Concerta Symptoms and Warning Signs

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a condition that causes symptoms like anxiety, impulsiveness, and anger issues. If you suffer from ADHD, you may have been prescribed a medication called Concerta.

Concerta works by altering the number of specific chemicals in the brain, thus improving the ability to stay focused and pay attention. However, as Concerta is a substance that can cause dependence, and because ADHD is closely linked to substance abuse, it is a medication that should be prescribed with extreme caution in those with a history of addiction. Concerta abuse can very quickly lead to an increased tolerance, with the inevitable physical and psychological dependence following swiftly after.

The potential for abuse is high with Concerta because it can induce effects that are similar to those produced by cocaine or amphetamine use. It is a drug commonly used for recreational purposes and it is often taken with other substances. Those who abuse it in this way have an extremely elevated risk of addiction.

Other Names for Concerta

Concerta is a brand of the generic drug methylphenidate. Other brand names include:

  • Cotempla XR-ODT
  • Aptensio XR
  • Metadate ER
  • Quillichew
  • Metadate CD
  • Ritalin
  • Quillivant XR
  • Methylin

Recognising the Common Warning Signs of Concerta Abuse

If you have been prescribed Concerta to treat a medical condition, it is important that you take it as advised by the prescribing doctor. Taking the medication more frequently or in higher doses is classed as abuse, as is taking it in a different way than prescribed.

If you take Concerta that was prescribed for another person then this is also abuse, but lots of people do not realise this. It is far easier to see Concerta use as abuse if it is taken for recreational purposes or to change the way a person feels.

What you need to be aware of is that a tolerance to Concerta can develop pretty quickly when abused. Your brain and body will adapt to the presence of the chemicals in Concerta and will adjust how they respond when you take the drug. So you might notice, for example, that you are not getting the same feelings as you did when you first started taking Concerta and so may be tempted to take more of it to achieve these desired feelings.

Any of the warning signs of Concerta abuse should really start the alarm bells ringing as it can lead to health problems as well as a full-blown addiction.

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The Dangers of Concerta Abuse

Concerta is a stimulant drug that, when abused, can lead to many physical and mental health problems. As mentioned above, the effects of Concerta can be similar to the effects produced by cocaine or methamphetamine. This means it could make you feel paranoid or aggressive and there is a risk that you could become psychotic. You might lose your appetite and, if you continue to abuse it, you could end up suffering from malnutrition.

Concerta abuse can lead to dizziness and can make engaging in certain activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery extremely dangerous. When taken in conjunction with alcohol, the effects of Concerta are enhanced due to the methylphenidate being released into the bloodstream more quickly than it otherwise would. This can impair thinking and reaction times and cause you to take unnecessary risks, potentially putting yourself and others in danger.

Taking too much Concerta could lead to an overdose, which in turn could result in serious physical and psychological symptoms. You might notice a spike in blood pressure and an increase in your heart rate. You may become disorientated and experience paranoid delusions. You might even end up having convulsions, which could be life-threatening.

Abusing any mood-altering substance can bring about addiction, which could mean negative consequences in other areas of your life apart from all the above-mentioned health implications. Your relationships with people you love will inevitably suffer and your performance at work might be adversely affected. This, in turn, can have a negative impact on your finances.

Recognising a Concerta Addiction

When using Concerta to treat a legitimate medical condition, you might not realise that your use has become problematic. Prescription drug abuse is a common issue, but because most people do not associate prescribed medication with being dangerous, the majority do not realise the seriousness of the situation.

If you have become tolerant to your Concerta and need higher doses to feel the effects, or if you have started trying different ways of using it, you definitely have an abuse/addiction problem. Addiction is probably causing you to experience strong cravings for the drug and when the effects wear off as well, you are more than likely noticing a number of withdrawal symptoms.

If you continue to use the medication despite no longer needing it for medical purposes or if you take it knowing that doing so will have harmful consequences for you and your loved ones, you are more than likely addicted and need professional help to turn your life around.

Concerta Addiction and the Brain

Scientists think that a chemical imbalance in the brain leads to problems with attention span and concentration. Excessive production of norepinephrine and dopamine can lead to certain conditions such as anxiety and ADHD. Concerta works by controlling the production of these chemicals.

However, when Concerta is abused and taken in high doses, it can lead to levels of dopamine rising very quickly, resulting in a surge of chemicals and a subsequent rush of pleasure. These feelings of pleasure are that which cause you to want to use the medication repeatedly and is what can lead to a dependence and addiction.

