Updated on November 29, 2023
6 min read

Vyvanse Addiction

Can You Get Addicted to Vyvanse?

Yes, you can develop an addiction to Vyvanse. The Drug Enforcement Administration classified it as a Schedule II drug and other prescription stimulants, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

People who use the drug (even legally) may become dependent and engage in Vyvanse abuse by taking more than prescribed or using it more frequently. This can lead to the development of tolerance, requiring users to take higher doses to achieve the desired effects or a similar high.

Abuse can mean: 

  • Taking a drug without prescription
  • Taking it in higher doses than prescribed
  • Mixing it with other stimulants or drugs

How Common is Vyvanse Addiction?

Vyvanse abuse is becoming increasingly common, especially among young adults. A study found that as many as 1 in 6 college students use this prescription stimulant.1

However, Vyvanse's unique prodrug formulation may lower the risk of misuse and abuse compared to other prescription stimulants. Its inactive state prevents it from activating until enzymatic metabolism occurs. This provides an extra layer between its users and potential harm.

It’s also an extended-release drug, which indicates the body slowly absorbs it. However, Vyvanse causes tolerance, dependence, and addictive behavior when taken regularly. 


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Signs & Symptoms of Vyvanse Addiction 

Vyvanse addiction can be challenging to recognize in its early stages, as it’s usually prescribed for a valid medical condition. Some of the Vyvanse abuse symptoms include:

  • Using the drug without a prescription 
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Compulsively seeking the substance
  • Continuing to use despite adverse side effects
  • Not stopping use 
  • Becoming increasingly secretive or changing routines
  • Ending up in dangerous situations while trying to obtain or use the drug
  • Withdrawing from friends and family

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Effects of Vyvanse Addiction

With Vyvanse, you could be at risk of short and long-term side effects associated with its use and abuse.

Short-Term Effects 

Short-term effects include:

  • Weight loss
  • Mental health changes
  • Sleep problems
  • Cardiovascular effects, including heart attack and stroke

Vyvanse overdose symptoms involve:

  • Confusion
  • Combativeness
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic
  • High fever
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Rapid breathing
  • Arrhythmia
  • Reduced or elevated blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

Mixing Vyvanse with other drugs, including alcohol, also increases the risk of overdose.

Long-Term Effects 

Long-term effects comprise of:

  • Cardiovascular events, including high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, heart attack, and stroke
  • Worsening psychiatric issues, including bipolar disorder, mania, and psychosis
  • Withdrawal symptoms if the medication is stopped, including depression, mood swings, fatigue, and cravings for the drug

Can You Overdose on Vyvanse? 

You can overdose on Vyvanse, particularly in substance abuse cases where the drug is taken excessively. People who abuse Vyvanse are more likely to overdose on the drug, including anyone who overuses or misuses it, even if they have a prescription.

Drug abuse and misuse can cause the body to process and absorb Vyvanse faster than usual. This can lead to long-term problems with kidney and liver health and cognitive challenges.

Substance abuse of Vyvanse can lead to overdose, resulting in various symptoms including:

  • Confusion
  • Combativeness
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic
  • High fever
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Rapid breathing
  • Arrhythmia
  • Reduced or elevated blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

Seek immediate emergency medical attention if you suspect you or someone you know has overdosed on the drug. 

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Vyvanse Withdrawal Symptoms

There’s a risk of developing an addiction to Vyvanse. This means users will experience withdrawal symptoms if and when they stop using the drug. 

Withdrawal symptoms from Vyvanse typically occur within a week after discontinuation and may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Problems with concentration
  • Significantly worsened ADHD symptoms
  • Foggy thinking
  • Mild to moderate depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia

Treatment for Vyvanse Addiction 

Drug abuse treatment options are available for people who have developed an addiction to Vyvanse. Whether doctors have initially prescribed the medication for ADHD or binge eating disorder, these programs aim to help people identify the root cause of their addiction and learn how to deal with triggers. 

Vyvanse addiction treatment programs also address a person’s co-occurring mental health disorder that likely played a role in the development of the addiction. Treatment goals in such a substance abuse program include:

  • Maintaining sobriety
  • Understanding the habit and why it developed
  • Learning life skills that help with managing the addiction and leading a sober life
  • Implementing relapse prevention strategies
  • Establishing healthy relationships with sober peers and mentors

Care Plans

Sobriety plans from these prescription stimulants also offer a variety of arrangements like:

  • Residential programs
  • Outpatient rehabilitation
  • Intensive outpatient rehab programs
  • Peer support groups
  • 12-step meetings

The best treatment option varies based on a person’s circumstances. People seeking treatment for Vyvanse abuse should consider the following when choosing a program:

  • Treatment needs
  • Employment situation
  • Family and other personal responsibilities
  • Financial ability
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Geographic location
  • Mobility

Professional Detoxification

Detoxification is the first step in recovery and sobriety. It reduces the risk of relapse by providing medical, clinical, and personal support through one of the most challenging recovery phases.

The safest way to detox from Vyvanse is in a medically supervised detoxification program. This includes round-the-clock supervision and medical support. It also allows for monitoring of physical and psychological conditions and immediate medical attention if an emergency arises.

Detoxification might also include tapering of Vyvanse, reducing the severity of withdrawal effects.

Aftercare and Recovery Support

Following detoxification, those who want to maintain long-term sobriety can begin a comprehensive Vyvanse addiction treatment program. Formal programs last anywhere from a week to 90 days.

Addiction treatment programs can be residential or on an outpatient basis. They include:

  • Immediate access to treatment professionals and medical care
  • One-on-one counseling sessions
  • Group counseling sessions
  • Structured routines and schedules
  • Family therapy
  • Medical examinations
  • Treatment of co-occurring conditions
  • Access to employment, education, and other community resources
  • Help with long-term care and relapse prevention

Aftercare plans provide ongoing peer support to people recovering from abusing Vyvanse.

Addiction recovery is an ongoing process, and continued support is essential for individuals recovering from substance abuse, including Vyvanse addiction. The more help someone has, the more likely they’ll maintain sobriety.

What is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) is a stimulant medication most commonly used to treat ADHD/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and BED/Binge Eating Disorder. It's a central nervous system stimulant, increasing alertness and energy levels.

Vyvanse stimulates the natural production of norepinephrine and dopamine within the brain. However, prolonged use of the drug can lead to dependence. The brain may rely on the medication to produce adequate levels of neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and dopamine. 

Therefore, abusing Vyvanse can lead to cravings for higher doses or more frequent use.

Other Risks Associated With Vyvanse 

In addition to addiction, Vyvanse users face numerous other risks like:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Jitters or shakiness
  • Libido changes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramping
  • Palpitations
  • Poor circulation
  • Restlessness
  • Skin crawling or rash
  • Sleep problems
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss

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Updated on November 29, 2023
7 sources cited
Updated on November 29, 2023
  1. Benson et al. ”Misuse of stimulant medication among college students: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis.” Clinical Child And Family Psychology Review, 2015.
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Lisdexamfetamine.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, n.d.
  3. Mayo Clinic. “Prescription Drug Abuse - Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 2018.
  4. VYVANSE: Highlights of Prescribing Information.” Food and Drug Administration, n.d. 
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Prescription Stimulants DrugFacts.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Data and Statistics about ADHD.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018.
  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Eating Disorders.” National Institute of Mental Health, 2023.

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