When a person starts to struggle with a drug like Vyvanse, there are often signs. Recognizing the signs of Vyvanse abuse and being aware of the complications that can arise during a struggle with Vyvanse is valuable in knowing when to ask for help.

Article at a Glance:

  • Vyvanse is a Schedule II stimulant.
  • Like other stimulants, Vyvanse may be abused in people trying to lose weight, maintain focus or enhance energy.
  • Vyvanse side effects may worsen when a person starts abusing the drug, such as increased cardiovascular and psychiatric problems.

What Is Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)?

Vyvanse, the brand name for lisdexamfetamine, is a prescription central nervous system stimulant drug that is often prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder. However, like other stimulants, Vyvanse has the potential to be a drug of abuse, particularly in those attempting to lose weight, increase energy or improve focus.

Abusing stimulants like Vyvanse has been linked to addiction as well as severe health problems. Vyvanse is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S., meaning that the Drug Enforcement Agency has determined that it has a high potential for severe psychological and physical dependence.

Symptoms of Vyvanse Abuse

Symptoms of Vyvanse abuse are similar to those of other stimulants and can include:

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Physical exhaustion

In severe cases, including overdose, serious mental status changes, including agitation and hallucinations, can occur. Seizures are also possible.

Once someone comes down from a Vyvanse high, they can experience a crash. Symptoms of a Vyvanse crash may include:

  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Sleepiness
  • Increased appetite
  • Muscle aches

Signs That Someone Is Addicted to Vyvanse

There are certain outward signs of Vyvanse addiction that people may notice in their loved ones. Some signs are physical symptoms, while others are related to behavior and lifestyle. Signs of Vyvanse addiction can include:

  • Taking Vyvanse without a prescription or taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Compulsive drug-seeking and drug usage
  • Continuing to use Vyvanse even when there are negative side effects or consequences
  • Trying to cut down or stop Vyvanse unsuccessfully
  • Being increasingly secretive or changing routines
  • Putting oneself in dangerous situations in order to obtain more Vyvanse or to use it
  • Withdrawing from loved ones and responsibilities like school or work
  • Needing to take more of the drug to achieve the desired effects

When someone uses Vyvanse in any way other than prescribed or instructed by a medical professional, it is considered to be abuse. Vyvanse abuse can include crushing tablets or emptying capsules in order to snort or inject the drug. Abuse doesn’t necessarily result in addiction, but addiction is more likely to occur in people who abuse a prescription drug like Vyvanse.

Effects of Vyvanse Abuse

Some of the common side effects of Vyvanse can be exacerbated by abuse, both in the short and long term. These include:

  • Weight loss
  • Sleep problems
  • Mental status changes
  • Life-threatening cardiovascular side effects like stroke and heart attack

Cardiovascular and psychiatric complications from stimulant abuse are some of the main reasons that stimulants like Vyvanse became controlled substances. If you take Vyvanse and experience cardiovascular symptoms, you should consult with your doctor. These symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Palpitations

People who abuse Vyvanse can become psychologically addicted or physically dependent upon the drug as well.

Long-Term Effects of Vyvanse Abuse

Vyvanse abuse can have long-term physical and psychiatric consequences. These include:

  • Cardiovascular problems: Increased blood pressure and heart rate are common Vyvanse side effects that may be exacerbated in abuse and can contribute to cardiovascular damage. Additionally, cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke, and cases of sudden death, are possible consequences of Vyvanse abuse.
  • Worsening psychiatric issues: Even when taken as prescribed, Vyvanse can worsen psychiatric problems like bipolar disorder, psychosis and mania. Abuse may compound these issues.

Help Is Available

If you or a loved one struggles with Vyvanse and want to stop, it can be tempting to try to stop cold turkey. However, help is often needed to minimize withdrawal symptoms and give yourself the best chance of success in remaining Vyvanse-free. Our Vyvanse addiction experts at The Recovery Village can walk you through the best, safest ways to navigate the Vyvanse detox process and put you on the road to a Vyvanse-free life.

  • Sources

    Hicks, Jesse. “Fast Times: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of Amphetamine.” Science History, April 14, 2012. Accessed December 9, 2020.

    World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings.” 2009. Accessed December 9, 2020.

    Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice. “Drugs of Abuse.” 2020. Accessed December 9, 2020.

    Drugs.com. “Vyvanse.” October 1, 2019. Accessed December 9, 2020.

  • Medical Disclaimer

    The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

    View our editorial policy or view our research.

Share on Social Media: