Effects and Side Effects of Vyvanse Abuse

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  1. Immediate Effects and Adverse Effects of Vyvanse Use
  2. Long-Term Effects of Vyvanse Use
  3. How Vyvanse Abuse Can Change your Life
  4. Vyvanse Addiction and Mental Health

What is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is a prescription stimulant used in the treatment of ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in children, teens and adults. It is also used to treat Binge Eating Disorder.

What is Vyvanse?


Vyvanse contains d-amphetamine (or lisdexamfetamine) that is similar in effects to Ritalin and Adderall.

It is a Schedule II drug—considered dangerous with potential for severe psychological or physical dependence.

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Immediate Effects and Adverse Effects of Vyvanse Use

Effects are different for users with ADHD and those without the disorder.

Effects for People With ADHD

Vyvanse increases:

  • Focus.
  • Organization.
  • Sleep.
  • Task completion.

Vyvanse decreases:

  • Agitation.
  • Sense of being driven to move or talk.
  • Social intrusiveness.
  • Impulsive behavior.
  • Distractibility.

Effects for People Without ADHD

  • Increased energy
  • Decreased need for food and sleep
  • Euphoria
  • Talkativeness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Long-Term Effects of Vyvanse Use


Cravings for Vyvanse lead to drug-seeking behavior. They are triggered by changes in the brain and its reward centers having been influenced by previous positively reinforcing stimulant use, and the resultant drive to reach such a rewarded state again (by taking more lisdexamfetamine, for example).

Psychological discomfort and stress also trigger an urge to use. Other triggers that cause cravings are reminders in the environment.

These can be something you see, hear or smell. Additionally, being with people or in places related to use is an ongoing struggle because it frequently triggers craving.


There has been some controversy about the potential for abuse and addiction in Vyvanse use. Treatment professionals see evidence of it while some studies disagree. The active ingredient in Vyvanse, however, is a highly addictive stimulant (d-amphetamine). It is well established that moderate, chronic or severe short-term use of stimulants can lead to dependence.
For example, teens that begin medical use of a stimulant in high school are 3 times more likely to abuse it than non-users. College students are also more likely than high school students to develop dependence because of the increased vulnerability to use, due to academic performance pressures and abundant peer influences.


Tolerance is the need for increasing amounts of a drug over time to produce the desired effects. Tolerance in medical use triggers raised doses to manage symptoms more effectively.

In Vyvanse misuse, tolerance means that more is needed over time to achieve the desired high.


Withdrawal from Vyvanse is similar to cocaine withdrawal. Cessation or a lowered dose of Vyvanse in a use disorder causes withdrawal symptoms such as:


  • Oversleeping.
  • Poor coordination.
  • Shaking.
  • Potential for seizures.
  • Dehydration.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Irritability.
  • Mood swings.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.

How Vyvanse Abuse Can Change your Life

The abuse of Vyvanse can have pervasive physical, psychological and behavioral effects. If a seemingly endless cycle of cravings, increased tolerance and unpleasant withdrawal is dominating your life, now is the time to seek recovery help.

Call our toll-free, confidential line at 1-888-993-3112Who Answers? to speak with a caring support advisor about Vyvanse abuse treatment programs available to you.

Physical Effects

"Vyvanse Use Disorder seriously impairs sleep and eating with chronic insomnia and malnourishment."

Stimulant abuse causes abnormalities in:

  • Brain chemistry.
  • Functioning.
  • Structure.

Stimulant Use Disorder or more specifically, Vyvanse Use Disorder is a reflection of these brain changes.

Vyvanse Use Disorder seriously impairs sleep and eating with chronic insomnia and malnourishment. There can also be:

  • Suppressed growth (in young users).
  • Liver damage.
  • Cardiovascular problems.
  • Vision problems.
  • Seizures.
  • Death.

Psychological Effects

Psychological effects of Vyvanse Use Disorder include cognitive impairments such as:


  • Confusion.
  • Disorientation.
  • Psychosis (delusions and hallucinations).
  • Delirium.

Users also experience a 'delusion of grandeur,' which is characterized by an over-estimation of one’s abilities and competencies.

Hypervigilance, suspiciousness, and paranoid thinking are typical. Some may experience suicidal or homicidal thinking.

Emotional dysregulation is also common with rapid and notable mood swings including:

  • Depression.
  • Fear.
  • Anger.
  • Tearfulness.
  • Periods of intense pleasure and gregariousness.

Behavioral Effects

Behaviors in Vyvanse Use Disorder are the result of brain changes as well as attempts to continue use, conceal use or to compensate for use. The need to shift or move and talk excessively is an example of classic involuntary behavior. Also, some develop nervous behaviors such as drumming fingers and bouncing legs.
Compulsive behaviors initially involving choices such as sex, gambling, and spending can develop. Behaviors also develop as a means of coping with use. For example, reclusive behavior and lying can be attempts to conceal use. Stealing, manipulating or exploiting others can help compensate for a felt need to continue use.

Academic/Occupational Effects

Serious performance problems develop in school or on the job. The inability to focus on and complete tasks causes significant problems that are obvious to others.

They put users at high risk for school failure and loss of employment.

Familial Effects

Preoccupation with using causes noticeable withdrawal from the family. Relationships become estranged or conflictual if one’s use is known, but also due to the user’s impairments.

Social Effects

The effects of Vyvanse Use Disorder can be off-putting in social settings. Hyperactivity, distractibility, and excessive talkativeness, for example, are difficult for others to accommodate.

Vyvanse Addiction and Mental Health

Woman with anxiety

Like other stimulants, Vyvanse can exacerbate psychiatric symptoms such as:

  • Depression.
  • Mania (Bipolar Disorder).
  • Anxiety.
  • Other substance use like alcohol, marijuana, sedatives and painkillers.
  • Psychosis—delusions and hallucinations.

Symptoms of untreated disorders can cause self-medication with Vyvanse. For example, Vyvanse increases energy and can temporarily overcome the lethargy and lack of motivation caused by depression.

Another example occurs with performance or social anxiety in which stimulants can increase a sense of competency in social situations, giving socially inhibited individuals a powerful incentive to use.

Stimulant use mimics psychiatric disorders causing misdiagnosis, obscured drug use and inappropriate treatment. Common diagnostic confusion occurs with:

  • Schizophrenia.
  • Anxiety Disorders.
  • Psychosis.
  • Bipolar Disorder.

It is possible that each of these disorders co-exist with stimulant use. However, stimulant use alone induces the type of symptoms found in each of these disorders.

If you’re concerned that you or someone you love is self-treating an underlying mental health condition with stimulant drugs, or if Vyvanse is worsening the symptoms of depression or other mental health issue, dual diagnosis substance abuse treatment programs will provide the assistance you need.

Call 1-888-993-3112Who Answers? to speak in confidence to a caring treatment support team member about dual diagnosis or other addiction treatment programs available to you.

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