A man lies awake in bed after taking concerta

Prescription amphetamines, such as Concerta, are now commonly prescribed for treatment of ADD and ADHD. A breakthrough occurred in the treatment of attention deficit disorder when it was discovered that stimulants can help curb ADHD-related symptoms and improve focus. However, drugs like Concerta can also carry a high potential for abuse and addiction. (1)

Here, we discuss what Concerta is, its addiction potential and treatment options.

What is Concerta?

Concerta is the brand name of the extended-release version of the drug methylphenidate. A woman on concerta sits alongside her partner to discuss her abuse of the prescription drugThe drug is a central nervous system stimulant used for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. (2) It is commonly prescribed to treat ADHD and bipolar disorder in both adults and children.

Concerta contains the same active ingredients as Ritalin and is a federally controlled substance. The drug is taken orally and slowly raises the user’s dopamine levels to help achieve a therapeutic effect.

Methylphenidate is readily absorbed by the human body. Concentrations of the drug increase to an initial maximum after one hour of consumption. Over the next five to nine hours, ascending concentrations are released by the drugs extended-release properties.

Concerta Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Concerta carries a high potential for addiction. Stimulants carry a high rate of abuse due their ability to make users highly alert for prolonged periods. Often times, those who misuse their prescription stimulant will use other substances such as alcohol to enhance the drugs effects. (3)

However, alcohol and drug interactions alongside Concerta can be dangerous.

Some signs of abuse and common side effects of Concerta include:

  • Chronic insomnia
  • Grinding teeth
  • Decreased appetite accompanied by weight loss
  • Irregular heart beat and high blood pressure
  • Doctor shopping or seeking prescriptions from multiple providers
  • Drastic mood changes
  • Tingling in fingers or toes
  • Paranoia

People who abuse the drug often crush the pill or empty the capsule to allow for injection or snorting. This can provide a near immediate high for the user as opposed to consuming the drug orally.

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Concerta Withdrawal

Concerta withdrawal symptoms will vary on several factors. This includes the severity of the addiction, the user’s age, and the length of time the drug was abuse. Some common withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Severe headaches
  • Nausea
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Foggy thinking (1)

Like other prescription amphetamines, Concerta withdrawal symptoms can be severe. For this reason, it is recommend that users attend a medically assisted detox. Most withdrawal symptoms will arise within 24 hours of the last dose.

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://www.rxlist.com/concerta-drug.htm#description
  2. https://webarchive.library.unt.edu/eot2008/20090119143501/http://www.fda.gov/cder/foi/label/2007/021121s014lbl.pdf
  3. https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/treatments-approaches/medications/concerta-what-you-need-to-know