Side Effects of Concerta Abuse
Concerta is a brand-name drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults. It is a prescription stimulant, which means it can lead to feelings of hyper-focus, energy, and alertness, especially in people without ADHD. For this reason, Concerta can be highly addictive, but the side effects of Concerta abuse can be life-threatening.
What Are the Side Effects of Concerta?
Concerta is the brand name of a medication known as methylphenidate. Concerta is effective for helping people with ADHD, narcolepsy, and other mental health disorders when a treatment provider guides intake.
Concerta can increase focus, energy, alertness, and impulse control in these patients. In higher doses, these effects can lead to abuse problems.
The immediate side effects of Concerta use include:
- A feeling of wellbeing
- Strong sense of self-control
- Increased energy and alertness
- Improved ability to concentrate
These side effects make Concerta popular among college students, who often refer to it as a “study drug.” However, taking Concerta or any stimulant medications without a prescription and legitimate medical reasons can lead to severe short-term and long-term side effects.
With continued abuse of Concerta, an individual can become addicted because Concerta consumption leads to the release of dopamine in the body. Often called the “happy chemical,” dopamine interacts with the brain’s reward center, which is responsible for addictions.
What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Concerta Abuse?
People often abuse Concerta by crushing up extended-release tablets, which contain a higher dose of the medication, and then snorting the powder. Often, people will get ahold of Concerta by lying to their doctor about having ADHD or another condition.
While those actually suffering from ADHD are less likely to abuse the drug since it affects them differently, you should always be on the lookout for signs of drug abuse among your loved ones.
In the short-term, continued use of Concerta in someone without relevant diagnoses can lead to side effects such as:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- High blood pressure
- Dry mouth
The early side effects of Concerta abuse tend to be less apparent, making it difficult to determine whether someone you know is abusing a drug. What’s more, an individual might not consider their use of Concerta to be “misuse.” In reality, using Concerta for study, recreation, or general cognitive enhancement all constitute substance abuse.
What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Concerta Abuse?
Long-term use of Concerta puts intense strain on the body. Because these prescription drugs are not intended to be taken in high doses, abuse of stimulant drugs can lead to rapidly declining physical health and mental exhaustion.
The side effects include:
- Changes in appetite and weight loss
- Arrhythmia, a heart condition characterized by palpitations and an irregular heartbeat
- Increased risk of heart attack
- Changes in mental health, including panic attacks
- Drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you “skip” a dose
It does not take long for the body to become physically dependent on a drug once it is being taken regularly. This is when tapering off the drug is necessary to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms, relapse, and overdose.
Does Concerta Affect Your Personality?
For someone suffering from ADHD, Concerta is unlikely to affect their personality. Instead, it will help restore a sense of control and normality to their lives. However, in people without ADHD, Concerta can lead to changes in a person’s behavior and outlook.
Potential changes caused by Concerta abuse include:
- A general lack of motivation
- Decreased ability to self-regulate mood and behavior
- Anger management issues
If Concerta use leads to addiction, substance use disorder in itself can lead to major changes in someone’s personality. The most significant include:
- Risky and impulsive behavior
- Mood swings
- Loss of interest in work, school, and hobbies
Seeking treatment for addiction can help a person regain their sense of self.
What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact With Concerta?
Whether you are taking Concerta recreationally or for medical reasons, it’s important to avoid interactions, as they can increase the risk of side effects, overdose, and death.
The common interactions with Concerta include:
- Wellbutrin XL
Intentionally combining Concerta with alcohol or another substance that interacts with the medication is a marker of a substance use disorder and can be extremely dangerous.
Signs and Symptoms of Concerta Abuse
Concerta abuse can quickly lead to an addiction. Once addiction forms, the recovery process becomes very complicated and may require a medical detox. This is because Concerta withdrawal can lead to severe physical and mental side effects, including psychosis.
Withdrawal becomes even more difficult if an individual is suffering from another disorder, like alcohol addiction, depression, or anxiety.
Once someone has become addicted to Concerta, simply quitting “cold turkey” is dangerous because of all the potential withdrawal symptoms. Those symptoms often lead a person right back into relapse, which can increase their risk of overdose and worsen the overall addiction.
Symptoms of Concerta abuse include:
- Decreased participation in daily activities
- Reduced performance at work or school
- Changes in mood and behavior
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Impulsive behavior, often fueled by drug cravings
While the withdrawal process can be uncomfortable, the good news is that you don’t have to overcome Concerta addiction on your own. A number of treatment options exist to help you through the recovery process and beyond.
Get Help With a Substance Use Disorder
Knowing the signs of Concerta abuse can help you get help for yourself or a family member. With a variety of treatment centers and both inpatient and outpatient programs, you can find a rehab center that fits your needs and goals.
The addiction treatment process doesn’t have to be overly difficult or scary. Through a combination of support groups, talk therapy, and behavioral healthcare, you can get the help you need.
The next step in getting help is figuring out which treatment program is best suited to your needs. If you’re ready to make a move toward recovery, contact Zinnia Health today by calling (855) 430-9439 or visiting our website.