Vyvanse, or lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, is prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Though it is a stimulant drug, children who are diagnosed with the disorder are often better able to quiet their energy and focus on schoolwork.
For those who are not diagnosed with the disorder and for many adults, however, the drug can trigger a response in the body typical of all stimulants.
- High activity
- Cravings for more
With continued use, tolerance can develop, which in turn can lead to Vyvanse abuse and addiction when coupled with cravings for more and more of the drug. Once Vyvanse addiction begins, the safe way to manage the issue is to enroll in a comprehensive detox and treatment program.
What is Vyvanse Abuse?
Vyvanse abuse happens with any use of the drug that occurs outside of a doctor’s prescription. Specifically, that can mean:
- Taking Vyvanse without a prescription
- Altering the pills before taking them
- Snorting or injecting the crushed pills
- Combining Vyvanse use with other drugs
- Taking a higher dose than prescribed
Vyvanse abuse may be an occasional choice, but when it becomes a daily decision, it can quickly lead to a potentially life-altering addiction.
Stats and Facts: Vyvanse Withdrawal
- Vyvanse is classified as an amphetamine, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), because lisdexamfetamine, its active ingredient, metabolizes into dextroamphetamine, a highly addictive stimulant drug.
- In Mississippi, about a quarter of all prescriptions for CNS stimulants were written for Vyvanse, adding up to about 160,000 scripts in 2014 and making it the second most frequently prescribed amphetamine.
- When physical dependence on Vyvanse is present, abruptly stopping use can translate into withdrawal symptoms that may include:
- If Vyvanse was used as a means of maintaining an eating disorder, then detox should include nutritional therapy and medical care to address any issues with malnutrition and disordered eating habits.
- A prescription for Vyvanse to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) does not automatically translate into a higher risk for the development of addiction. However, children who have been diagnosed with ADHD may be at higher risk of addiction development in general because of social difficulties and emotional discomfort.
- Many teens who have been prescribed Vyvanse during their childhoods no longer respond to the drug medically as they grow older and their bodies change. However, if parents and/or doctors are not proactive in helping the child to take med holidays to determine whether or not there is a continued need for the drug, they will maintain access to the pills. Rather than take them, some teens will choose to sell their pills to their friends and other students looking to use the drug as a “study drug.” It is those students who are at risk of developing an addiction and experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
- There is a high correlation between young women in college taking Vyvanse for weight management and/or as a study tool and the experience of eating disorders, mood swings, anxiety, and stress that can make detox that much more difficult.
- Women who are pregnant and use Vyvanse throughout their pregnancies often wait to go through detox until after they have given birth to decrease the risk of miscarriage. This means they have to manage withdrawal symptoms during the first weeks of motherhood, and their baby will also go through withdrawal and be unable to leave the hospital for weeks until they are stable.
Everyone’s experience with stopping the use of Vyvanse is different. Depending on the dose at the time of detox and any co-occurring mental health or medical disorders, the detox timeline will vary significantly. In general, the longer someone has used the drug and the higher the dose when they stop, the more intense their withdrawal symptoms will be and the longer the process may last.
In the first week after stopping the use of Vyvanse and all stimulant drugs, it is normal to experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Increased appetite
- Vyvanse cravings
The first week is considered an acute period of withdrawal. After this point, many people will find that their symptoms begin to subside until they disappear entirely.
Others, however, experience what is called post-acute withdrawal symptoms that can include:
- Low energy
- Persistent anxiety
- Mood swings
- Issues with sleeping
Though medical care and extensive monitoring are recommended during the first week, it is also important to note that detox and treatment do not end when withdrawal symptoms stop. This only addresses the physical nature of addiction and does nothing to remove the issues that may have triggered the problem in the first place. Co-occurring mental health disorders, trauma, and more may make it difficult to avoid relapse; for this reason, comprehensive treatment is recommended.
What to Look For in a Detox Center
When it is clear that abuse has become an addiction, or when the consequences of a substance use disorder are too overwhelming to ignore, it is time to connect with a detox center that is equipped to fully treat all the issues facing the person in crisis. With so many treatment options to choose from, it is not always easy to identify the program that will be most effective for your needs.
As with the experience of detox and the timeline associated with Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms, no single detox program will work optimally for everyone.
However, it is always recommended that patients who need treatment seek out a detox program that provides:
- Medical evaluation at the onset of treatment
- Ongoing medical monitoring throughout detox
- Treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders
- Peer support
- Option of continuing with treatment for as long as necessary
- Aftercare support and follow-up in the months
Access Addiction and Detox Treatment Today
If someone you love is risking their health and wellness with continued use and abuse of Vyvanse, do not wait to reach out and ask for help. Start with your doctor, someone who knows your loved one’s medical and drug history if possible. Ask about what specifics you should look for in a detox program, and make a note of the features and treatment options the doctor suggests.
Next, reach out to your insurance company. Take the time to research your options and determine what it is covered and in what amounts. The more information you have about what you can expect from your insurance company regarding coverage and what you will need to cover out of pocket, the better equipped you will be to choose the best possible detox and treatment program for your loved one.
Finally, make the call. Pick up the phone and speak to a treatment consultant about the types of programs available and what therapies and treatments your loved one can take part in.
- Types of therapies and treatments available
- Experience and education of the substance abuse professionals
- What support services are available to family
- What evaluation and testing options available
- What schedule of treatment is offered to clients
- If there is flexibility in adjusting the treatment plan