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Concerta Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

Concerta (Methylphenidate) is a psychostimulant drug that is used to treat ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). It is also used in some cases for the treatment of narcolepsy and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). It contains the same active ingredient found in the popular medication Ritalin. This drug works well when taken for its intended purpose – to help people manage their ADHD symptoms.

In some cases, psychiatrists have also utilized this drug as an augmentation strategy for treatment resistant depression. Select studies have found this medication to be pretty successful at treating cases of refractory depression. Other uses for Concerta include: offsetting the depressant effects of opiates as well as enhancing overall cognition. This is a drug that also is used recreationally by college students to help with academic performance.

When used for non-medical purposes, people can build up a quicker tolerance and there is a higher potential for abuse.  Although Concerta is a very popular medication to treat ADHD, it doesn’t work well for everybody. Many people try it and don’t get as good of an effect as a medication like Adderall or Vyvanse. If you have been taking Concerta for awhile and plan on withdrawing from it, you may want to know the withdrawal symptoms that you may experience.

Factors that influence Concerta withdrawal

When you take any drug, there are going to be factors that play a role in determining the severity of your withdrawal. These factors that will influence your withdrawal from Concerta include: time span (how long you took the drug), dosage (how much you took), your personal physiology, and whether you quit cold turkey or tapered.

1. Time Span

How long were you taking Concerta? Was it for a couple months? Or have you been on this drug for years? Individuals that have been taking this drug consistently (e.g. on a daily basis) for an extended term have a greater likelihood of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Your body and brain will essentially become dependent on this drug for functioning if taken over a long term.

2. Dosage (18 mg – 72 mg)

Most people are on a dose between 18 mg and 72 mg – depending on age as well as body weight. In any regard, when you take a psychostimulant drug like Concerta at a high dose for an extended period of time, your brain becomes accustomed to receiving this high dose for daily functioning. Individuals that are taking a lower dose tend to have an easier time with the withdrawal process than a person who was taking the maximum daily dose. If you were near the maximum dose of 72 mg per day, it would be recommended to gradually taper down the dose before you officially “quit.”

3. Individual Physiology

Although most people experience similar withdrawal symptoms for a similar length of time when coming off of a medication, individual physiology plays a big role in any withdrawal. Some people report zero withdrawal symptoms while others are tired and can’t seem to roll out of bed for weeks. Your nervous system, environment, and how sensitive you are to medications can play a role in determining how you react to a withdrawal.

4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

Should you quit this medication cold turkey or conduct a gradual taper? Anyone that has been on this medication for an extended period of time should conduct a gradual taper. The longer term you are on a drug, the more your body expects to receive it for daily functioning. If you suddenly discontinue Concerta, your physiology will produce many withdrawal symptoms. It is always best to conduct a gradual taper by slowly weaning off of the medication so that you gradually adapt to functioning without the drug.

Concerta Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

There are no guaranteed withdrawal symptoms from any drug, however, most people experience a few of the symptoms listed below. The duration and intensity of these symptoms will vary based on your physiology and other individual circumstances. The following symptoms can be used as a reference if you are planning on withdrawing from this drug.

