Ritalin and Concerta are CNS stimulant medications that are used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Both of these medications contain the same active ingredient, methylphenidate. They work by increasing brain activity, specifically the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the central nervous system. Ritalin and Concerta produce unnaturally high levels of dopamine. Dopamine occurs naturally in the body; it is the body’s natural feel-good chemical that creates a rewarding effect.
Both Ritalin and Concerta increase energy, increase the user’s ability to stay focused, pay attention, and can help to control behavior problems. Ritalin and Concerta may also help reduce symptoms such as fidgeting, improve listening skills and help a person to organize their tasks. Both drugs are also sometimes used to help those with sleeping disorders to stay awake.
The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry says:
Many children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD can benefit from the therapeutic effects of methylphenidate with minimum side effects. The most common side effects are insomnia, stomachache, headache, and anorexia. When these side effects do occur in treatment, they usually can be managed effectively or diminish in severity with time to a tolerable level. This stimulant medication is generally safe when used as prescribed; it produces few serious adverse events when used orally in therapeutic doses. However, the entire therapeutic profile starts to change when it is abused. (NIH)
Ritalin and Concerta are listed as Schedule II Controlled Substances by the DEA. This means the drugs do have medicinal benefits, but both have a high potential for abuse, and a person can develop a physical dependence.
What Is the Difference Between Ritalin and Concerta?
Ritalin and Concerta contain the same active ingredients, both medications work in the body in the same fashion and produce the same results, but they do have their differences. Concerta is a long-acting drug. It causes a steady increase in dopamine, and it is taken once a day. Concerta last for between 10 to 12 hours.
Ritalin is a short-acting drug, which means it works quickly and increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels immediately. It is taken 2 to 3 times a day and is effective for people that need immediate relief. Ritalin does come in a long-acting form, but its effects only last about 8 hours.
Is Ritalin More Dangerous Than Concerta?
Both Ritalin and Concerta are very addictive prescription medications, but Ritalin has an instant release formulation that could be more dangerous. Ritalin could be more addictive due solely to the fact that its effects work immediately. Especially if the drug is crushed and snorted or used IV. However, any drug that is abused by being crushed and snorted or used through an IV will produce intense, immediate effects. When addicts are looking to get high, more often than not they are looking for immediate “relief”.
Treatment for Stimulant Abuse
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Recreate Life Counseling offers evidence-based addiction treatment. Our cutting edge addiction treatment will lead you on a road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Call us today for more information on our stimulant addiction treatment programs.