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:
Vyvanse also has several chemical similarities and effects in common with illicit stimulant substances like 3,4:
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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 abusing Vyvanse often suffer from other substance use disorders or addictions, particularly those involving sedatives. People often take sedatives, like benzodiazepines, to manage some unpleasant stimulant effects, such as nervousness and insomnia.5 Stimulant addictions, such as those seen with drugs in the amphetamine class like Vyvanse, are in some cases associated with the concurrent presence of mental health issues, such as antisocial personality disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and gambling disorder.5
Any stimulant abuse can damage the mental and physical health of the individual while consistent use or abuse may result in the eventual development 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 unwanted 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.
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. Below is a list of common side effects of Vyvanse abuse:5,9
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.
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
These long-term consequences can be prevented or minimized by seeking professional help, such a Vyvanse detox program or Vyvanse abuse treatment program.
Vyvanse abuse can create a surge of neurotransmitters in the brain that underlie 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 arrival of Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms 4.
Each person’s experience with Vyvanse detox symptoms will differ, but the expected physical effects may include 4,5,6,7:
Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms that impact mental health include 4,5,6,7:
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 addiction and begin a period of recovery 7.
The detox timeline varies in people that 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:
Quitting Vyvanse will 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.
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:
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:
With any drug detox, there is a risk of relapse in an attempt to relieve the unwanted withdrawal symptoms 4,6,7. Additionally, people that 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.
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:
Attempting to detox without supervision and professional assistance could be dangerous.
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.