Last updated on July 1st, 2019 at 12:40 pm
Vyvanse is a prescription drug similar to Adderall in that it is used to treat patients dealing with the symptoms of ADHD and ADD. This unique drug is also the only type of its kind also used to treat certain binge eating disorders in adults.
While this medication definitely has its benefits, it can also cause some patients to become addicted.
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know is addicted to Vyvanse, it’s important to know the signs and what you can do to give or get help.
Read on to take a closer look at some of the classic warning signs of addiction.
Signs of Abuse
Most patients take Vyvanse as directed, but there can be times where someone is overusing or abusing the drug. Some classic signs of abuse include:
- Talking very quickly and/or incoherently
- Sweating profusely and having heavily dilated pupils
- A loss of appetite or refusal to eat
- Focus and concentration that is much more intense than normal
- An elevated mood, increased self-awareness, and increased self-confidence
While these signs aren’t always evidence of abuse, if someone displays several or all of them, there’s a possibility they are using the drug too much or not as directed. Since this medication causes extreme “highs,” it can also cause someone to crash.
If someone is crashing after taking too much Vyvanse, they’ll suddenly become extremely fatigued and display symptoms of depression.
Side Effects of Vyvanse
This drug can be extremely effective and helpful when it’s taken by those who need it. However, even patients who are prescribed Vyvanse can show potentially dangerous side effects if they take too much or take it more than prescribed.
Some of these side effects can include insomnia or sleeplessness, jittery hands, and even a sudden increase in heart rate. Other side effects that are typically displayed are signs of irritability, extreme changes in energy levels, and sweating.
While rare, taking too much Vyvanse has the potential to cause life-threatening scenarios like cardiac arrest. People who have a family history of heart problems are especially vulnerable.
In extreme cases, side effects may even include psychosis and convulsions.
Know the Signs of Addiction
If you think someone could possibly be addicted to Vyvanse, it’s important to recognize the signs. While these signs could apply to almost any drug, in this scenario, they demonstrate addiction to this particular drug.
A few of the most common signs include:
- Cutting or crushing the pills and snorting them through the nose
- Asking people for the drug and seeking it from new, unknown sources
- Offering to pay people for the medication “on the side”
- Continuing use of the drug, even after experiencing extreme side effects
- Developing a physical tolerance, yet still exhibiting the need for more
- Withdrawal from work, family, or friends
- Putting oneself in danger just to obtain the drug, i.e. making “street deals”
While Vyvanse certainly has its benefits, overuse, and abuse can create some serious mental and physical problems. When someone takes the medication too frequently or too long, they could suffer permanent mental or physical side effects that cannot be reversed.
The mental health implications along are devastating to someone who is addicted to this medication. Psychosis, depression, anxiety, and even mania are all problems that may never go away if someone has used for too long.
For physical ailments, people may experience issues like a rapid or unpredictable heartbeat, cardiac problems, and even malnourishment. Depending on how long someone has taken the drug, they could also suffer from organ damage, too.
How to Get Help
Although addiction to any drug is unfortunate, there are some ways that patients can get the help they need. As a friend or family member, it’s important to be supportive and try to offer the addict a safe place to talk about their issues.
A detox program could be needed first, where the patient will need to wean themselves off the drug. They will experience symptoms of withdrawal, but this step is essential in removing the physical dependence aspect from the equation.
Many detox centers offer medication that will counteract the drug or help to combat withdrawal symptoms. The patient should also begin some form of therapy that will help them to cope with their new, sober reality.
In terms of mental and emotional health, there are several ways that people addicted to Vyvanse can get the assistance they need. Peer support or group therapy is an excellent tool. This form of therapy helps the person know that they are not alone and that they can get more personalized help from others who are dealing with the same thing.
For those who are severely addicted, a long-term stay at a rehabilitation center might be needed. These centers provide patients with a controlled environment where they can participate in therapy and avoid coming into contact with their drug of choice.
Some people find 12-step programs to be helpful and can attend meetings as needed without having to stay in a rehab center. Results and situations definitely vary from person to person so it’s important to listen to the patient and let them express their feelings and needs.
There’s Always Hope
No matter how bleak it seems, there are ways that people can stop their Vyvanse addiction for good. Once you recognize the signs of abuse, you can do more to ensure that they get the help they desperately need.
Whether it’s in-house rehabilitation, group therapy, detox, or all of the above, addicts can get clean and sober with proper treatment.