What Is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse (lisdexamphetamine dimesylate) is a type of amphetamine (stimulant) that is prescribed for ADHD or moderate to severe binge eating disorder. It comes in a variety of dose strengths in capsules or chewable tablets. For people with ADHD, it can increase their ability to focus, reduce impulsivity, and calm hyperactive behavior. These symptoms and other side effects have led some people to become addicted to Vyvanse, explaining its legal classification as a schedule II controlled drug.

People often misuse prescription stimulants because they believe they may increase professional productivity, help with cognitive decline in aging people, or improve academic performance. However, the few studies that have analyzed the relationship between academic performance and non-prescription use of ADHD medications do not support this belief. Likewise, there are no supportive studies to show that prescription stimulants may help neurocognitive decline or professional performance.

Despite the lack of evidence, many people still misuse prescription stimulants and put themselves at risk for unwanted side effects and dangerous consequences.

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Vyvanse Side Effects

Even when taken as prescribed, a person may experience unwanted side effects with Vyvanse use. Without the supervision and professional guidance of a prescriber, the likelihood of unwanted side effects may increase with Vyvanse misuse. Side effects of Vyvanse misuse may include:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Feeling irritable
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness

  • Developing a tic
  • Rash
  • Increase in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Erectile dysfunction or decreased libido
  • Abdominal pain

The side effects a person experiences may vary depending on their age, other medications or drugs they are taking, and other health factors.

How Long Does Vyvanse Stay In Your System?

According to prescription guidelines, Vyvanse should only be taken once daily. The two main ingredients in Vyvanse are absorbed and processed at slightly different rates in the body. One dose reaches its maximum levels in a person’s blood between 1-3.5 hours after consumption and is no longer detectable in the blood 8-12 hours after consumption. So, a person could have effects from Vyvanse up to 12 hours after taking it, but for many, the effects wear off earlier.

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Is Vyvanse Addictive?

Using Vyvanse can lead to addiction, particularly when it is used other than prescribed. However, even when taken as prescribed, a person may develop tolerance or physical dependence upon Vyvanse with chronic use.

Tolerance is characterized by the body’s adaptation to the drug, leading to lessened effects with the same dose or needing to take increasing amounts of the drug to experience the same effects. Physical dependence is characterized by the body’s dependence upon the drug to function normally. If the drug dose is abruptly reduced or eliminated, a person with physical dependence may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction is commonly accompanied by tolerance and physical dependence but does not have to be. A person who is experiencing addiction loses control over their drug use and will compulsively continue using the drug despite harmful consequences.

Vyvanse Abuse Symptoms

Vyvanse abuse puts a person at an increased risk for negative side effects. Signs and symptoms commonly seen with Vyvanse misuse include:

  • Increase in breathing and heart rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Hyperactive behavior or feeling restless
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of coordination

  • Vomiting or abdominal pain
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Aggressive or hostile behavior
  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
  • Overdose
  • Death

Using prescription stimulants other than prescribed can have serious consequences. It is impossible to know ahead of time which symptoms may affect a person who misuses Vyvanse.

Signs And Symptoms Of Vyvanse Addiction

Several signs and symptoms are characteristic of a substance use disorder (SUD). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.) (DSM-5) lists eleven criteria to help identify and diagnose a stimulant use disorder:

  • Taking more of the stimulant or taking the stimulant for a longer period than originally intended.
  • Desiring to cut back or stop using but being unable to.
  • Spending increasing amounts of time seeking, obtaining, using, and recovering from stimulant use.
  • Having cravings for a stimulant.
  • Chronic stimulant use results in an inability to complete duties at work, school, or home.
  • Continuing to use the drug despite ongoing social or relational problems caused by its use.
  • Giving up or reducing previously important activities in favor of stimulant use.
  • Using the drug in physically dangerous situations.
  • Continuing to use the stimulant despite its contributing role to ongoing physical or psychological problems.
  • Developing tolerance to the stimulant.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when stimulant use is abruptly reduced or interrupted.

Not all eleven criteria are required to diagnose a stimulant use disorder. In fact, a person may have a Vyvanse addiction with as few as two of the criteria listed above. If you or a loved one may have a SUD, getting a professional assessment can help you get a diagnosis and the treatment you need.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Stopping Vyvanse Use?

If a person suddenly stops using Vyvanse after chronic use, it is possible to experience withdrawal symptoms. However, these are not typically life-threatening on their own. Prescribers will often taper the dose of Vyvanse when a person no longer needs it to avoid withdrawal syndrome.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Vyvanse?

The withdrawal symptoms of Vyvanse are few, but their severity may vary from person to person. Symptoms of stimulant withdrawal often include:

Stimulant withdrawal typically begins within 24 hours of the last dose taken and may continue for 3-5 days. If you or a loved one are experiencing severe depression during withdrawal, it may be important to be seen at a psychiatric facility to manage suicidal ideation or other dangerous symptoms.

Vyvanse Overdose

If you or a loved one might be experiencing an overdose of Vyvanse or another substance, it is important to call 911 immediately.

Signs and symptoms that may be experienced during or shortly after intoxication from overdose include:

  • Restlessness or tremor
  • Hypersensitive reflexes
  • Rapid breathing
  • Confusion
  • Violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic
  • Fever

  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fluctuating blood pressure
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or cramping
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

For some people, even relatively low doses of Vyvanse can lead to toxic symptoms.

Vyvanse Addiction Treatment

Treatment is available for stimulant use disorder, including Vyvanse addiction. Evidence-based treatment programs often incorporate a variety of behavioral therapies, support groups, and medication, depending on each individual’s needs. Addiction treatment is typically accomplished along a spectrum of care, and as a person’s needs change, they may “step down” to less intensive treatment programs throughout recovery.

Substance use disorder treatment, including Vyvanse addiction treatment, offers four main levels of treatment with a wide variety of programs depending on individual needs. Evidence-based addiction treatment is always individualized but may often include the following:

  • Medical detox: Detox and withdrawal from Vyvanse are not typically life-threatening, but getting professional support can increase a person’s chance of maintaining sobriety, avoiding relapse, and continuing with addiction treatment. Detox may cleanse the body, but addiction requires additional treatment for the brain to heal.
  • Inpatient treatment: Inpatient programs may occur in hospital or residential settings and offer 24/7 live-in care. Typically, with very structured schedules for therapy and other activities, inpatient programs provide the structure and support needed for moderate to severe SUDs.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient programs vary widely in intensity, but all allow a person to live at home during treatment. Some may require 6-8 hours of therapy per day throughout the week. Other outpatient programs may only require participation a few times per week. Finding the right program depends on the severity of your addiction and other personal, social, and support factors.
  • Aftercare: Aftercare refers to any involvement in addiction recovery efforts after completing a more formal treatment program. Aftercare programs include community-based mutual aid groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Smart RecoveryTM, personal recovery coaches, sober housing, and more.

Throughout recovery, a person may experience multiple levels of addiction treatment. Sometimes relapses after treatment occur, and a person may need to complete the same “levels” of treatment again. The important thing to remember is that healing is a lifelong commitment. Relapse does not mean you have failed. With continued effort toward recovery, many people achieve sobriety.

Begin Treatment For Vyvanse Addiction

If you or a loved one are struggling with Vyvanse misuse or addiction, effective treatment is available. Contact a treatment provider today to explore your treatment options. Start your healing journey and begin living a happier, healthier life.