Can You Get Addicted to Vyvanse?
Some individuals addicted to Vyvanse will begin to ingest the drug via other methods, such as snorting or injecting the drug. Getting professional help for Vyvanse abuse is crucial.
Vyvanse is a prescription stimulant, most often used to treat the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (more commonly known as ADHD). This specific medication is comparable to other prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, though it has a reputation for being slightly less habit-forming. This does not mean that it is not an addictive substance. Vyvanse addiction is extremely common among those who take the drug other than as prescribed by a medical professional.
What Is Vyvanse and What Does It Do?
Teens and adults who struggle with ADHD may benefit from Vyvanse. Vyvanse is also used as a treatment for binge eating disorders in adults. Like other ADHD medications, such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta, Vyvanse is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. This means it generally speeds up chemical activities in the brain and CNS. The result helps improve focus and concentration for people with ADHD.
Unlike many other CNS stimulants, Vyvanse has been formulated with certain protections that reduce the likelihood of abuse. To experience the drug’s therapeutic effects, Vyvanse must be metabolized by the body. Certain enzymes in the body’s metabolism must break the drug down into its parts before its effects can be felt. Vyvanse also has extended-release properties, so it’s designed to be released slowly, which is another protection that guards against abuse.
While Vyvanse may have a lower abuse potential than other ADHD drugs, it still produces the types of side effects that can promote drug abuse. People who take it tend to experience feelings of euphoria. A boost in energy levels also occurs. These unintended effects can open the door for developing drug abuse patterns and Vyvanse addiction to take hold.
Risk Factors Associated With Vyvanse
When taken as prescribed, there’s little risk of developing Vyvanse addiction. Unfortunately, how this drug interacts with your brain chemistry makes sticking to prescription guidelines challenging. Vyvanse’s therapeutic effects change your brain’s chemical makeup and, in the process, make it that much easier to slip into drug-abusing behaviors.
Vyvanse’s effects increase dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitter production in the brain. Dopamine, in particular, plays a central role in regulating the brain’s reward pathway, which is where addiction takes root. Increased dopamine production also accounts for the feelings of euphoria that occur.
Ultimately, the brain reward system remembers the behaviors that cause dopamine levels to rise and will create a sense or a belief that you “need” the drug to feel good about your life. This need will become more intense over time. This is how addiction works. These core risk factors account for Vyvanse’s addiction potential.
How Vyvanse Addiction Develops
Increasing Tolerance Levels
Vyvanse addiction symptoms develop as the drug alters chemical activities in your brain. Tolerance level increases mark the first sign of a developing addiction problem. Repeated abuse or long-term use increases your brain’s tolerance for Vyvanse’s effects. The usual dosage amount no longer produces the drug’s desired effects when this happens. Unless you’re looking for signs of drug abuse, it’s easy to keep increasing dosage amounts as your brain tolerates larger doses.
As your brain’s tolerance for Vyvanse increases, its dependence on the drug will also increase. Dependence on Vyvanse develops out of the way Vyvanse changes the brain’s chemical makeup. Finally, after so many weeks or months of continued use, your brain can no longer function without the drug’s effects. Withdrawal effects result when Vyvanse levels start to run low.
Since the brain’s tolerance for the drug will continue to increase, withdrawal effects will likewise increase in intensity and frequency over time. Vyvanse addiction withdrawal effects to watch for include the following:
- Muddled thinking
- Loss of motivation
- Drug cravings
- Feeling anxious
- Vivid dreams
Signs of Vyvanse Addiction
With frequent or long-term use, the body’s dependence on Halcion will evolve into a psychological “need” for the drug. At this level, Vyvanse addiction symptoms become more behavioral than physical. Likewise, Vyvanse addiction withdrawal symptoms also become more psychological than physical. This sense of “need” comes from the brain’s reward center. This same center also drives a person’s cravings for food and water. These conditions explain why addiction becomes so ingrained in a person’s behaviors and overall lifestyle.
Here are some signs of Vyvanse addiction to watch for:
- Frequent mood swings
- Compulsive drug-seeking
- Relationship problems
- Lying about drug use
- Inability to cut back or stop using the drug altogether
- Feelings of discontent with life, in general
- Little to no concern for negative consequences caused by Vyvanse abuse
- Taking risks you wouldn’t otherwise take, such as driving while under the influence
- Extreme anxiety
- Overall disinterest in previously enjoyed activities
- Missing days at work or school
- Job loss or expulsion from school
- Neglecting friends and family
Risks Associated With Stopping Vyvanse Use
Since continued Vyvanse abuse alters your brain and central nervous system processes in a big way, stopping Vyvanse use can be dangerous without needed medical support in place. Vyvanse withdrawal may cause your body’s systems to “crash,” producing severe effects, some of which may be life-threatening, such as:
- Violent or aggressive behaviors
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Is It Time to Consider Getting Treatment Help?
Getting treatment help sooner rather than later can help prevent a drug problem from getting out of control. Even if a full-blown addiction hasn’t taken root, treatment help may still be warranted if you’re experiencing signs of Vyvanse abuse, especially if you’re unable to stop using on your own. Medical detox programs provide round-the-clock supervision to ensure safety. Medication treatments can also be administered to treat withdrawal symptoms and reduce withdrawal discomfort.
In the case of Vyvanse addiction, detox should be followed with ongoing behavior-based interventions that can help you develop coping skills that support a drug-free lifestyle. Just know that if you’re struggling with Vyvanse abuse and addiction, you don’t have to go it alone. Help is available. Call Absolute Awakenings anytime to find out more.
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- Everything You Need to Know About ADHD. Healthline. Published October 6, 2021. Accessed January 19, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd
- Definition of CNS stimulant – NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms – NCI. Accessed January 19, 2023. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/cns-stimulant
- Pietrangelo A. Vyvanse Crash: What You Need to Know. Healthline. Published January 19, 2023. Accessed January 19, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/vyvanse-crash