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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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    1. Hi Heti. Concerta is an Rx medication that is only prescribed by a doctor. I suggest that you consult with your doctor about your issues.

  1. Will taking the white coating off of them help you feel the effect quicker? I am coming off of Ritalin 20 milligrams twice a day. My prescription got left on the bus when I went from Arkansas to Houston. So I’m pretty much screwed. I’m going to take to 36 mg, will that help me get over this withdrawal from the Ritalin?

  2. I don’t feel like my dose is not being time released. I feel like it dumps from 11am to the afternoon. I feel too anxious to move and I am not motivated. I take as rx but I cannot seem to find a comfortable dosage.

  3. i’m currently on a trial (to see which dose amount i should take) for concerta and i was on day 4 of taking a certain dose and halfway thru the day i felt really drunk/high!? what happened? I also haven’t been sleeping well the last 1-2 weeks so maybe thats part of it? and super stressful time at home and at school!!!!! super wild though. my mom picked me up and i got in the car and couldn’t stop laughing/smiling and my mom was like…. what u been drinking…. lol she told me to go walk the dogs and i did. i also found a sprinkler along the way. wild!!!!! i love sprinklers. haha I’m going down to the lower dose bc it also made me EMOTIONAL as heck. like I’m already emotional but like wow i had a hug meltdown on the train in front of my friend and a guy that I’m kinda friends with but not the have-a-meltdown-in-front-of-them level of friend ship u know? lmao everyone on the train was staring at me like …… ?????? good think i was wearing sunglasses bc damn my mascara was everywhere!! also is it safe to drink alcohol on concerta???

    1. Hi Issie. First, speak with your doctor about the thinks that you have experienced while on Concerta. It seems to me that you need a lower dose. Moreover, mixing Concerta with alcohol is not recommended because you put your health at risk. Please, use your medication only as prescribed by a doctor.

  4. hello i have been using this to study (only used it like 4 times for a test and took a considerably small dosage) i wanted to know because i have never been able to focus on reading or studying and the drug had calming effects on me is it possible i have add (i am 17 yr/o) so i was wondering if i should go to the doctor to do a test 80 kg 171 (am fat)

  5. Abuse of meds is what is making it so hard to get them anymore my daughter is disabled and is on concerta I have now locked it in a med safe Sorry it has come to this anymore due to teenagers comming in and out of our home and read on some other blogs some kids really dont think you can OD on this med what a shame!

  6. my friend took 2 alza 36mg in a matter of 40 mins this morning around 7 am , she does not have any adhd problems, she experienced sweating a lot and being very very chatty and veryyyyy jittery, feeling paranoid and kind of as she said it , bouncing off the walls and acting like a spaz, should she be worried, what should I inform her about this and will she be ok?

  7. This may be a silly question but… I am on Concerts 54mg and forgot to take it for a day, took one last night around 5pm than one again today @ 6:30. I am feeling a little antsy. Kinda like you get when I take a sudafedrin. Is this a normal thing or should I try to get get off of this med?

  8. I took a small dose of concerta today. I withdrawed from medication months before after visual hallucination possibly related to the medication. It was 18 mg i’m ADHD did not crush and took with vitamins. Around 9:00 AM i was in an abnormal sense of euphoria. then around 11:00 to 1:00 PM I was pale sickly and tired and depressed. What happened? before stress caused at school, i was fine with concerta. I was then stressed from various things, had depression and as previously stated hallucination. I still feel jittery as i’m writing this.

  9. I pulled this up because, though I don’t need it, I’ve been perscribed concerta for a long time and take it when I need a productivity boost, have a major test, or need motivation to get out of bed. Lately I’ve ended up needing to daily take 2 of my 54mg capsules to get through my day like I used to. It used to give me awful painful crashes when I took two, but now it just slowly fades off like it used to on one. Can you build a tolerance or something to it? Is there serious damage that can be done with long-term overuse, should I continue with 2? Also, can you mix it with other ADHD meds? Or would that be pointless or dangerous?

  10. Hi I have a friend who moved away to college since starting collage he has been on concerta, Ihe has adhd and finally decided he needed help. also I have been on concerta for a few years which leads to this question. I’ve always taken mine orally. He ( I beieve he’s on 54 mg) will crush them up and swallow them rather then snorting. I’ve always taken it orally and never crushed it and swallowed. Can concerta being crushed and swallowed have a faster release method? Or is it just possibly making him high?
    I wanted to know as soon as possible because he’s never been one to abuse medicines, if crushing and swallowing are just as bad as crushing and snorting please let me know so I can tell him how it only hurts your body in the long run and Thats not worth feeling all the good things it can do first. Just to feel bad later. He’s a good guy and has never sold or bought or got into drugs, I honostly beleive he’s been given wrong information and doesn’t know he’s abusong it, if it is even considerd abuse. And if it is something to make him hi please let me know so I can sit some and explain if it’s such a good idea to be crushing the concerta then swallowing it all. Thank you very much

    1. Hi Seth. By crushing up Concerta, the time release mechanism is being tapered with. It may not cause a ‘high’-per say, but it can boost energy, make you more talkative, outgoing, etc. He may not be addicted to it, but he is abusing the medication. In fact, taking any medication in ways or doses other than prescribed and instructed by doctors is considered prescription drug abuse. It can lead to physical and psychological dependence and even addiction, eventually.

  11. Hello Sheila. If your son’s been on Concerta for a long time and taking larger doses, it’s not safe to just ceize use. By now, his organism has become accustomed to the presence of Concerta and when he won’t take his medication, he will start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Those can be quite uncomfortable, so I’d suggest slowly tapering doses down before he quits completely. You can ask a doctor for further advise and protential risks.

  12. My son is taking Concerta ER 54mg but I wanted to see how he does off of it, can we just stop giving it to him? He’s been on Concerta for a few years & the dosage has gotten higher over the time, wondering if he’s gonna have to be on it for life?

  13. Is there a phone number I can call to see who can help in my area? My mom has been prescribed a very high dose, as she has taken it for close to 30years, and she needs to get to a dose more suitable!


  15. In your best answer, (I know that there is not one answer that suits everyone) what would happen to a 115lb male who took 504 mg of Concerta over the course of three hours? It is taken in 18mg capsule format (28 capsules). Please describe what the initial effects may be, etc. euphoria, anxious, and also is there a bad comedown?

  16. Hi Lisa C. Yes. When you liquefy and inject Concerta intravenously, there are a few things that can happen. In fact, complications arising from this mode of administration are common due to the insoluble fillers used in the tablets.

    1. When injected, these materials block small blood vessels, causing serious damage to the lungs and retina of the eye.

    2. Methylphenidate abuse can lead to binging, psychotic episodes, cardiovascular complications, and severe psychological addiction.

  17. If you have somehow managed to use Concerta intravenously, are you at significant risk for dying from stroke or other circulatory problems? And is there a way to extract the methylphenidate from the Concerta without it turning glue or gel like?

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