Learn the Immediate Side Effects of Concerta Abuse

Concerta abuse has a number of immediate side effects, including:

  • vomiting
  • headache
  • increased heart rate
  • dry mouth
  • twitching
  • increased blood pressure
  • convulsions
  • paranoia
  • aggression
  • psychosis
  • disorientation
  • hallucinations

Learn the Long-Term Concerta Abuse Side Effects

Below we list some of the side effects that might be experienced with long-term Concerta abuse:

  • Weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Tendency to bruise easily
  • Seizures
  • Paranoid delusions.
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Intervention for a Concerta Addiction

It is important to be alert to the signs of abuse or addiction if someone you care about has been prescribed Concerta.

Helping someone with an addiction is always going to be a tough prospect, mainly because most addicts are simply not ready to see themselves as such. Having said that, it is vital that you act as soon as possible if you suspect that a family member or friend is being negatively affected by his or her Concerta use.

If you notice changes in behaviour, such as secrecy or isolation, or if the affected individual is losing interest in people and activities, it is crucial to act fast. Speak to him or her about your fears and explain why you believe that he or she should get help.

Detox and Withdrawal from Concerta

Quitting Concerta without help is not recommended because it is highly likely that you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Since there is a risk of manic states and suicidal thoughts, it is vital to be supervised when attempting to detox from Concerta.

A detox programme in a dedicated facility is highly recommended if you want to quit the cycle of Concerta abuse. You can expect this process to take between one and two weeks, but it will depend on how long you have been abusing the drug as well as your own body chemistry.

Treatment and Next Steps

When trying to overcome any addiction it is necessary to address both the physical and the psychological issues associated with it. A detox addresses the physical side of addiction but must be followed by a programme of rehabilitation, which deals with the psychological.

Rehab is not a quick fix and it needs dedication and patience on your part. Rehab programmes vary in duration depending on whether they are inpatient or outpatient based. An inpatient programme will usually be condensed over a short number of weeks; you will move into the facility and stay there throughout treatment.

Outpatient programmes are designed to run alongside everyday life; you will be expected to attend regular counselling sessions before returning home after each session.


Questions about Treatment

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient treatment?

When it comes to addiction treatment, you have the choice between inpatient or outpatient programmes. It can be difficult to know which one is right for you if you have no experience of addiction. Before you make your choice, however, you should consider a few factors including your personal preferences, your commitments, and your budget.

If you have a severe addiction, it is probably wise to opt for an inpatient programme as you may find it tough to stay clean and sober if you try to recover in the outside world. If your addiction is less severe, an outpatient programme may work well. Nevertheless, it is not just the severity of your illness that needs to be considered. Finding the right programme is about finding the one that will meet all your needs.

Do I really need professional help?

You might believe that you do not need professional help for your illness because, according to you, it is not that bad. This is what most addicts believe of their own situation. It may very well be the case that self-help treatment will work for you, but if you have a physical addiction to Concerta, it is likely you will need to detox in the first instance and then rehab to help you stay clean.

Some people manage to quit the chemical substance to which they have developed an addiction by themselves, but this is rare. What often happens is that without counselling and therapy, they go on to have a very shaky recovery and have a much higher risk of relapse.

What happens in a residential clinic?

It is natural to be curious about what life is like inside a residential clinic. While all providers have their own way of doing things, most follow a similar pattern. Your days will be mostly filled with treatments like individual counselling and group therapy. You might also take part in workshops and seminars, and you could also have set times for holistic treatments such as yoga and meditation.

Although you will probably have a private or semi-private bedroom, you will likely be expected to have your meals in the dining room with other patients and staff members.

Will I have to stay overnight in the clinic?

Whether you stay overnight in the clinic will depend on the type of programme you have chosen. If you are being treated in an inpatient facility, you will leave daily life and move into the clinic for the duration of the programme. With an outpatient programme, you will attend treatment on a day care basis and will then return home afterwards.

Will I get to see my family?

If you are attending a residential clinic for addiction treatment, you might be worried about being cut off from your family while you recover. It may be the case that you are asked not to have any visitors for the first week or two to allow you to settle into the programme. However, most rehab providers schedule visits from family members as they know that family support can be the key to long-term recovery.

Your loved ones may also be taking part in family therapy sessions where they too will get the opportunity to recover from the illness. Addiction is a family illness that can have a devastating impact on entire families and so therapy can be an important part of recovery for everyone.

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