Methylphenidate hydrochloride, brand name Concerta, is a stimulant medication used in the treatment of ADHD symptoms. Stimulants have been approved to treat the ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsive behaviors, and inattention. They do so by helping to activate the areas in your brain responsible for paying attention and by circulating certain neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.

Concerta is a long acting drug. Typically taken in the morning, it's effects can last up to 12 hours, making it a once-daily medication. The maximum dose of Concerta is 72 milligrams (mg), but most doctors start patients with 18 mg. It’s also available in 27-mg, 36-mg, and 54-mg dosages. By starting off on the lowest available dosage and monitoring you as the dosage is increased, your doctor can ensure you are taking the smallest dosage possible to treat your symptoms.

Stimulants such as Concerta have many side effects. The more mild side effects may go away as your body gets used to the medication. These mild side effects include sweating, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, nausea, irritability and vomiting. There are also many potentially harmful side effects. These include fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain, cold or numb toes or fingers that turn white or blue, increased violence or violent thoughts, and even auditory hallucinations. Tell your doctor right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. They may adjust your dosage, switch your medication, or both. Additionally, men and teenage boys who take Concerta or its generic alternative may experience painful erections lasting several hours. Always keep your doctor informed of any side effects you are having, as they may indicate a need to adjust your dosage.

Concerta and Alcohol
Concerta is a stimulant, and alcohol is a depressant. However, they will in no way balance themselves out in your body. When used together, they actually compete in your body, and may cause many serious side effects. These can include many heart problems, higher temperature, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and irregular heartbeat. Mood problems, sleep problems, anxiety, and drowsiness can also be experienced when mixing these two drugs.

Another danger is the risk of alcohol poisoning. Stimulants can dull the sense of feeling drunk. People who use stimulants and alcohol together are more likely to binge drink. They are often unaware of just how intoxicated they are. This can affect your ability to breathe, lead to confusion or unconsciousness, and in some cases can be fatal.

There may be a clinically significant relationship between alcohol and ADHD, according to a report in Alcohol Research and Health. The report noted that an estimated 25 percent of adults receiving treatment for drug and alcohol abuse also have ADHD. Concerta is a U.S. Schedule II drug. This means it has a high likelyhood for abuse, and it's use should be carefully monitored. Using alcohol and Concerta together may lead to dependence to one or both substances. This would cause withdrawal symptoms should you stop taking them. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and include insomnia, headaches, nausea or vomiting, depression, anxiety, body shivers, and extreme fatigue.

Alcohol in excess is dangerous. Combined with stimulant drugs like Concerta, it is even more so. They both affect the brain, and act to combat each other in your body. Concerta and alcohol should not be mixed, as their potential dangers are amplified when used together. If you are taking Concerta, it is best to not drink alcohol.

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Author's Bio: 

Brian Wu graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Currently, he holds a PhD and is an MD candidate (KSOM, USC) in integrative biology and disease. He is also an experienced writer and editor for many prestigious web pages. Brian values the ability of all ages to learn from the power of stories. His mission is to write about health conditions, educational topics and life situations in an entertaining way in order to help children understand their own life conditions and daily circumstances.