Concerta is an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication. Concerta’s osmotic controlled-release delivery system (OROS) delivers the drug to the patient gradually throughout the day. Concerta may also be prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy.
Concerta can be addictive. Individuals misusing Concerta may display signs like people who take amphetamine. Signs of addiction to Concerta may include rushed speech, nausea, vomiting, dry, mouth, weight loss, stomach pain, headaches, irritability, decreased appetite, numbness, blurred vision, skin rash, sweating and difficulty sleeping.
Patients who regularly misuse Concerta may experience psychiatric disturbances such as hostility, delusions and paranoia. Other side effects may include higher body temperature, cardiovascular complications, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure and stroke.
Concerta is a brand name of the drug methylphenidate. Methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant. Concerta improves focus and reduces hyperactivity in individuals with ADHD. Concerta is primarily a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. Deficiencies in the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine have been linked to increased rates of ADHD.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are closely involved with functions of higher reasoning such as problem-solving, delaying gratification. By inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, their effects increase.
Adults with ADHD taking Concerta typically start with an 18 mg or 36 mg daily dose. Its extended release OROS technology quickly releases 22 percent of the drug, followed by a gradual release of the remaining 78 percent between two layers of coating.
Concerta addiction is more likely to happen with individuals who have a history of substance misuse. Concerta should not be administered to patients with a history of alcoholism or drug dependence. The longer and more frequently an individual uses Concerta, the higher the potential for misuse. In cases of severe Concerta misuse, psychotic episodes can occur. As addiction worsens, the patient may experience sleep deprivation, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting. Without the ability to rest and recuperate properly, cravings for Concerta can become more severe.
Personal and professional relationships may be strained as the patient becomes increasingly irritable. Anxiety and depression may occur. Symptoms should be reported to the prescribing doctor as they evolve. It may be necessary to discontinue use of Concerta as symptoms become unmanageable. Upon the initial onset of addictive symptoms, the doctor may try tapering back the dose for a month to see how the patient responds. If only negligible improvements occur, use will likely be halted.
Long-term side effects of chronic Concerta misuse can include confusion, hallucinations, delirium and toxic psychosis. Sleep deprivation and poor appetite may contribute to the development of hormone imbalances and a worsening of negative symptoms. Liver toxicity from Concerta use is rare. The chance of liver toxicity increases dramatically with patients who take large and frequent doses.
Cessation of Concerta treatment can trigger withdrawals. Withdrawal symptoms can be minimized by gradually decreasing doses over the course of a week or longer. Withdrawals may include insomnia, depression, vivid nightmares, drug cravings, fatigue, hunger, somnolence and anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure). If you or someone you know is struggling with Concerta addiction, The Recovery Village can help patients get connected with a suitable addiction recovery program.
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