addicted. That could include taking higher than prescribed doses or using the medication for longer than prescribed.
What are Concerta withdrawal symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms refer to symptoms which your body exhibits as a reaction to the removal of a substance upon which you have become dependent. They may be physical or psychological in nature. Some physical symptoms include vomiting, twitching, convulsions, headache, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, feeling nauseous, sinus arrhythmia, and dry mouth.
Some of the psychological symptoms include drastic mood changes, psychosis, aggression, compulsive behaviour, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and disorientation.
What are the effects of Concerta abuse and addiction?
Continuous abuse of this drug can have dangerous short and long-term effects, depending on the dosage taken, the individual immune system, and how long you have been engaged in substance abuse. Some of the effects of abuse and addiction include anxiety, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, vomiting, insomnia, skin rash, dry mouth, irritability, high blood pressure, bad vision, heart attack, and stroke, among others.
Other possible effects include hallucinations, weight loss, delusions, paranoia, and violence. There are also social and other effects that can lead to serious problems with loved ones, friends, and colleagues.
Is there such a thing as normal Concerta use?
Yes, there is. Normal use is prescribed by a medical practitioner. That includes using the right dosage at the right time and for the recommended time frame. It also involves using the tablets as prescribed instead of crushing and snorting them.
What are the various forms of Concerta?
The pills come in various colours, including red, grey, yellow, and white. They come in different forms which include, 18mg, 27mg, 36mg and 54mg strength.
Can Concerta be abused?
Yes, it can be abused when taken without a prescription or used in a manner other than what is prescribed. Taking extremely high doses, crushing and snorting the pills, or mixing them with alcohol is abuse.
Concerta addiction symptoms: can they be treated?
Yes, addiction symptoms can be treated, but it takes time and patience. There are a good number of treatment options available, including rehabilitation programmes, support groups, and professional therapy sessions. The most popular form of treatment is inpatient treatment, but outpatient treatment may be ideal, depending on your unique situation.
Can you get high on Concerta?
Yes. The drug increases dopamine levels, which is associated with focus and pleasure. If you are not being treated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but use the medication, it can cause you to get high.
What makes Concerta addictive?
Concerta is a class II stimulant and like other stimulants, it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. This is a result of the effect of stimulation brain, which the brain can become accustomed to and want more of.
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