Vyvanse is a central nervous system (CNC) stimulant medication within the amphetamine class of drugs. Used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder, this medication can also be abused. Most commonly this occurs as a way to enhance cognitive performance academically or professionally, though some do so to induce a euphoric state.
Abuse can lead to a severe loss of quality of life, addiction, cardiovascular complications, and sudden death. Inpatient drug rehab offers individuals the right combination of time, access to researched-based modalities and residential treatment setting. Together, these elements are critical when you’re working to overcome and heal from a serious addiction to stimulant drugs.
What Is Vyvanse?
Vyvanse is the brand name of the stimulant medication lisdexamfetamine. Vyvanse is a long-acting formulation which lasts for approximately ten hours. This capsule medication is prescribed in doses ranging from 20 mg to 70 mg.
As a stimulant Vyvanse increases:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Physical activity
- Respiration rates
If you’re using this drug as prescribed, these changes are typically safe, and some are even beneficial. But for those who abuse this drug, the effects on your CNS system can become dangerous, and in certain cases, deadly.
Prescription stimulant medications have been widely abused across our nation and Vyvanse was developed as a response to this threat. Other abused ADHD drugs like Adderall enter your body in an active state. This means that your body can utilize the drug quite rapidly, and also that the drug’s effects are felt quickly, qualities which make it tempting as a drug of abuse.
Vyvanse, on the other hand, is a prodrug. This means it enters your body in an inactive state, a feature which is thought to decrease the abuse potential. To become active it actually changes once your body begins to metabolize it.
An article published by The Mental Health Clinician explains: “After oral administration, LDX is cleaved into L-lysine, an essential amino acid, and dextroamphetamine.” Dextroamphetamine is one of the two active components of Adderall. Because this chemical is eventually produced by taking Vyvanse, some individuals do still abuse it.
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How Is Vyvanse Abused?
As a prodrug, it takes a longer period of time for the user to feel Vyvanse’s effects, a fact which is hoped to reduce its appeal for abuse. Despite this, Vyvanse is classified as a schedule II drug by the DEA, as is Adderall. According to the DEA, this means it has a significant potential for “severe psychological or physical dependence,” requiring that patients with prescriptions be monitored to spot any drug misuse and diversion.
Due to the way the drug is metabolized, in its original form individuals will not experience the quick rush or high they attribute to other CNS stimulants. In fact, according to the journal article, it takes much higher doses of Vyvanse than Adderall to create feelings of “drug liking.” To counter these effects, people who use the drug recreationally most typically take the drug in amounts and forms quite different than prescribed, medical use.
Some users may attempt to alter the form of Vyvanse to induce a quicker effect, however, the aforementioned article notes that “Intranasal or intravenous administration would still result in a delayed peak.” Unfortunately, despite the delayed mechanism of action, many individuals do still become dependent and addicted to Vyvanse.
When a person with ADHD takes Vyvanse, they experience a calming, focused effect. Recreational abusers who do not have ADHD feel effects quite opposite to this, including:
- Extreme spurts of energy
- Intense wakefulness
From this, you may see why some stumble into abuse as a way to increase their cognitive performance at school or on the job. Despite their infamy as “smart drugs,” ADHD medications do not actually make you smarter.
On the contrary, over time a person’s brain can become so imbalanced from chronic stimulant abuse that their mental functions suffer. In the long run, Vyvanse abuse can do more harm than any good offered by these false promises. As addiction takes hold and you begin to lose control over your drug abuse, your schooling, career, health and family life will all begin to suffer.
If you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD or a binge eating disorder or if you just think you have one of these conditions, it can be tempting to self-medicate with Vyvanse. Self-medication occurs with either your prescription or someone else’s and includes:
Using your prescription in a way other than it was written (taking more of the drug, taking it more frequently or both).
Seeking out Vyvanse to use when you suspect (but have not been diagnosed with) either of these conditions.
Self-medication isn’t a harmless action. Should you take the same dose as another person, it might be incorrect for you. It could also exacerbate an underlying physical or mental health condition.
Stimulant drugs hit our cardiovascular systems hard and alter the way our brains operate. Those with an existing heart concern, mental illness or family history of either faces unique risks that only a doctor can evaluate. Without this professional guidance, you could be exposing yourself to cardiac complications, including sudden death, and the formation or exacerbation of mental illness.
What Are The Signs Of Vyvanse Abuse And Addiction?
A person is never immune from drug abuse and addiction. As abuse becomes more frequent, and especially as it takes on the chronic patterns of addiction, a person’s life and behaviors will become quite obviously changed. Here are some signs of abuse to look out for:
Patterns of drug-seeking:
- Buying Vyvanse off the street
- Pretending to suffer from ADHD or binge eating in order to obtain a prescription
- Going doctor to doctor (“doctor shopping”) to collect numerous Vyvanse prescriptions
- “Losing” prescriptions as a way to get more of the drug
- Hoarding pills so they’re always on hand
- A person might ask or beg you for your prescription
- Stealing someone else’s prescription
- Alienating loved ones
- Claiming that you need the drug to function or to “do better”
- Lying about the amount or frequency of drug use
- Using higher doses than were prescribed
- Not being able to stop or reduce the dosage even if a person wants to
- Experiencing intense urges or cravings for the drug
- Upping the dosage in order to create the previous effect (tolerance)
- Exhibiting uncharacteristic behaviors while under the influence
- Extreme and uncharacteristic mood changes
- Taking part in risky behaviors while using the drug (unsafe sex or driving under the influence)
- Ignoring work, school or family responsibilities
- Continuing to use even when it begins to damage your mental or physical health
If you’ve begun to notice any of these patterns either in your own life or someone whom you care deeply about, let us help. Ignored, these patterns will continue to worsen, pulling a person deeper into addiction and the dangers inherent to it.
