Side Effects of Vyvanse Abuse
Prescription stimulants are abused by individuals seeking to get high or improve their cognitive performance. Vyvanse, a Schedule II controlled substance, is no exception. Vyvanse can be an effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder when taken as prescribed.
Because of its high potential for abuse, it is essential to be aware of the dangers of Vyvanse abuse.
What Is Vyvanse?
Vyvanse is a central nervous system stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Vyvanse is approved for treating ADHD in children ages six and older. It can be taken with or without food and is typically taken once daily in the morning.
Vyvanse is the brand name for lisdexamfetamine, a prodrug of dextroamphetamine, meaning that it is converted into dextroamphetamine in the body.
Dextroamphetamine is a potent central nervous system stimulant that has been abused for its euphoric and performance-enhancing effects.
How Does Vyvanse Work?
Vyvanse works by releasing dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that play a role in focus and concentration. Vyvanse also inhibits the reuptake of these neurotransmitters, which leads to higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
Individuals with ADHD often have low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. By increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters, Vyvanse can improve focus and concentration.
Some other stimulant drugs that share similar properties to Vyvanse include:
What Is Vyvanse Abuse?
Substance abuse is when a person uses a substance for reasons other than its intended use. For example, someone might abuse prescription drugs to get high or improve their performance.
Vyvanse abuse can take many forms. Some people may crush and snort the pills to get an immediate and potent high. Others may take more Vyvanse than prescribed or take it more often than prescribed to achieve the desired effects.
Vyvanse abuse can also involve taking the drug without a prescription. Since Vyvanse is a Schedule II controlled substance, it is illegal to use it without a prescription.
Vyvanse use can also develop specific behavioral patterns, such as:
- Taking larger doses of Vyvanse than prescribed
- Taking Vyvanse more often than prescribed
- Crushing and snorting Vyvanse pills
- Taking Vyvanse without a prescription
- Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence of Vyvanse
Some common activities that lead to Vyvanse abuse include increasing academic performance, enhancing physical performance, combining with other drugs, and losing weight.
What Are the Dangers of Vyvanse Abuse?
Vyvanse abuse can lead to several dangerous and potentially life-threatening consequences. Because Vyvanse is a central nervous system stimulant, abuse can lead to increased heart rate, heightened blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.
Like other amphetamines, Vyvanse can also have psychotic effects, such as paranoia and delusions.
Here are some of the common effects of Vyvanse abuse:
- Increased heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Dry mouth
- Sleep problems or insomnia
- Gastrointestinal problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
- Weight loss
Since Vyvanse increases dopamine levels in the brain, it can increase blood levels and lead to heart problems. Here are some common heart-related problems associated with Vyvanse abuse:
- Heart attack
- Chest pain
- Heart failure
- Cardiac arrest
- High blood pressure
- Sudden death
Mental (Psychiatric) Problems
- Violent behavior
Signs of Vyvanse Addiction
How can you identify whether someone you know is addicted to Vyvanse? There are several warning signs and symptoms that indicate someone is abusing or addicted to Vyvanse. These include:
- Changes in behavior. People abusing Vyvanse might change their behavior to get the drug or hide their abuse. Some common changes in behavior include lying, stealing, and becoming increasingly isolated.
- Mood swings. Mood swings are also a sign of addiction caused by the changes in brain chemistry when taking Vyvanse. They may be overly happy or excited and suddenly become angry or irritable.
- Changes in appearance. Many physical changes may occur from prolonged abuse of Vyvanse. They may lose weight due to the appetite suppression caused by the drug, and they may also have trouble sleeping, leading to dark circles under their eyes.
- Extreme cravings for more Vyvanse. When addicted to Vyvanse, cravings are common. A person abusing Vyvanse might feel like they need to take more of the drug to feel normal and will go to great lengths to get it.
How to Help Someone With a Vyvanse Addiction
If you think someone you know is abusing or addicted to Vyvanse, there are several things you can do to help them.
The first step is to talk to them about your concerns. This can be a difficult conversation, but it’s essential to let them know that you are there for them and support them.
Second, encourage them to seek professional help. There are a number of treatment options available for people with Vyvanse addiction, and a professional can help them find the right one for their needs.
Once checked into a treatment facility, the typical treatment process is as follows:
Step 1. Admittance
Step 2. Detox
Detoxing from the substance is the next step in treatment. This process can be difficult and uncomfortable, but getting all of the drugs out of the user’s system is essential. Withdrawal symptoms are expected from drug abuse, but are typically mild with Vyvanse abuse.
Detox can be inpatient or outpatient, which a physician will supervise to ensure safety.
Step 3. Therapy
After detox begins therapy. This is where the user learns about the underlying causes of addiction to move on in life without being dependent on the drug. Therapy can be done in individual or group settings.
Some common therapy types are as follows:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy.This type of therapy helps identify and change negative thinking patterns.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy. This therapy helps develop skills to cope with stress and manage emotions.
- Motivational interviewing.This therapy helps explore motivations for change and helps the user develop a plan to make changes in their life.
Step 4. Aftercare
Aftercare is an essential part of treatment because it helps the former user to stay on track after leaving treatment. Aftercare can include individual therapy, 12-step meetings, and sober living houses.
Overcoming Vyvanse Addiction
Vyvanse is a prescription medication used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. However, it can have many side effects and lead to substance abuse. If you think someone you know is abusing Vyvanse, talk to them about your concerns and encourage them to seek professional help.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, Zinnia Health can help. We have a number of resources available to you, and we can help you find the right one for your needs.