  • Anxiety: Many people experience anxiety when they stop taking Concerta. In some cases the anxiety is severe and can lead to panic attacks. Just realize that this anxiety will not last forever – it is likely a result of neurotransmitter changes. Your neurotransmitters will reset themselves and your anxiety level will eventually drop.
  • Appetite changes: Some people really notice that their appetite increases when they stop Concerta. This is because the appetite-suppressant effect is no longer received from the drug. You may start to
  • Concentration problems: Since this is a drug that is used to treat symptoms of ADHD, most people experience improvements in concentration and cognition while they take it. When they stop taking it, ADHD symptoms may re-emerge. In fact, your focus may be significantly worse during withdrawal than pre-Concerta treatment.
  • Cravings: Some recreational users of this drug experience cravings when they stop taking it. This is usually more likely in people that abuse Concerta by taking significantly higher amounts than the recommended dose.
  • Depression: It is very common to experience a mild, low-grade depression when coming off of a stimulant. Most stimulants tend to increase activity in the central nervous system, which can lead to improvements in mood, mental acuity, etc. When a person stops taking the drug, their nervous system slows down, brain activity slows down, and dopamine level may be lower than normal. This depression will eventually subside if given enough time.
  • Fatigue: Most people experience some sort of fatigue or lethargy when they stop Concerta after a long term treatment. This is because when you are giving your body and brain stimulation for a long period of time from a drug, it becomes dependent on that drug for functioning. If you cut off the supply (i.e. withdraw), it no longer has the energy or dopamine stores that it once did.
  • Foggy thinking: A lot of individuals report that their thinking is not as sharp when they stop taking Concerta. If you are experiencing “brain fog” or foggy thinking when you stop this medication, it’s likely because you are experiencing a mental crash. Your brain is no longer receiving the stimulation from the drug and your neurotransmitter levels may be temporary low.
  • Headaches: This is a pretty standard withdrawal symptom from any drug. When you stop taking it, your physiology signals that something is wrong by producing a headache. As your body adjusts, the headache will subside.
  • Irritability: It is common to become irritable during Concerta withdrawal. You may notice that every little thing in your environment irritates you and you cannot control how you react. Family and friends may notice that you have become more difficult to socialize with.
  • Mood swings: Many people experience mood swings when they stop taking this drug. This can make for difficult social interactions within a couple weeks of quitting. You may feel grumpy one minute, then happier another minute. These sudden swings in mood should stop within a couple weeks of your withdrawal.
  • Motivation problems: In some people, Concerta really helps them get motivated and stay motivated to accomplish tasks, work, school-related work, etc. If you stop taking this medication, you may experience a period of time where your motivation level drops off significantly.
  • Nausea: Some people have reported feeling nauseated when they stopped taking this drug. In some cases this can be severe, but most people do not experience significant nausea to the point of vomiting. Do your best to deal with the nausea and know that it will likely stop within a week.
  • Sleep changes: This is a drug that tends to keep people awake and promotes wakefulness. In general, most people notice that they want to sleep more when they stop taking Concerta. The increase in sleep should only last a few weeks, but may be longer if you were on this drug for a longer term.
  • Tiredness: Many people report feeling excessively tired and low energy when they come off of Concerta. This is a counter-effect to the increases in energy that they got while taking it. Since they quit the drug, their dopamine is lower and their brain will need some time to reset itself.
  • Weight changes: This is a drug that can help people lose weight while they take it. Concerta and other psychostimulants not only suppress appetite while speeding up the metabolism. When you stop taking this drug, your metabolism resets to normal speed and your appetite tends to return. In most cases, if you lost weight while taking this drug, you will likely experience weight gain when you stop taking it.

Concerta Withdrawal: How Long Does It Last?

There is no set withdrawal timeline for Concerta, it really depends on individual factors. Some people won’t be affected by withdrawal from this drug, while others will hit an unexpected brick wall of various symptoms. Doctors do not typically discuss withdrawal symptoms from Concerta with patients, so when the symptoms come, they are typically unexpected.

In general, most individuals notice that the bulk of withdrawal symptoms subside within the first few weeks of quitting. The best thing you can do for yourself is to realize that none of the symptoms are permanent and you will eventually bounce back to normal functioning. Doing things like getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, and drinking plenty of water will help ensure the quickest possible recovery.

Also take the time to socially engage with your family and friends, and partake in as many routine activities as possible. Eventually you will return to your normal self and state of functioning. Some people notice that symptoms clear up within a week or two, while others it takes almost a month to fully recover back to normal. In any event, if you have experienced withdrawal from Concerta and/or are currently experiencing symptoms – feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.

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50 thoughts on “Concerta Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?”

  1. The interesting part about all information on Concerta cessation is that it’s from an addiction recovery perspective. I don’t think this is inaccurate, but it’s not the way that family and friends look at the situation. They think “Oh, a doctor prescribed it, it can’t be a bad thing.” And beyond that, at least in my case, a lot of them ENCOURAGE me to take it because it makes me a more effective adult.

    That’s also not unreasonable, but they don’t see the problems it’s causing. The racing heart out of nowhere, the obsessive compulsion to get things done, the little gnawing anxiety that always just sitting in the pit of your stomach keeping you from ever being really relaxed.

    So you have to not only get off an addictive substance, and deal with the withdrawal symptoms, AND find strategies to deal with the initial productivity issues that caused you to start the medication, But you also have to do it in an environment where everyone is telling you you shouldn’t.

    It’s like if you were a cocaine addict and all you surround yourself with people who kept telling you you’re no fun at parties anymore. It’s actually exactly the opposite of what all the addiction literature says.

  2. I have been on concerta for 12 years approx. I take a break every month, for 2-3 days. It is hard the first day off it, but I find L-tyrosine capsules
    500mg x 5 daily – help the uncomfortable feeling disappear. If you feel edgy in the afternoon, take another 2. A break helps you reset your system I feel.

  3. I’ve taken 54MG of Concerta for around 17 years. Whenever I’m off of it, I experience EXTREME fatigue. I literally cannot keep my eyes open. It seems to be directly correlated with when I eat food… And I’m starving. I can hardly function. I suffice with caffeine, which isn’t sustainable long-term.

  4. I started taking Concerta back in 2010. At first it seemed great at improving my mood when I was very depressed after a breakup. But be aware that for some people, it’s going to have side effects which get worse with the higher doses. While taking it, it made me resentful and impulsive. I was often angry with people. It ruined a lot of my relationships and I quit jobs over it though I did manage to make it through a year of business school.

