Can you get high on Concerta?

YES and NO. Concerta can get you high. But Concerta doesn’t get you high if you are taking the stimulant for ADHD or narcolespy. More about Concerta, including Concerta addiction and adverse effects, here.

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Yes. And no. It is true that Concerta can get you high. But when taken as prescribed, Concerta does not usually induce euphoria, an extreme sense of well-being that people call “getting high”.

How long Concerta stays in your system depends on personal metabolism and health factors, but the medication is generally out of your system 1-2 days after taking it.  Still, you should be warned that Concerta is habit-forming and not recommended for use in people who have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction in the past. And if you are taking Concerta to get high, the risk of becoming addicted to Concerta is greater. More on euphoria and Concerta here, plus we invite your questions about getting high on Concerta at the end.

What’s in Concerta?

Concerta is a powerful stimulant medication that contains methylphenidate, the same active ingredient as Ritalin. Methylphenidate is a stimulant typically prescribed to treat the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Unlike Ritalin, Concerta is an extended-release version of the stimulant. However, you have the potential to become addicted to both Ritalin and Concerta, especially if you are using them to get high.

Concerta and euphoria

When taken as prescribed, Concerta does not get you high. In fact, for people with ADHD, Concerta does not produce stimulant effects. Instead, Concerta has a calming impact when taken for medical reason. Similarly, in people with disorders like narcolepsy, rather than producing a high, Concerta helps keep them alert throughout the day.

But when taken by someone who does not need Concerta for medical reasons or, or when taken in a manner other than prescribed, Concerta can elevate mood, increase feelings of well-being, and increase both energy and alertness.

Concerta and central nervous system effects

Concerta is a central nervous system stimulant. It works by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain. Some of the effects of Concerta on the CNS include:

  • dizziness
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle lightness
  • nausea
  • nervousness

Concerta can also cause very serious adverse effects. It is a potentially very dangerous medication that should only be taken under a doctor’s direct supervision. Concerta can cause sudden death in children and teens with a history of heart problems or heart defects, and can also cause strokes or heart attacks in adults. Concerta abuse can cause hallucinations, delusions, and sometimes even psychosis.  Some of the adverse effects of Concerta that require immediate medical attention include:

  • agitation
  • chest pain
  • delusions
  • fainting
  • fatigue
  • hallucinations
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • psychosis

Getting high on Concerta

Normally, doctors start people on a very low dose of any stimulant, and work up to a therapeutic dose. This is because Concerta can cause a euphoric high when taken in doses larger than prescribed by a doctor . Nonetheless, it’s difficult to get high by ingesting Concerta normally, since it is an extended-release capsule. The capsules may sometimes be crushed and snorted to create a more immediate effect – however, given the effects Concerta has on the heart, this is very dangerous. Some people will dissolve the pills in water and inject the solution intravenously, which is dangerous because of the insoluble fibers contained in the pills – these may block blood vessels.

Does Concerta and similar drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall show up on drug screens?  Yes, these drugs test positive for amphetamines, and are included on some standard drug panels.  So, if you are abusing Concerta, you need to know that your misuse can be detected.

Can you get addicted to Concerta?

Yes, you can become addicted to Concerta. In normal doses, Concerta does not appear to be addictive. However, physical dependence to Concerta can occur even in people who are taking the medication as prescribed. Concerta does create a tolerance over time, so that users need to take larger amounts to get the same effects. And withdrawal symptoms occur when people who take Concerta regularly stop taking the medication. Because of its habit-forming potential, Concerta should not be prescribed to anyone with a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

Help for Concerta abuse

If you think that you have a problem with Concerta, you probably do. And you need to get help. This is because Concerta abuse can cause life-threatening complications, especially if taken by snorting or injecting pills. But help for Concerta addiction is available. Treatment for Concerta addiction involves medical detox followed by behavioral therapies to help cope with stress and resist the urge to take Concerta.

Need help finding the best Concerta addiction treatment program for yourself or a loved one? Learn more about available rehabilitation options, what does the process look like, and what to do after rehab to maintain sobriety. More in this comprehensive guide on Concerta Addiction Treatment Programs and Help.

Getting high on Concerta questions

Do you still have questions about getting high on Concerta? Please leave your questions and comments below. We will be happy to try to answer your questions with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: Daily Med: Concerta drug info
PubMed Health: Methylphenidate
NIDA for Teens: Stimulants
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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