Vyvanse Addiction Treatment

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What is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is a prescription medication that’s often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder, but it can be abused by anyone who takes it for other purposes, such as staying alert while driving or studying for exams. The active ingredient in Vyvanse is lisdexamfetamine, which is a stimulant medication similar to Adderall. Vyvanse is an amphetamine and central nervous system stimulant.

Vyvanse may improve focus for people with inattentive ADHD (aka ADD) and decrease impulsivity and hyperactive behavior — which are typical symptoms for many ADHD patients.

How does Vyvanse work?

Like most stimulant ADHD medication, Vyvanse works by increasing the levels of the chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter, increases alertness and attention. Dopamine is a chemical that’s found naturally in the brain and is responsible for feelings of pleasure, but also helps increase your ability to focus. Together, these substances help those with ADHD by improving their attention span, ability to concentrate, and impulse control.

Vyvanse side effects and dangers

Like all prescription medications, Vyvanse may cause side effects even when taking it correctly. The most common side effects associated with Vyvanse include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling irritable or anxious
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Sleep problems
  • Blood circulation problems in your fingers and toes

More serious side effects can include:

  • Hallucinations, or seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • Delusions, or believing things that aren’t true
  • Paranoia, or having strong feelings of suspicion
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Heart attack, stroke, and sudden death (your risk of these problems is higher if you have heart problems or heart disease)

Misusing Vyvanse is illegal and can have dangerous medical consequences. Prescriptions are filled for specific doses tailored to specific people, and its effects can have adverse reactions in others. Taking an excessive amount of Vyvanse or mixing it with other substances such as alcohol or sedatives can result in a life-threatening overdose.

Signs and symptoms of Vyvanse overdose include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Heart attack, stroke, and sudden death (your risk of these problems is higher if you have heart problems or heart disease)
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Cramps in your abdomen
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Convulsions or coma

Vyvanse dependence and withdrawal

Stimulants like Vyvanse can cause a feeling of euphoria or intense happiness when taken in large doses, and as such, have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Some people misuse these drugs to get more of these effects, and overuse or misuse can lead to physical dependence. With psychological dependence, you need to take the drug to feel normal, causing you to crave the drug and in many cases lose control of your actions as you try to acquire more of it. In addition, stopping the drug can cause withdrawal symptoms in those who are physically dependent.

Withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity and duration depending on the amount of Vyvanse taken and duration of use. Some people use stimulants to counteract the drowsiness or “down” caused by sleeping pills or alcohol. The “up/down” cycle is extremely dangerous and hard on the body. Stimulant withdrawal can produce profound loss of energy and very intense cravings, which frequently result in relapse back to illicit drug use and even death. The type of prescription stimulant used affects how long it takes for the withdrawal symptoms to subside.

Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Abnormally long sleep patterns
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Do not stop taking Vyvanse without speaking to your doctor. They may recommend slowly tapering off the medication to help avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms. Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms usually go away after a few days, although they may last several weeks if you’ve been taking Vyvanse for a long time.

Adderall vs. Vyvanse: What’s the Difference?

Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) and Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) are central nervous system stimulant medications that are both approved to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Adderall can be obtained in a generic version that can be relatively inexpensive, but Vyvanse can only be obtained by its current brand name.

Both drugs are classified as Schedule II controlled substances by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and can only be obtained by someone with a prescription from a physician. The federal government considers both of these drugs to have a significant potential for physical dependence in people who use them and are high-risk potential drugs of abuse.

Adderall comes in an immediate-release form and an extended-release form, while Vyvanse only comes in an extended-release version. The duration of action for the immediate-release version of Adderall is about 4–6 hours, while the extended-release version lasts about 12 hours. The duration of effects for Vyvanse is about 10–13 hours, though some studies report it is up to 14 hours.

The main difference between the two medications is that Vyvanse is a prodrug, which is a substance that is inactive in the system until enzymes in the body metabolize it and convert it into the active medication. Vyvanse can only be taken orally, whereas Adderall can be ground up and snorted or mixed with water and injected. It also means that the side effects from Vyvanse are considered to be less harsh than with Adderall, and Vyvanse has a lower risk of abuse. In addition, prodrugs like Vyvanse are believed to be absorbed much more efficiently and smoothly due to their biochemistry. When the drug wears off, it is believed to produce fewer negative effects (e.g., the crash that occurs from stimulants once a person stops using them).

Treating Vyvanse addiction

To treat addiction to Vyvanse and other similar substances, evidence shows that a combination of proven therapies and pharmacological intervention is the most effective approach to restore normal function to the brain, address any underlying issues, and allow patients to return to a stable and productive life.

Through therapy and counseling, the psychological aspects of Vyvanse dependency can be better understood by the patient and addiction can be completely overcome. Counseling may be individual or group-oriented and may also include the family. Continuing care programs are also available, as they are essential to provide counseling and continued support over a number of years.

Effective behavioral treatments for Vyvanse addiction can be administered in a residential or outpatient setting. A treatment plan may include:

  • Psychiatric assessment and treatment
  • Psychological assessment and treatment
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy sessions
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
  • Wellness, nutritional and stress management treatment services
  • Medication management

Vyvanse addiction treatment though Enterhealth

Enterhealth Ranch – our 43-acre inpatient rehab program just north of Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas – provides supervised drug and alcohol detox (also known as withdrawal stabilization) services for Vyvanse addiction, which includes science-based medication therapy administered and overseen by onsite medical staff. Enterhealth Ranch offers specialized psychological counseling and therapeutic modalities, with treatment plans designed by a team of addiction experts and customized to fit the unique needs of each patient.

Upon completion of the inpatient rehab phase, patients can transition to The Enterhealth Outpatient Center of Excellence, our outpatient facility in the Park Cities area of Dallas, where they can receive medically supervised addiction treatment while living at their own residence. Our comprehensive services – which form a continuum of care – provide patients with the education, resources, and ongoing counseling and support they need to achieve a sustained recovery.

At Enterhealth, our goal is to treat the whole person for a lifetime. We offer a better chance to recover through our advanced, evidence-based treatment approach, which is designed and administered by board-certified addiction psychiatrists, physicians and other experts and proven to be more effective than traditional 12-step approaches.