    As each year passed, I suddenly found myself wanting to increase my doses. So I’d take two a day. Then I’d go to the doctor to increase my dose. Then I started biting them in half. When I started biting them in half, that’s when I really started to go sideways with anxiety and paranoia. I was up to sometimes 132 mgs roughly per day, sometimes more. I had gotten so addicted to them that I was taking my months worth in a week or two.

    I started having severe anxiety attacks at work and made a fool of myself and my boss still thinks I’m crazy, mentally ill, and unable to handle stress and recently terminated me from my company. (He doesn’t know that I am in active recovery in a 12 step program). Finally in 2015, I quit when I got a CPAP machine which allowed me to sleep for the first time in years. But let me tell ya, the withdrawal symptoms were absolutely agonizing.

    I was paranoid and anxiety prone for close to a year. This medication, once you get to the abusive stage, can destroy your life like it did mine. I was unable to work for a over a year because I was having lingering feelings of self harm and intrusive negativity. It was literally one of the worst years of my entire life and it left me unable to work. Now I have returned to work and people still think of me as I was before I went off work. The repercussions have lingered.

    I had numerous physical symptoms that took a year to be rid of such as peripheral neuropathy in my hands, feet, and legs. I was getting severe chest pains several times a week and some days it would last all day. I was easily winded just walking up a small flight of stairs. I’d get headaches all the time and began to also abuse advil and tylenol and on occasion drank alcohol to calm my anxiety attacks.

    My personality changed from that drug. I isolated, I spent money I didn’t have, I was impulsive and quick to temper. I really regret what I did and how I acted. I was totally self centered. The way I recovered from the withdrawal was to first do a parasite cleanse, get vigorous exercise at least three times a week, and started eating clean foods such as fruits and vegetables.

    I learned how to cook my own food and used a lot of turmeric and ginger in all my meals or as a tea. I made sure I was nutritionally taking care of myself. Now in the present moment of 2016, I have become socially active and maintain my physical fitness and have lost 35 lbs. I enjoy talking to people and making new friends whereas Concerta robbed me of all my friendships.

    Overall, I think people really need to weigh the pros and cons of taking medication like this. It can cause people to become suicidal and can change your personality completely like it did with me. In hindsight, if I had known how bad my allergies and sleep apnea were, I would have gone the route of fixing those instead of taking Concerta. Concerta almost resulted in me taking my own life. Thank God I was able to quit!

    • Good for you! Thanks for posting your experience. Very happy to read that you have bounced back from your bad experience with Concerta.

  5. WOW. Just read all this. I stopped 56/day cold turkey and never associated my sleeping 18 hours a day for 9 months was linked to withdraw symptoms. It worked when I used it but wow, took me a long time to get back.

  6. I was on concerta 54 mg for 5 years. Quit cold turkey and replaced the pills with coffee. However, since I wasn’t eating on then medication when I quit I started eating 4 meals a day. Over loaded my stomach got constipated which has now led to Diverticulitis about 9 months after quitting cold turkey…. FML.

  7. I started on concerta close to 6 months ago and over the last two months moved up to 36 mg. I also don’t know how much it really helps me, and as of late it’s increasing my anxiety which I take Xanax for and have for ten years. I’m terrified of these withdrawal symptoms, I had no idea this could happen.

    Hoping that it was under 6 months it won’t last long. Can I cut my 36 mg pills in half to taper down? I know that breaks the time release but does that really matter?? Please, any help on this is greatly appreciated! I wish I knew this before I started, so scared now. :(

    • Don’t cut it in half. That’s the worst thing to do with these. It will make the concerta release entirely within maybe a few hours. That will make everything a whole lot worse. Ask your doctor to give you 27 then 18 and then stop.

  8. My 20 year old daughter took Concerta 18 and the 36 mg for 4 months foe ADD helping her to focus and study. It really didn’t help much. She reduced it two weeks ago for 10 days and then took one again and stopped. The withdrawal has been awful. Headaches, huge mood swings foggy head and worse of all a psychotic episode three nights ago, paranoia, anxiety, aggressions. And now she’s zombie-like, totally not with it.

    She is under Psychiatric supervision now. Really concerned that this would last a long time. Don’t care about if she can’t finish her degree as her health is far more important. ADHD drags are nasty and really should be banned. This is only to benefit pharmaceutical giants and damage brains of whoever taking it. I would tell anyone with particularly ADD, MANAGE IT WITHOUT DRUGS, dependency, the crash, and the withdrawal… all much worse than living with ADD or ADHD.

    • How long did this last for your daughter? My 10 year old son (only a mere little 63 pounds) was on 27mg for 9 months and then moved to 36mg for 5 months, and then stopped cold turkey after finding Vayarin and getting miraculous results.

