- Signs and Symptoms of Vyvanse Abuse
- Effects of Abusing Vyvanse
- Combining Substances
- How is Vyvanse Abuse Diagnosed?
- Who is at Risk for Addiction?
- When to Seek Help
- Help for Addicted Friends and Family
- Rehab and Treatment Options
- Teen Vyvanse Abuse and Addiction
What is Vyvanse?
Vyvanse's stimulating effects make it a popular recreational drug.
Some users rely on it to boost performance at work and in school, though research suggests the drug does not actually improve outcomes for recreational users.
Particularly among college students, Vyvanse continues to be a popular option, but stimulant drugs are highly addictive--and potentially lethal.
Signs and Symptoms of Vyvanse Abuse
For people who struggle with the ongoing challenges of ADHD, excessive sleepiness, and atypical depression, Vyvanse can be life-changing. It helps sharpen focus and concentration by stimulating more activity in the brain and central nervous system.
This sensation is a pleasant one that can help you feel more confident, competent, and intelligent--even when your performance is actually declining.
If you're worried that you or someone you love might have a Vyvanse problem, some of the most common symptoms of abuse include:
- Abnormally high levels of energy.
- Inflated sense of self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Aggressive, hostile, angry, or anxious outbursts.
- Changes in mood or personality.
- Extreme highs followed by sudden lows.
- Sudden health or financial difficulties.
Effects of Abusing Vyvanse
It doesn't matter whether you have a valid medical prescription or not. Any Vyvanse user can become addicted, since addiction is the product of chemical dependency, not a personal failing.
Generally speaking, the side effects of Vyvanse abuse tend to get worse over time. They include, but are by no means limited to:
- Worsening mental health; some users experience a brief improvement in mental health when they first begin taking the drug, but Vyvanse changes brain chemistry, potentially leading to depression and anxiety.
- Accidental overdose.
- Cardiovascular problems, including rapid heart rate and stroke.
- Organ failure.
- Excessive sweating.
- Changes in appetite or metabolism.
- Weight loss or weight gain.
- Angry outbursts.
- Panic attacks.
- Personality changes.
- Brain damage and loss of intelligence.
- Career problems.
- Disrupted relationships.
- Financial, legal, or medical problems.
- Difficulty functioning without Vyvanse.
Vyvanse acts directly on your nervous system, making it incredibly dangerous to combine this drug with others.
When paired with other stimulants, such as methamphetamine or Adderall, Vyvanse can cause life-threatening cardiovascular symptoms, including strokes and heart attacks.
Mixed with depressants, Vyvanse may:
- Slow breathing.
- Induce psychotic episodes.
- Cause permanent--or life-threatening--brain damage.
How is Vyvanse Abuse Diagnosed?
If you experience intense withdrawal symptoms, depression, or anxiety when you attempt to stop using the drug, you may be abusing it.
You don't have to go to a doctor to be diagnosed with a Vyvanse addiction. Instead, the hallmark of Vyvanse addiction is chemical dependency.
If you experience any of the following symptoms when you stop taking Vyvanse, you be abusing it--even if you have a valid medical prescription:
- Intense withdrawal symptoms.
Talk to your doctor about your reliance on Vyvanse, especially if you use it to treat ADHD, since less addictive options may be available.
Who is at Risk for Addiction?
Anyone can develop an Vyvanse addiction, but some factors increase your odds of facing this challenge. Those include:
- Taking Vyvanse for ADHD or another mental health condition--prolonged use of Vyvanse increases your odds of an addiction.
- Having a mental illness--mental illness increases the likelihood that you will be prescribed Vyvanse and the challenges of life with a mental health problem make it more likely that you'll try Vyvanse to self-medicate.
- A family history of drug addiction.
- A history of trauma, abuse or intense psychological pain.
- A previous history of drug abuse.
If you want to avoid an addiction to this dangerous drug, don't use it without a medical prescription, and if your doctor prescribes the drug, ask for the lowest dose possible.
When to Seek Help
One of the challenges of life as an addict is that addiction comes with a unique defense mechanism: denial.
Denial convinces you you're not like other addicts, or not an addict at all. But denial will not save you. Indeed, it only allows your addiction time to worsen.
- Requests from family and friends to seek treatment.
- Legal, financial, career or medical issues due to your Vyvanse addiction.
- Deteriorating mental health.
- Difficulty feeling "normal" without Vyvanse.
- Taking more than the dose recommended by your doctor.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms in between uses.
Help for Addicted Friends and Family
Vyvanse addicts often display a pattern of aggression, anxiety and withdrawal, alternating between the three. This can leave loved ones confused, concerned, and deeply overwhelmed.
If someone you love is abusing Vyvanse, know that their behavior is not their fault. Addiction is a disease that causes addicts to behave in ways they'd otherwise never dream of.
If you're worried about a loved one, an intervention may help you encourage him or her to seek help.
You can't force an addict into treatment or recovery, though, so be prepared to set your own boundaries to protect yourself. A family support group such as Nar-Anon may help you do precisely that.
Rehab and Treatment Options
There's no single "right" way to treat Vyvanse addiction. Instead, what matters is finding a treatment that works for your needs and your lifestyle.
Be sure to ask plenty of questions before choosing a treatment facility, and know that even if your first option fails, there are still plenty of additional opportunities for quality treatment.
Outpatient treatment means you can continue living at home, attending treatment sessions during the day. Outpatient programs vary in intensity, so be sure to ask about time constraints before signing up for a program.
Inpatient treatment is the gold standard in addiction care because it allows you to make sobriety and recovery your sole goal. Though every treatment center is a bit different, most offer some combination of:
- Medical detox.
- Health care.
- 12-step programs.
- Group support.
You'll live in a comfortable drug and alcohol-free environment, making it much easier to resist temptation.
Teen Vyvanse Abuse and Addiction
If you use Vyvanse, you'll need to carefully guard your prescription, and if your teen has a prescription, you may want to periodically count her pills.
It's also wise to talk to all teens about the perils of prescription drug addiction, since many teens mistakenly believe that prescription drugs are less dangerous than illegal street drugs.
If you catch your teen abusing Vyvanse, you need to act quickly. Vyvanse abuse is not a disciplinary problem or something that warrants punishment--it's a disease that necessitates treatment.
Teens' developing brains can suffer irreversible harm due to addiction, so prompt care is key to helping your teen get back on track. Offer loving support, access to resources, and the opportunity to choose treatment.
If your teen refuses, you may have to force him or her into a treatment facility. Though this strategy is not ideal, it could ultimately save your teen's life.