For adults or children (older than 6) with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD), Ritalin has been an important part of treatment. I recently read an article about Concerta (Methylphenidate). Now if the active ingredient sounds familiar, it is. Ritalin and Concerta both are Methylphenidates but formulated differently. Concerta is a capsule that you take once a day as it slowly releases the medication over time. Ritalin, is different in the sense that you need to take it multiple times in a day. With Concerta you need to worry about forgetting if you took your medication. One and done.
What is Methylphenidate?
Methylphenidate is a commonly prescribed psycho-stimulant. It works by increasing the chemical activity of the central nervous system mainly in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for attention, impulse and decision-making. In basic terms, people who are diagnosed with ADHD or ADD have a shortage of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Methylphenidate prevents the brain from quickly absorbing the chemicals so it fools the brain into thinking that it needs more. By having more neural activity, it produces such effects as increasing or maintaining alertness, combating fatigue, and improving attention.
Methylphenidate (Concerta) is well-studied but has some side effects which include upper respiratory tract infection, abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, insomnia, increased cough, weight loss, dizziness, nervousness, and long-lasting painful erections. The last side effect really caught my eye. I am sure there are other smaller side effects.
There is also a large possibility of abuse or addiction from this drug. As you can tell, Concerta provides a sense of clarity or positive feelings. Now imagine if you try to snort it or worse inject it. One can get a short-term high from it which leads to abuse. Ritalin and Concerta have been used by college students to cram for exams since it increases short-term memory and attention. This leads to users becoming dependent of this drug to pass classes. The long-term effects on the brain aren’t well understood but they can’t be good for you.
Methylphenidate is not used only for ADHD or ADD. Additional studies have been performed to see what other treatments Concerta could be used for. Here is some of the main ones: some cases of lethargy, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder since it gives you a good happy feeling and obesity. If you noticed before in the side effects, weight loss was one of the side effects.
Have you used Methylphenidate for studying for exams?