      The evening panic attacks and withdrawals were at their worst for the first five days when he stopped. However, we are on week three of still having significant evening/nighttime anxiety-he can’t eat dinner, he cries at bedtime at night.

      Yet, he is fine all day until about 5:00pm. I am praying this will end soon.

  9. I was on Concerta 54 mg. for 14 years, since I was 6. I’m severely ADHD, never grew out of it. When I was on it, I was very sharp, confident, and focused. Every once in a while, we had to try other ADHD meds due to complications with sleep. Tried everything between Vyvanse and Ritalin and ended up going back to Concerta. Vyvanse made me angry and moody all the time and Ritalin had me constantly bouncing off the walls.

    Towards the end of me using Concerta (I was 19 about to be 20) I started to have hallucinations, hearing my name being called from random places and things. That’s when I knew I had to get off. After I stopped taking ADHD meds for good, I started to have anxiety and random anxiety attacks, stage fright, thinking wasn’t so sharp anymore, and having vivid nightmares almost every night.

    I’m 22 and the symptoms have yet to go away. I’ve learned how to live without meds with my ADHD. It’s difficult to focus and stay on one subject when engaged in a conversation. I tend to be more forgetful than ever, which is becoming a problem.

  10. This helped me so much, reading the comments. I’ve been on Concerta for almost two years (two years this July or August) and I originally got on it because I talked a million miles a minute and was having trouble focusing in school (which was due to a concussion I had). I’m on other meds, so this one I typically ignored because it didn’t seem to be alike to my other ones.

    I recently asked my doctor about getting off of it, because I felt that putting all of these chemicals in my body wasn’t good, and in my mind I knew that getting off either two of the other meds I’m on wouldn’t be as easy to do with my doctor, so I choose Concerta.) He said there would be no side effects, and I was hesitant but I figured he was right–it was just an ADHD medicine, right? Well, the first few days, I was fine. I’ve gone a day or two without taking it before–and I did just fine, just a small little headache or something.

    But slowly, I felt the symptoms. Now don’t let my experience scare you–I did this cold turkey, and I don’t do well–I don’t think anyone does–going cold turkey. I was getting random stomach pains that lasted a few minutes, and then I’d be fine. My girlfriend and I figured it was just stress, because she gets them too and I brushed it off. But then my anxiety has been really bad.

    Granted, I’ve had anxiety for years and the past three months it’s been bad, and it was really bad over the weekend before I stopped taking Concerta, but it had been bad. I was a little emotional, but I’m an emotional wreck every now and then, so I brushed it off. Yesterday my stomach pains came more frequent, and today when I woke up it was a totally different story. I was feeling terrible. I brushed it off, thinking I just had gas, but with gas came anxiety, and with anxiety came emotions. My mom suggested taking it, because I hadn’t taken it since Monday.

    She figured it was withdraws. I normally take it earlier in the afternoon, and at this point it was a little late, so I was going tot ry and take it tomorrow, but I decided to take it anyway when I realized we didn’t have any medicine that would ease the pain in my stomach. I took it and within minutes, I felt so much better. Within at least 30 minutes, I was calm, my stomach pain wasn’t as bad. And while I’m still feeling kinda gross, I feel a lot better than I did earlier today.

    But then I realized something. For a long time now, I’ve been saying “I’m sad for no reason” where I won’t cry or anything, I’m just down in the dumps and I don’t know why. And for a while now, I’ve also been complaining about sweating, which I knew was a side effect of this medicine–and part of the reason I wanted to get off of it. Actually, both of those were reasons, because I figured this medicine was causing that.

    A few hours after I took it, I started sweating. And I got into a mood. I thought to myself, “Have I had problems with these while not taking this medicine?” I was pretty focused on my stomach pains and anxiety all week, and I’m not good at remembering things that happened within the past week or two. And being that a side effect of the withdrawals is feeling fuzzy-brained, I guess that’s why.

    So I asked my mom and my girlfriend, and my mom pointed out that I have been emotional, and more anxious, but I figured that was because of the withdraws. And it occurred to me, that maybe, just maybe, having gone those few days without taking it–I was a little happier, and just noticing that after I took it today, I felt the mood–and began sweating–I haven’t had problems with sweating all week.

    I mean, it’s nothing like it usually is. And now that I’ve taken it, I’m sweating badly. I decided to gradually ween myself off of it. I should’ve known that being on it for a year and a half probably meant I should do that, and like I said, I don’t do well with cold turkey–but I’ll admit I was scared to try and get off of it again after these withdraw symptoms. But after reading these comments, pretty much every single one said that after getting off of it, you feel more human, and you just feel a lot better, and you sleep better, and get a better appetite.

