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Vyvanse Detox Guide

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Vyvanse is a prescription medication used to treat as well as binge eating disorder.Symptoms, Timelines & Effects

Vyvanse is the brand name for lisdexamfetamine, a prescription medication used to treat attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as binge eating disorder.1,2 Like other similar ADHD medications, Vyvanse is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Via its stimulant effects, Vyvanse can ramp up certain processes and functions throughout the body.2

Vyvanse produces effects similar to other stimulant medications like:2

  • Adderall.
  • Dexedrine.
  • Concerta.
  • Ritalin.

Vyvanse also has several chemical similarities and effects in common with illicit stimulant substances like:3,4

  • Cocaine.
  • Methamphetamine.

Finding the Treatment Option for You

doctor writing a prescriptionAlthough many variables help determine the appropriate level of treatment, there are a handful of recovery options that have been shown to effectively help individuals detoxify and go on to live drug-free lives. Read More

A relatively recently developed stimulant medication, Vyvanse is therapeutic when taken as directed, but like any of the substances above, Vyvanse abuse is possible.2,3 The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that about 10% of 12th graders have abused Vyvanse or other amphetamines in their lifetime.2

Those who abuse Vyvanse frequently suffer from additional substance use disorders or addictions, particularly those involving sedatives. People may begin misusing sedatives, like benzodiazepines, to manage some of the unpleasant effects that accompany chronic stimulant abuse, such as nervousness and insomnia.5 Stimulant addictions, such as those seen with amphetamine drugs like Vyvanse, are in some cases associated with co-occurring mental health issues, such as antisocial personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and gambling disorder.5

Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and may significantly impair a person’s functioning and well-being, which is why seeking professional detox can be beneficial.

Even a single instance of Vyvanse misuse can have serious mental and physical health consequences; consistent misuse increases the risk of Vyvanse addiction  and significant physiological dependence. Because of its noted abuse potential, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists Vyvanse as a Schedule II controlled substance.3

Abusing Vyvanse can lead to paranoia, poor nutrition, and decreased ability to sleep, but quitting can result in unpleasant effects known as withdrawal symptoms.2,4 Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and may significantly impair a person’s functioning and well-being, which is why seeking professional detox can be beneficial.

Effects of Short-Term Use

Vyvanse has several immediate effects, some of which may be pleasurable and reinforcing of problematic patterns of use. However, those who do abuse the drug by taking it in excess or more frequently than prescribed may also be at risk of experiencing dangerous adverse effects as well. Common side effects of Vyvanse include the following:5,9

  • Confusion
  • Blunted emotions
  • Changes in sociability
  • Impaired judgment
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Increased blood pressures
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Chest pain
  • Increased body temperature
  • Chills or sweating
  • Muscle weakness
  • Repetitive, purposeless movements, such as pacing.
  • Involuntary muscle contractions.
  • Seizures.
  • Stroke.
  • Coma.

Higher doses of Vyvanse may increase the risk of experiencing adverse physical and mental health effects. Some of these effects can be fatal without proper intervention. If you think someone has overdosed on Vyvanse or any other drug, call 911 immediately.

Dangers of Continued Use

Taking Vyvanse for non-prescription purposes is a risky practice. As the abuse continues, the chance of becoming addicted to Vyvanse increases. Once someone is addicted to Vyvanse, it can be extremely challenging to quit. Addiction is one of many long-term consequences associated with Vyvanse abuse. Below is a list of other potential long-term effects of stimulant abuse:5,9

  • Effects associated with needle use such as track lines, collapsed veins, HIV, or hepatitis.
  • Effects associated with nasal use such as nose bleeds or perforated nasal septum.
  • Malnutrition, as a result of decreased appetite.
  • Increased risk of heart attack, respiratory arrest, or stroke.
  • Increased risk of injuries due to violent behavior.
  • Legal ramifications, due to theft, drug dealing, or driving under the influence.
  • Tolerance, the need to increase the dose of the drug to achieve the same effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms, which emerge when use is suddenly reduced or stopped.
  • Sudden death, resulting from dangerously high doses.

These long-term consequences can be prevented or minimized by seeking professional help, such as a Vyvanse detox program or Vyvanse abuse treatment program.

What Are Withdrawal Symptoms?

