I. The Basics of Concerta Rehabilitation

This guide was written to provide an overview of the Concerta rehabilitation process, as well as to offer helpful resources for persons recovering from Concerta addiction.

Concerta rehabilitation usually begins with an orientation to the treatment facility. During this orientation session, the individual meets with treatment staff and learns about the facility’s services. The individual may also take a tour of the facility before undergoing an initial assessment. The assessment allows treatment staff to develop a personalized rehabilitation plan for the individual. Following the assessment, the individual goes through an initial detoxification period, which is when Concerta is eliminated from the body under the supervision of a medical professional.

When the initial detoxification period ends, the individual participates in behavioral therapy and uses his or her remaining time in treatment to develop supportive relationships that can help reduce the risk of relapse.

Description of the Four Steps of the Rehab Process

For more information, read our guide to the rehab process.

What Makes Concerta Rehabilitation Difficult?

Concerta is considered a Schedule II substance, which means it has a high potential for addiction and abuse. In fact, stimulants are among the most abused substances in the world, according to the 2019 World Drug Report.

One reason it’s so difficult for some individuals to stop using Concerta is that the substance prevents dopamine from being transported out of the brain. As a result, taking Concerta causes dopamine levels to increase, producing a sense of euphoria. The individual is compelled to keep taking Concerta to continue feeling that same sense of euphoria, which can lead to a dependence on the drug.

The Unique Struggle of Concerta Addicts
Concerta…
  • affects the brain’s reward system, producing a sense of euphoria that encourages continued use in some individuals
  • floods the brain with dopamine, increasing the risk for tolerance and dependence
  • produces unpleasant, even dangerous, withdrawal symptoms, making it difficult to stop using
  • addiction is difficult to overcome due to the complex relationship between the physical and psychological side effects

Concerta Rehabilitation Statistics

Concerta Treatment Admissions by Gender

44.1% Female
55.9% Male

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates in 2015:

  • 5,251,000 individuals aged 12 and older — 2.0% of the population — engaged in stimulant misuse within the previous year
  • 491,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 misused stimulants within the past 12 months
  • 239,852 individuals 12 years of age and older in need of treatment enrolled in a treatment program for psychotherapeutic stimulant misuse.

Demographics of Individuals Seeking Treatment for Methamphetamine/Amphetamine Addiction

According to a 2017 SAMHSA report that charts admissions to and discharges from publicly-funded substance use treatment facilities, men are considerably more likely to seek treatment for amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse, which includes Concerta. The gender breakdown of treatment admissions for amphetamines/methamphetamine was 55.9% male and 44.1% female. While amphetamine addiction occurs in all age groups, the most common age group admitted to a treatment facility for amphetamine and methamphetamine use was individuals aged 25 to 34, with 34 being the average age of all individuals from all age groups who are seeking rehabilitation.

Amphetamine/Methamphetamine Treatment Admissions Percentages by Age Group, 2017
Age at the Time of Treatment Admission Percentage of Sedative Treatment Admissions
12-17 1.3%
18-24 14.3%
25-34 41.5%
35-44 27%
45-54 12.4%
55-64 12.4%
65+ 0.2%

II. Concerta Detoxification and Withdrawal Process

Concerta addiction treatment typically begins when the individual undergoes an initial detoxification (detox) process. During this process, Concerta is eliminated from the body. Because Concerta has a half-life of approximately 3.5 hours, about half of the substance is eliminated in this time frame. The rest of the Concerta is usually eliminated within 48 to 96 hours of taking the last dose.

Once Concerta has been eliminated from the body, the full withdrawal process can last for several weeks. Any withdrawal symptoms that occur for longer than two weeks are referred to as post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the user’s medical history and history of Concerta use, these symptoms may persist for up to a year.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Body Mind
Short-Term Symptoms Headaches
Increased hunger
Nausea
Vomiting
General malaise
Restlessness
Flu-like symptoms
Chills
Slowed heart rate
Fatigue
Agitation
Depression
Panic
Nervousness
Lower energy level
Anxiety
Inability to experience pleasure
Difficulty concentrating
Reduced attention span
Nightmares
Difficulty sleeping
Long-Term Symptoms Impulsive behavior
Inability to regulate emotions
Anxiety
Paranoia
Depression

Dangerous withdrawal symptoms can occur when a user stops taking Concerta

When an individual stops taking Concerta, the amount of dopamine in the brain decreases. Even after the Concerta has been eliminated from the body, the user may experience significant psychological side effects, including paranoia, an inability to display appropriate emotions, heightened levels of anxiety, and impulsivity.

Concerta withdrawal can lead to suicidal thoughts in individuals with clinical depression

If a user stops taking Concerta suddenly, the psychological effects may be more pronounced. Some users experience severe depression after discontinuing this substance, increasing the risk of suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior.

The initial withdrawal period is especially dangerous for users with heart conditions

Concerta causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Although stopping Concerta can help with these symptoms, rapid changes in blood pressure and heart rate may cause severe complications, including stroke or heart attack.