    I typically don’t like to read reviews of meds online, and everyone’s different–but it really encouraged me, reading these comments. So thank you to everyone who commented. I have a plan, and I’m going to take it as I typically do for a few days until I feel healthier again (like I said, the withdraw symptoms were terrible.) Even though I hate the feeling I get from this medicine, I know it’s way better than stopping cold turkey.

    Once it’s in my system for a few days, I’m going to take a half of my dose for a few more days. And then a half of a half for a few more days. The only thing I’m worried about, is the withdraw symptoms–my girlfriend is coming into town and I don’t want to be experiencing those side effects (it’s her birthday and she’s staying for a few days.) while she’s here. But I figure if I’m weening myself off of it, my body will adjust and it’ll be easier this time around.

    So hopefully this will help someone, and thank you again to those who posted. I texted my girlfriend, very excited, saying how everyone said it made them feel better when they stopped, and how I know everyone is different but literally every comment says that. Overall, I’m just excited to finally feel better. I’ve been thinking what I feel is my depression and I really think it’s this medicine causing me to not feel like myself.

    And I’m willing to face the fear of trying to get off of it again to finally feel a feeling I’ve been craving for a while. I know it’s not right away, but I have hope that maybe getting off of this medicine will make me feel better. Thank you all for your comments. They really encouraged me, because like I said, I was scared. But I feel so much better knowing I’m not alone in this.

  11. My son, who is now 19, has taken Concerta since he was 12. All of a sudden he stopped cold turkey, without telling anyone, for at least 4 consecutive days. Started having migraines, nausea, extreme fatigue, shaking, sweating, unable to sleep, or even function! We thought that he was having a nervous breakdown! Scared us and him to death.

    Once he told us about quitting the meds, we were able to see the whole situation. He just took a Concerta 18mg today, said that he would rather take the meds than feel like he was going crazy! I also feel better because we were really considering taking him to the hospital for mental illness, we were very concerned about his health. This tells me that he really does need the meds.

  12. I totally understand the tiredness. I have to get off the drug for the Army for a year before I apply and I’m really worried about being able to function without the drug for the year. Mainly because I have been taking it for like 10 years and recently within the last 4 years I upped the dosage from 36- 54mg. When I am off the drug for even just a day my body goes through major withdraw.

    Sometimes I’m really crazy and I think I have enough energy to function, other days I am so tired it is like impossible to function for 15 minutes without feeling sleep deprived for 4 days. Im also extremely hungry without it. Does anyone else experience theses symptoms within the first day to this extent? I mainly wanted to focus on the extreme lethargic and the really foggy head.

  13. I stopped taking concerta about 3-4 weeks ago because it’s so expensive and I didn’t have the money. When I take concerta it’s like night & day difference from not taking it. After about a week of not taking it I started to notice BIG changes; I had such a hard time completing tasks, I was fidgeting, had such a hard time driving because I couldn’t focus completely, then the exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks, and now I’ve had crazy mood swings where one minute I’m super happy, and the other I’m crying.

    The side effects are worse than my ADD! I really wish the medication wasn’t almost $115 for 30 pills. It’s ridiculous!!!! I can’t afford it but I obviously have to take it or I can barely function. Before taking concerta I had a really hard time keeping jobs because I could rarely finish any task because I would get distracted so easily then not remember to go back to it, this month of not taking it has been absolute hell. I just got more pills last night so I’m really hoping I’ll return to normal quickly.

  14. I have been taking concerta for more than 10 years now and whenever I need to get more, I wait for my prescription and have to do without the 54 mg pills. It gets me very sick without them, sometimes the nausea will last for 2 days if I miss one day and I just feel terrible without them. Is this normal?

  15. My 6 year old daughter was on this for severe ADHD and a week ago was taken off. She wasn’t tapered off and all of a sudden she refuses to sleep at night cause she says she’s having nightmares. She can’t tell me about the nightmare, but she is scared to death of this. She has never had this issue until stopping the medication. I can’t find anything but is the nightmares a withdrawal symptom? Thank you.

    • Hello Wendy! I’m not sure about the nightmare being a withdraw symptom, but I know the brain will dream what we are feeling. When I was switching from Adderall to concerta, I had this dream where I tripped into a pool with all of my electronic devices (I’m a photographer and one of the things was my external hard drive, so my entire life was literally destroyed), the water pulled me underneath the surface and I had to fight my way out knowing that I had lost everything already.

      I can only imagine how difficult it would be to fight the dream as a child and it would probably be terrifying! But when I investigated the dream, I learned “water controlling your body” is a sign for a change of events in your life. Even though it is just a change in medication, it is a huge and drastic change for the person going through the chemical changes. So, it could just be that her brain is going through some changes and is responding to that in dream form.

