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What Is Concerta?
Concerta is a central nervous system (CNS) Stimulant typically prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Narcolepsy. Concerta, a brand name that contains methylphenidate, triggers dopamine release in the user’s brain and blocks excess dopamine from being transported away from the receptors. It is similar in process to other Stimulant drugs, like Amphetamines and Cocaine.
Effects of Concerta
Despite being legal, Concerta is a highly-addictive Stimulant. Because of the similarities to Amphetamines and Cocaine, it’s dangerous for someone to take excessive amounts for a long-term. People who use Concerta, and other Stimulants, experience increased heart rates, body temperature, and blood sugar, decreased blood flow, and opened airways. While these effects are what Stimulates the user and keeps them alert and focused, they are also potentially harmful. Naturally, higher doses mean that these symptoms will become more intense and can trigger seizures.
People with the intent to abuse Concerta will often crush the tablet and either ingest or snort it. This allows them to feel the effects quicker and all-at-once, rather than over a few hours of delayed release. This makes the potency of Concerta more in line with Cocaine and leads to an increased chance for addiction.
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Dangers of Concerta
At a pharmacological level, Concerta and Amphetamines work the same. This means that their toxicity to the body is also similar. Abuse of Concerta can create various psychiatric, anxiety, motor, and behavioral symptoms. These include:
- Loose association of ideas
- Schizophrenic symptoms
- Manic-like states
- Depressions (especially during withdrawal)
- States of panic
- Repeated touching
- Stereotypic confusion
- Disoriented behavior
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
- Repetitive behaviors
- Mood changes
The allure of prescription medications comes from the idea that they’re safer because they are legal. This is only true, however, when they are taken as prescribed. Even then, some drugs are so addictive that the user could still build a dependency. Abuse of any drug, whether it is legal or not, is dangerous. Medications that contain methylphenidate have been documented to alter the structure of the brain’s “Reward Areas.” These changes, in some cases, are even more radical than the changes from Cocaine use. This restructure of the brain is what makes Concerta, and methylphenidate generally, so addictive.
Addiction to Concerta
Concerta, like other Stimulants, is highly addictive. In fact, methylphenidate, the principal chemical in Concerta, was first documented in the case of abuse in the 1960s. A patient who had been prescribed the Stimulant reported taking 125 pills a day. Despite its high potential for abuse and reported cases of hallucinations, paranoia, euphoria, and delusional disorder, the chemical stayed on the market and was used in later medications. Today, Concerta is a popular medication to be redistributed by people with prescriptions. Students in particular are often the most likely to turn to Concerta as a study aid. Unsupervised use, however, is most often how the drug turns into a dependency.
Methods like doctor shopping have made the illicit distribution of Concerta, and other Stimulants, commonplace. It’s especially prevalent in college where students look for an edge to keep up with their heavy course load. In 2015, over 14.5 million prescriptions that contain Methylphenidate were prescribed. While this number is relatively low when compared to the total number of people in the US, it’s important to consider the total number of pills that come in each prescription and how many people these are distributed to. The lack of accountability after the pills have been distributed is when the risk of abuse and reselling comes into play.
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Treatment for Concerta Addiction
Many people who suffer from addiction to Concerta first received it as a medication. While it could have really helped them for a while, they found that they needed more and more. Eventually, they couldn’t stay awake through the day or noticed that they had more trouble concentrating without it.
If this sounds like you, it may be the case that you’ve developed a dependence without realizing it. Many people aren’t aware of their dependency until they’ve run out of pills. However, realizing that an addiction has developed is the first step in recovery. If you don’t know what to do next, try reaching out to a dedicated treatment provider. They are there to help you 24/7.
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