The prescription stimulant medication Concerta is intended to help alleviate the symptoms of ADHD. However, thousands of teens have found that abusing this addictive drug offers a high similar to that of cocaine — with dangerous consequences all its own.
Concerta delivers a powerful rush by increasing a user’s levels of dopamine, which is a chemical involved in the brain’s reward system. Once a teen experiences the pleasurable, euphoric effects of this drug, they may crave that experience again and again.
A 2013 study revealed that almost 10% of high school seniors have abused prescription stimulants like Concerta.
Chemically, abusing Concerta has similar effects to what you’d expect from cocaine abuse (i.e. stimulant drugs) and meth abuse (i.e. amphetamines). Concerta impacts some parts of the brain that deal with impulse control and hyperactivity. In teens with ADHD, this drug helps to increase focus and prompts feelings of calmness.
When the drug is abused by teens who do not have ADHD, Concerta has the opposite impact.
- Appetite and weight loss
- Sleep problems
- Rapid heart rate
- Stuffy nose
- Warm skin
One study showed that over 23% of middle and high school students with a prescription for stimulants had been asked to share their medication. This occurs more frequently as students progress from middle to high school.
Other than ingesting the drug, snorting Concerta has become a popular method of getting high.
Any time you notice a change in your teenager’s behavior, it merits a closer look. If you ever find unmarked pills in your teen’s room or belongings, it is important to address the matter with your child right away. Additionally, there are a few key signs that point to the misuse of this drug.
Behavioral signs of Concerta abuse include:
- A strong urge to use the drug
- Going to great lengths to obtain the drug
- Using the drug even when negative life consequences occur
- Poor impulse control
Physical signs of Concerta abuse include:
- Weight loss
- Dry mouth
- Tolerance to the drug
- Vision disturbances
- Withdrawal when not using the drug
Concerta as a Study Aid Drug
Concerta’s popularity has soared in recent years because it’s earned a reputation as one of the drugs that help you study. Study aid drugs like Adderall and Ritalin (i.e. other ADHD medications) give young people a dose of academic confidence — especially if they feel pressure to earn better grades. For this reason, these drugs are often referred to as smart drugs.
The practice is dangerous, however, because many of these students take one of these focus-enhancing medications without a prescription. In some cases, even if they have a prescription, they use the drug in a way that deviates from their doctor’s directions.
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Decreased motivation
- Increased appetite or weight gain
- Mood swings
We understand that addiction shame can prevent parents from reaching out at all. At TheRecoveryVillage.com, our addiction experts are available to listen and guide your family on the road to recovery. We’ve seen the pain of teen addiction and the joy of recovery; we are here to help you find healing for your child.
This problem is not a reflection of you as a parent or your child as a person. Addiction has numerous complicated causes. And now that your family is facing this situation, you must get your child the help that they need. Take that first step by getting in touch with us today.
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- https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml“DEA / Drug Scheduling.” DEA. United States Drug Enforcement Administration, n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
- http://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/drugsafety/ucm088575.pdf“Medication Guide: Concerta.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration Home Page. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181133/Morton, W. A., and Gwendolyn G. Stockton. “Methylphenidate Abuse and Psychiatric Side Effects.” PubMed Central (PMC). National Institutes of Health, Oct. 2000. Web. 14 Sept. 2016.
- http://www.clinicaladvisor.com/features/misuse-and-abuse-of-adhd-medication/article/189985/McCarthy, Alice A. “Misuse and abuse of ADHD medication.” The Clinical Advisor. Haymarket Media, 1 Nov. 2010. Web.
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489818/Lakhan, Shaheen E., and Annette Kirchgessner. “Prescription Stimulants in Individuals with and Without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Misuse, Cognitive Impact, and Adverse Effects.” PubMed Central (PMC). National Institutes of Health, Sept. 2012. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3930155/McCabe, Sean E., and Brady T. West. “Medical and Nonmedical Use of Prescription Stimulants: Results From a National Multicohort Study.” PubMed Central (PMC). National Institutes of Health, 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
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