      My dreams stopped after I was adjusted, I’m sure that her will as well. As a side note, I am also going to cease using concerta or all medications as well because of my own psychological health. I have been on the medication since I was 8, and as an adult it has become something that holds me back more than helps me. So don’t let her nightmares change your mind about the change.

    • I was prescribed concerta 54mg for two years and recently tapered off. It’s been 3 months now without it but concentrating and sleeping are still somewhat of an issue for me. Waking up is such a challenge. Nightmares are also an issue. They have gotten significantly better since the first month and the worst withdrawal symptoms, but I still have extremely vivid dreams, sleep talking and trouble sleeping every now and then.

      I’ve taken to using Z-quil to help me fall asleep and began to drink coffee on days that I feel especially foggy (I’ve also noticed that caffeine doesn’t pick me up the way it used to). I also try not to think about negative things before bed, for example if my roommate watches a graphic/violent tv show I typically have extremely bad dreams that night and I’m 20 years old…

      It’s a little embarrassing when I have to tell people that “Game of Thrones” or “Dexter” give me extremely bad nightmares when I used to love watching horror movies as a kid. Sleeping with my boyfriend helps immensely with falling asleep and not having nightmares too, maybe let her sleep with you on nights that she can’t sleep? Hope your 6 year old gets through this, my 10 year old cousin is also prescribed concerta and I worry about him all the time.

    • When I stopped taking Zoloft, the same thing happened. Very vivid dreams and nightmares. Took going back on meds and getting tapered off slowly to fix things.

    • Hello Wendy! My name is Rodrigo. I am 16 years old and I started using Concerta very recently for ADHD, but I had to stop taking it for various reasons and just like your daughter, I have had a lot of trouble sleeping since I stopped taking it, as well as am experiencing a lot of fear at night which turns into a nightmare as soon as I fall asleep.

      I totally understand your little daughter and even though I am old enough to be “afraid of the dark” I am unable to deal with this kind of fear. I don’t know for sure if this is due to withdrawing from the medication, but it is not the only symptom I have had.

    • I was taking 27 mg for 3 months. I just started tapering off because of its peak period (9 hours after taking for me, but 6-10 hours after taking on average) when it can leave you very susceptible to delusions. This drug is simply not worth it. I personally don’t think any ADHD drugs are, but Concerta is by far the worst.

      You can get trapped in your head, and suddenly anything mythical, fantasy like or negative can get very, very real and serious. This actually is a sign of you taking an overdose, but the delusions can break you. Concerta can start to remove your emotions, and depersonalize you. But worst of all is going off it. Nightmares, hallucinations, the works.

      Some people who got addicted and then went cold turkey suffered from a slowed heart rate, and even died. So, taper off it for a couple of weeks (after talking to your doctor) and then stop. Regardless, if you are taking or are considering taking Concerta, DON’T DO IT, and stop. Nothing is more important than your mental health. These drugs ruin people.

      As for how to counter these side effects, like nightmares, go to sleep with the radio/YouTube/T.V on. Make sure it’s a comedy or something else innocent or fun. Also, recognize that these delusions are just that, delusions, and do something else. Yoga, meditation, psychiatry, and even hypnotism can help with delusions.

      Tell people about them, and when you have a problem like religion or something open to debate in one of those delusions, ask them what they think. It’ll help. Make sure that you have someone to help you through the peak periods in the drugs effectiveness. And finally, don’t do ANYTHING without asking your doctor.

    • Wendy, how long did this last for your daughter? I am asking for my 10 y/o son who is on week three of significant evening anxiety (thank God it only hits him in the evening), and it is breaking our hearts to watch him go through this. We are so angry that our pediatrician told us this was non-habit forming.

  16. Hey there, I’m 19 and a few days ago I stopped taking concerta, because I don’t have enough of it left, and I have yet to find a new psychiatrist who would prescribe it to me (I moved countries for university). So I stopped on Saturday, and today (Tuesday) I’m still experiencing extreme withdrawal symptoms. I’m extremely tired, despite taking huge amounts of caffeine, andI can’t focus on anything. Also, I’m all of a sudden very homesick, and I’m not sure if it is triggered by the withdrawal. What should I do?

    • Hello, Muradi. I’m sorry you’re going through what you’re going through. The best advice I can give you is to just be patient. These things take time and sadly the only thing you can really do is let time do it’s magic and let your brain reset back to ‘normalcy’. It’s normal to feel tired and unfocused when stopping any stimulant medication. I think the homesickness is something to be expected if you literally just moved for school.

      Homesickness happens to everyone. When I was a freshmen in college, the University I went to was only 2 hours away from home, but that didn’t stop me from visiting home almost every weekend due to homesickness. It just happens. The withdrawal very well may be amplifying it, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. With time it will pass. Best thing you can do is just to eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and be patient. You’ll be fine. Hope this helps. Good luck. :)

  17. Currently in the process of cutting back my dosage for Concerta by 36 mg. I have been on Concerta for 7 years with the highest dosage possible (72 mg) and currently three weeks strong on half-dosage. Withdrawal symptoms were difficult to deal with (lethargy, low energy levels, atrocious attention span) and for some reason, I developed a tendency to become easily aroused. Very uncomfortable but fortunately the last symptom leaves within a week.