How Dangerous Is Vyvanse Abuse?
The moment you take Vyvanse in a way other than prescribed, you’re subjecting your body and brain to the risk of adverse health effects. Some are merely uncomfortable, while others can be dangerous and even life-threatening. You may not experience all at once or even all in sum. But remember: anytime you experience a side effect it means the drug is changing how your body and brain functions, an impact which could progress to unpredictable and fatal extremes within patterns of abuse.
The following are potential side effects of prescribed use, which means these could accompany abuse and addiction, only in more intense and frequent instances.
- Anxiety or jittery feelings
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Dry mouth
- Feeling sleepy
- Little to no appetite
- Sleep difficulties
- Stomach trouble
- Weight loss
More severe Vyvanse side effects include:
- Aggression or irritability
- Altered vision
- Cardiac complications
- Difficulty talking
- Excessive excitement or a frenzied mood
- Unfounded suspicions of those around you (paranoia)
- Mood swings
- Motor or verbal tics
- Numbness, pain or blue tinge in your fingers and toes
- Trouble breathing
- Shaking or weakness in your body
- Sudden death
According to the DailyMed:
“Manifestations of chronic intoxication with amphetamines may include severe dermatoses, marked insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, and personality changes. The most severe manifestation of chronic intoxication is psychosis, often clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia.”
Vyvanse abuse can lead to overdose. This holds true for both first time and chronic abusers. Overdose may result in confusion, depression, feelings of panic, nausea, and vomiting, rapid breathing, seizure, coma, and death. Prolonged use of Vyvanse can result in withdrawal, including feelings of extreme fatigue and depression.
Don’t ignore the signs of abuse. The longer you put off treatment, the greater the opportunity for damage to your body and brain. Choosing treatment gives your body, mind, and spirit a chance to heal, restore and rejuvenate, all while you’re learning how to live a sober and more fulfilling life.
Individualized Treatment To Treat Vyvanse Addiction
Good treatment should be transformative, a fact which shapes every experience you have with us once you walk through our doors. Each component of our treatment programs builds upon the last while preparing you for the next. One way we work to ensure these things is by offering you or your loved one individualized treatment.
As soon as you reach out to our treatment specialists, we begin working to identify the unique factors within your life which shaped your addiction. We also take into account positive influences, your personality, your interests and any other elements which could define your treatment experience. The sum of these things allows us to create a customized treatment plan. This individualized care not only makes treatment more engaging but more effective.
As you grow deeper in your sense of self and understanding of important recovery principles, you enhance your chances of a sober life after treatment. Coping skills, behavioral modification, and enhanced distress tolerance will all help to shield you from relapse down the road.
This is especially important for individuals who used Vyvanse to counter the stress and pressure of their education or careers. Building healthy habits and positive mindsets will help you create a stronger foundation for a successful, drug-free life.
What Treatment Methods Are Used?
The chemical burden of drug abuse changes the way your brain functions. Additionally, chronic drug-seeking and using changes the way you live and relate to your life, responsibilities, and relationships. Combined, these things can leave your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in extremely dysfunctional states.
Behavioral therapies, either in an individual or group setting, work to undo this damage while imparting coping and relapse prevention skills into your sober living toolset. Here are the researched-based therapies we use:
One of the most powerful benefits of these therapies is how they help you recognize and accept the need for change within your life while supporting you as you develop the skills to do so.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Since prescription drug abuse often originates from a person’s desire to self-treat a mental illness or emotional struggles, we offer cutting-edge dual diagnosis treatment. This intensive approach ensures that both the addiction and mental illnesses will be treated side by side, with each focus informing and strengthening the treatment of the other. The aforementioned behavioral therapies are critical elements of this program.
Life Skills Training
If your Vyvanse addiction was rooted in an attempt to enhance your academic or professional performance, our staff will work to teach you sober and positive ways to handle (and succeed within) these challenges.
Learn greater self-confidence, perseverance, interpersonal and communication skills, and workable life skills which bolster you against the challenges you face within your day-to-day life. For some, our Treatment for Professionals program might better address your career-based needs.
Further, our A Balanced Life program offers you a transformative opportunity to grow within your family, health, work-life, social life, spirituality, and self-improvement, so that you have a stronger and more enriching sober life.
Vertava Health also utilizes mindfulness and stress management practices and Adventure and Wilderness therapies to help you stay grounded, refreshed, balanced and challenged within your recovery.
Take Control Over Your Vyvanse Addiction Today
Your addiction doesn’t have to be the dominant force in your life. In fact, it doesn’t have to be something which destroys your life any further. Let us help you discover the many benefits of a sober life today. Good health, passion, hope, love for family and fulfillment from your career are all things more within your reach when you live a drug-free life. Contact Vertava Health today.