Concerta Detoxification Medications

To help users manage the unpleasant symptoms associated with Concerta withdrawal, medical professionals at a rehabilitation facility may prescribe several medications. Bupropion can help with depression and other psychological withdrawal symptoms. Modafinil has a stimulant-like effect that can reduce the severity of certain withdrawal symptoms; it’s also used to prevent an individual from experiencing low energy levels during the withdrawal process. Propranolol and other beta-blockers reduce anxiety and also help control a user’s heart rate.

For more information about withdrawal, read our guide on Concerta addiction.

III. Treatment for Concerta Addiction

In the United States, no medications have been approved specifically for the treatment of Concerta addiction. Because modafinil has stimulant-like effects, it may be useful for curbing Concerta cravings, but more research is needed to prove it’s effectiveness for this purpose.

The most effective treatment for Concerta addiction is behavioral therapy, which may take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis. These therapies address the social and psychological roots of an individual’s addiction, reducing the risk of relapse.

Rehabilitation Settings

Within either an inpatient or outpatient setting, treatments, such as detoxification services, behavioral therapies, and medication-assisted treatments, are offered for varying lengths of time.

Inpatient treatment involves living full-time (including overnight) at a treatment facility for a set period of time. Outpatient treatment involves scheduled appointments at a facility in which you are free to come and go. Within each category, there are several distinctions.

Concerta Treatment Programs
Setting Type of Treatment Description Duration Time Commitment
Inpatient Short-Term Residential Intensive treatment, sometimes in a hospital setting. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:
24
Days Per Week:
7
Long-Term Residential Intensive treatment in a non-hospital setting, most often a therapeutic community with other patients. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-12 months Hours Per Day:
24
Days Per Week:
7
Partial Hospitalization Intensive treatment in a hospital setting. Patients do not stay overnight. Considered inpatient due to the hospital setting. Extensive services are provided and require a near full-time commitment every week. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day:
6-8
Days Per Week:
5
Outpatient Intensive Day Treatment Extensive services of an inpatient program but patients return home each day following treatment. After completion, patients often transition to less intensive counseling. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-4 months Hours Per Day:
2-4
Days Per Week:
3
Counseling Both individual counseling and group counseling focus on short-term behavioral goals to develop coping strategies. Therapies offered are moderate. Medication-assisted treatment is not available. As long as desired Hours Per Day:
1-2
Days Per Week:
1-3
Support Groups Self-help groups center on maintaining abstinence after another form of treatment. Typically meet one day a week for 1-2 hours. As long as desired Hours Per Day:
1-2
Days Per Week:
1

Behavioral and Medication-Assisted Therapies

Behavioral therapy for substance addiction seeks to identify and manage addictive behaviors that lead to use and prevent relapse. Behavioral therapy is based on the concept that all behavior is learned, and, thus, unhealthy behavior can be changed through learning coping skills and increasing awareness of negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to substance abuse.

Behavioral Therapies for Concerta Addiction
Type of Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

 

Further reading:

Definition

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps individuals learn how to address specific addiction triggers in a healthy way and develop better coping skills.

During a CBT session, individuals learn how their beliefs and feelings contribute to their addiction. They also have the opportunity to replace unhealthy behaviors with positive habits, reducing the risk of relapse and making it easier to stay sober.

Contingency Management Interventions/Motivational Incentives

 

Further reading:

Contingency management is used to reinforce positive behavior in individuals addicted to Concerta. Under the CM approach, an individual may be rewarded with money or special privileges when he or she engages in positive behaviors. For example, if an individual’s drug test is negative, she may receive a cash reward.

CM is often combined with other behavioral therapies to increase its efficacy. This approach may also result in improved compliance with treatment recommendations.

The Matrix Model

 

Further reading:

Researchers developed the Matrix Model specifically for individuals who are addicted to stimulants.

The model combines several therapies, including relapse prevention, 12-step programs, family therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, to ensure the individual has the tools and support needed to stay sober.

12-Step Facilitation Therapy

 

Further reading:

For individuals involved in 12-step programs, 12-step facilitation therapy can help increase program compliance.

The foundation of the program is acceptance of the fact that addiction is a life-long disease that must be managed carefully. Individuals are also encouraged to avoid addiction triggers.

IV. How to Find Help

Finding a Rehabilitation Center for Concerta Addiction

When searching for a rehabilitation center for Concerta addiction, it’s helpful to look for a facility that offers supervised medical detox. This can make the individual more comfortable during the initial detoxification period, increasing the likelihood that he or she will complete treatment.

Rehabilitation centers that offer behavioral therapies can help individuals who are addicted to Concerta stay sober. Cognitive behavioral therapy, the Matrix Model, 12-step facilitation therapy, and contingency management appear to be the most effective behavioral therapies for addressing this type of addiction.

Although outpatient rehabilitation can be effective, many individuals are likely to benefit from the structure of an inpatient program. Inpatient treatment is especially helpful for individuals who have eating disorders, alcoholism, or other co-occurring disorders.

Our Directory

Our directory of rehab programs includes a comprehensive list of available treatment centers and programs as provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In the directory, you will find tools to filter the programs by setting, price, and location.