    • I too noticed it has affected my sexual life with my husband. Before I was on Concerta and Ritalin we had a wonder sex life. We have been together 22yrs and married 16this month. We have remained close. But being on the meds I have a very low to almost no sex drive.

      I’ve been off just for a few days because of my blood pressure started getting high. Since I’ve been off less then a week and already I feel like my body sexually is coming alive after a very long hibernation. Lol that in itself makes me wanna stay off it. Good luck.

  18. I have been taking Concerta 36mg on and off for about two years now. By on and off I mean that I would take a break on weekends or some times even go a whole week without it. I would normally take it once daily but during stressful work periods, I’d binge and take 3 in the span of 24-48 hours. That was always followed with a period of high irritability afterwards.

    It really helps me get things done, but it also gives me headaches and anxiety. I am very social, but I felt like with Concerta I was more anxious around people or I would stress too much about work or other duties. So in the long run, I think the benefits didn’t outweigh the negatives. I stopped taking Concerta 2 weeks ago and it has not been fun at all. No motivation to get any work done, no concentration, irritability, mood swings, and a lack of focus.

    I am determined to stay off of it and I know this experience is temporary. And after reading this article, I kept asking myself, how come a medication that’s supposed to help you concentrate and perform better, does exactly the opposite after a while? I am determined to no longer take Concerta and if you’re reading this and are in doubt, you should do the same!

  19. I stopped concerta for a week because it was out of stock in my area. I realized during this week that I love my self with My ADHD because I stopped over analyzing everything, less stressed and I didn’t give a sh*t about every single detail that is not really necessary. Yes, I faced difficulties to manage my time, finalize tasks and behave irresponsibly. I was just doing what I feel like doing and say what I feel like saying, I was less serious and more sarcastic.

    After 5 weeks, which is today I took 36mg today, just to experiment the difference. And it wasn’t me – I was someone else who is committed, concentrated, organized and get things done effectively. But the whole day I wasn’t really happy, I didn’t eat or laugh as much as I did in the last 5 weeks. My friends and colleagues noticed the difference in my behavior, they really liked me without concerta – I love myself without concerta.

    I really don’t care what withdrawal symptoms I will have because I believe I can do it without medication. And I will consider my ADHD a strength and I will work on solving my issues in other ways that won’t mess up my brain chemistry.

    • My friend your comment made me really happy. I’m 26 years old, and after 6 years taking Concerta I’m feeling like I reached a point of no return. My life has changed so much in this period. I became more serious and organized, I focused a lot on my job and at this point I’m in a great career path, making big bucks. But I’m not happy, and I haven’t been in a long time. Over this six years, I’ve gradually lost all of my friends, so gradually I barely noticed.

      I became a boring person, too analytical and detached, and I also was bored by them. At 20 years old I was a failed student, but a very happy and social guy. I feel like I have to make a decision, that’s why I’m researching about quitting this drug. I just want to be happy again and hang out with my friends. That’s why your story made me happy, It’s a relief knowing that I’m not alone and that maybe I can be again my old self.

      • Anything that plays with brain chemicals will have down effects in the future. I stopped using it 2 years ago but I still don’t feel fully happy. I would choose being happy over having money any other day. I still can’t concentrate easily or socialize as I used to before I started using concerta (I also used ritalin, strattera). I don’t recommend anyone using any kind of ADHD medications, best way is I believe to fight it by your own instead of messing your brain with chemicals.

        • I’ve been off for of Concerta for 2 & 1/2 years, and I also don’t feel fully recovered. I, too, have trouble socializing, and I also have trouble putting my thoughts into words worse than before I was on Concerta.

      • I like how you guys highlight the benefits of ADD. I definitely noticed the past 3-4 weeks I’ve had way more personality than when I’m on concerta but for me I haaaave to take it because I can’t hold down a job without it. I can’t complete any tasks unless I really really really force myself to do whatever it is but trying to not get distracted and forgetting things is awful. It’s really stressful for me to have to constantly renin myself to go back and finish things, or to try and stop myself from getting distracted.

        I feel like without concerta my personality shows more, but not being able to function and being paranoid about f’ing up my work because I keep forgetting things is too much. I wish I could stop concerta forever (mainly because it’s toooooo expensive) but I have to keep taking it if I want to be able to keep a job.