In high enough doses, Vyvanse can create a surge of neurotransmitter activity in the brain that underlies the euphoria or subjective “rush” commonly experienced with stimulant drugs; the fleeting sense of well-being that is created in this manner is then frequently followed by a “crash.”4 During the crash, the levels of these pleasurable neurotransmitters fade rapidly—which leads to the onset of Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms.4

Each person’s experience with Vyvanse detox symptoms will differ, but the expected physical effects may include the following:4,5,6,7
Vyvanse detox symptoms can include fatigue and lethargy as well as an inability to sleep followed by a strong desire for sleep.

  • Jitters
  • Inability to sleep followed by a strong desire for sleep
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Slowed movements and thoughts
  • Extreme hunger
  • Dehydration
  • Chills

Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms that impact mental health include:4,5,6,7

  • Irritability and agitationVyvanse withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety and depression.
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of interest and motivation
  • Social isolation
  • Strong cravings for stimulants
  • Intense, vivid dreams

What Is the Detox Timeline?

Detoxification can refer to the body’s natural ability to process and eliminate toxins from the system. Detox can also refer to a set of professional strategies used to safely assist an individual enduring withdrawal symptoms.6 The goal of any withdrawal management is to end drug dependence and start addiction recovery.7

The detox timeline varies in people who are newly abstinent from Vyvanse. Many symptoms of Vyvanse withdrawal will begin within 24 hours of last use.7 The symptoms will usually last for 3-5 days in total, but the detox length could be a bit longer for people experiencing psychotic symptoms.7

The Vyvanse detox length can be influenced by factors like:4,6

  • The route of drug abuse (orally, snorted, injected).
  • The dose and frequency of use.
  • The total duration of use.
  • Concurrent mental health and physical health complications.
  • A history of combining Vyvanse with another substance.

The process of quitting Vyvanse may be quite different for a person taking the medication as prescribed by their physician compared with a person snorting or injecting high doses of the drug multiple times per day.

What Are the Effects of Detox?

Heart issues are one of the serious physical health effects of Vyvanse withdrawal.Vyvanse withdrawal is not typically life-threatening, especially compared with alcohol and some forms of sedative detox, but it is not without potential complications.6 The most serious physical health effects of Vyvanse withdrawal include:4,6,7

  • Seizure activity that develops as part of the active abuse period could reemerge during detoxification.
  • Cardiovascular issues like heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and stroke.

The mental health impact of Vyvanse withdrawal may lead to risky, if not life-threatening situations for the detoxing individual as well as those around them due to problems related to:4,5

  • Severe depression: The “crash” that follows the initial “rush” can be so dramatic that reality feels very negative. This can sometimes lead people experiencing stimulant withdrawal to attempt suicide.
  • Violence and aggression: Other people experiencing stimulant withdrawal may be confused, paranoid, agitated, and separated from reality, which can result in physical harm towards others.

With any drug detox, there is a risk of relapse in an attempt to relieve the unwanted withdrawal symptoms.4,6,7 Additionally, people who originally used Vyvanse for ADHD will likely see a return of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity without the medication, which could present further challenges to recovery.

What Are Detox Options?

Attempting to detox without supervision and professional assistance could be dangerous.

Attempting to detox from Vyvanse at home or otherwise without supervision and professional assistance could be dangerous. To ensure safety and comfort during detox and withdrawal, professional detox services are the best option. There a range of services available based on the person’s specialized needs including:6,8

  • Inpatient treatment: To mitigate the risk of violence, psychotic symptoms, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors during the “crash,” inpatient treatments offer 24-hour care while providing the individual with compassion during this difficult time.
  • Outpatient treatment: For people with lower risks and stronger outside supports, outpatient treatment allows the individual to regularly check-in with a clinic or other treatment outlet while being able to maintain most aspects of their daily life. Outpatient detox treatment can occur at doctor’s offices, clinics, and community substance abuse centers.

Detox treatment for Vyvanse will commonly only last for days or weeks, but longer-term treatment is necessary to maintain a drug-free life.8 People committed to achieving long periods of recovery should seek additional addiction treatment when drug detox concludes.6,8

Sources

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus (2019). Lisdexamfetamine.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. (2017). Prescription Stimulant Medications (Amphetamines).
  3. Drug Enforcement Administration. (2017). Drugs of Abuse.
  4. Iles-Shih, Matt. University of Washington & VA Puget Sound Health Care System: Psychiatry and Addictions Case Conference. (2017). Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorders
  5. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  6. World Health Organization. (2009). Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Setting.
  7. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.
  8. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Tip 45: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment.
  9. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Prescription Stimulants.

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