        • Maybe you’re in the wrong job. Are you able to maximize your strengths? I do understand how you feel because I’m in a similar situation, but there was a time I was self employed and doing what I loved, which somehow made it easier for me to function. It may be that you’ll need the medication to get to a steady happy place in your life, but once there maybe you can begin slowly weaning from meds, around a career and lifestyle that supports you succeeding off meds. It’s my wish.

        • You just described my life every week the exact. And when I run out, I am not even able to get out of bed let alone even think about work. It’s a vicious cycle, because I am needing more than I used to, do every day tasks and I run out quicker. So then I can’t work, and even when I’m not working I don’t even wanna make dinner, shower anything.

          I’m looking for a natural supplement to help me function when I don’t have them and for when I decided to cut down and hopefully one day wean off. I went and got natural energy supplements but they’re not working, is there anything else I could take that will help me function when I do not have them? Like I said, I can’t even take a shower let alone work, or clean up and make dinner.

          • I was taking concerta for 3 years. Then quit because I got pregnant. I felt very depressed and anxious and after 6 weeks I felt better. But ONE thing never left. My energy and sleep pattern changed for the worst. My baby is 3 months old and I’ve been on it again for 6 weeks and have quit cold turkey after taking 104 mg everyday for 6 weeks and am feeling HORRIBLE! CAN ANYONE PLEASE HELP ME?!

      • George, You just described my life. I’m 27, have been on concerta for 7 years. It’s made me a professional powerhouse, but I’m less happy and I can inadvertently be cruel. I do a cold hard analysis of situations and then lay it out for people. Useful when you’re talking about governance and policy, devastating when you’re talking about the life choices of a loved one.

        I recently applied to join the army reserves, passed all the aptitude tests with flying colours, but was disqualified because I take a daily medication. That’s the push that’s getting me to quit. I want to the camaraderie of people like me who want to sleep in the cold wet dirt, and the only way to get it is if I can go off concerta for 6 months.

    • Mohamed, I can identify with a lot if what you say. I’m funding that on 36mg Concerta I can concentrate much better to the point of obsession, but it comes with mood swings, anxiety and is affecting my relationships with wife and kids. Starting CBT for ADHD soon.

  20. I legally abuse Concerta. I take around 3 54 mg tablets at a time… when it wears off I get a migraine from hell and I have awful mood swings, feel pointless and useless, but when I wake up the next morrning I do not nessasaraly want it. Then I feel very few withdrawal symptoms. I’ll take 5 a day then just stop cold turkey for a month and has never bothered me too badly.

  21. I stopped taking Concerta gradually.I used to take 36 mg for two years, then my doctor reduced the dose to 18 mg. I took 18 mg for two weeks and I’m clean now :) My doctor gave me supportive medicines like wellbutrin 150 mg, and modiwake (to use when I feel sleepy). However, I feel now more depressed than ever. I’ve been treated nearly for 15 years. I’m 32 now and I’m still in depression. I always want to cry and stop my tears because I’m at work most of the time. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep and don’t know what to do.

    • I quit 36 mg of concerta two months ago, I am very foggy, unable to concentrate and moody. I made a doctor appt to discuss getting back on them for next week.

        • I took Concerta 54mg for 9 years. I have tried to go off of it in the past but the withdrawal symptoms were so bad that I would start taking it again. Then I recently started having high blood pressure issues. The doctor wanted to medicate me for that but I decided once and for all to get off the Concerta. After about a week, my blood pressure went from around 170/96 to the 128/78!

          That was without doing anything else. I think Concerta did help for a long time but it finally became too detrimental in other areas. I certainly understand what other people are saying about their withdrawal effects. I have put on some weight – I felt like I was starving to death for about two weeks. I was extremely irritable. I was exhausted and was sleepy all the time . I understand perfectly what others mean when they talk about feeling “foggy”.

          It’s been about a month now and I finally feel like I have been through the worst of the withdrawals. I’m still hungrier than usual but I sleep better than ever, my blood pressure is near normal and I feel more relaxed and less anxious. It feels like my brain is resetting itself back to normal mode. So to anyone else who may be going through this, I suggest you eat as much as you want and get all the sleep you can till you get through the worst of it. It’s really, really bad at first but the symptoms are temporary so don’t give up!

          • I (not intentionally) quit cold turkey from 60-72mg for 2 years then 4-5 20mg Ritalin 3 years before that. So…5 yrs or so then Zap! Out of state, couldn’t make doc appt long story…it’s been 5 days? Idk, not even sure what day it is I’m living in a parallel existence of poor me :(. It was good to read your experience, gives me hope.

            P.S. There is a chance my script might arrive today or tomorrow (but I hope it gets lost in the mail). If it does I’ll just use it to get to drive 16 hours to back home. Don’t like this one bit but it’s a good healthy change I’ve gained weight and look better as in healthier ha ha. Haven’t been able to shower in IDK how many days :^{ Maybe today will be the day.

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