Vyvanse Abuse Symptoms and Addiction Treatment
What Is Vyvanse Used For?
Vyvanse, also known in its generic form as lisdexamfetamine, is a medication used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved its use for the treatment of binge eating disorder in adults.1
Vyvanse is a stimulant medication, meaning that it speeds up brain activity. Vyvanse can improve attention and focus in individuals with ADHD, but it can also produce euphoria, increase energy, and suppress appetite.2 Many people abuse Vyvanse for recreational, academic, or weight loss reasons.2 Additionally, stimulant use results in physical effects. These include:2,3
- Elevated heart rate.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Constriction of blood vessels.
- Increased body temperature.
Vyvanse is a safe medication when taken as prescribed by a physician. However, it can also be addictive when misused or abused. It is classified by the FDA as a Schedule 2 drug, the classification given to prescription medications which carry high potential for abuse and addiction.4
Vyvanse Abuse Symptoms
Misuse and abuse of Vyvanse and other prescription drugs occurs when these drugs are used in ways other than those indicated by a physician. This includes:
- Taking more Vyvanse than prescribed.
- Taking Vyvanse more often than directed.
- Taking Vyvanse for longer than prescribed.
- Mixing Vyvanse with other drugs.
- Taking Vyvanse without a prescription.
- Snorting or injecting the drug.
There are several reasons that people may abuse Vyvanse. These include:
- As a study aid or to improve school performance.
- To suppress appetite for weight loss purposes.
- To produce euphoria or to get “high.”
Abusing Vyvanse can lead to complications and increase the risk of the following:
- Tolerance, or the need for increasing doses to achieve the desired effects.
- Physical dependence, which means that the body only functions normally with the presence of Vyvanse.
- Addiction, a progressive condition characterized by continued Vyvanse use despite negative consequences.
- Vyvanse overdose, which can be fatal if untreated.
Signs and Symptoms of Vyvanse Addiction
It’s important to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of Vyvanse abuse or addiction. There are many observable signs that someone may be abusing this stimulant medication.
Some physical and emotional signs of Vyvanse intoxication or abuse may include:1,2,3
- Dilated pupils.
- Mood swings.
- Increased confidence.
- Increased energy and alertness.
- Rapid speech.
- Excessive sweating.
- Impaired judgment.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Stimulant withdrawal symptoms (depression, fatigue, sleep problems, etc.).
Additionally, some common behavioral signs of Vyvanse abuse or addiction include:5,6
- Failure to control Vyvanse use.
- Continued Vyvanse use despite interpersonal, physical, or psychological consequences.
- Persistent use resulting in a failure to fulfill obligations at home, school, or work.
- Use of larger amounts or for longer than originally intended.
- Spending a great deal of time obtaining and using Vyvanse, as well as recovering from the effects of Vyvanse use.
- Intense cravings for Vyvanse.
- Using Vyvanse in a dangerous situation, such as before or while driving a car.
- Tolerance, or a diminished effect when the same amount is used.
When Vyvanse is taken in particularly high doses, which commonly occurs in users who have developed a high tolerance, hyperthermia—or a dangerously high body temperature—and an irregular heartbeat can occur.7 A user can also experience seizures or heart failure if large amounts of Vyvanse are abused, and sudden death can occur in those who have pre-existing heart conditions.7,8
If you or someone you love needs help quitting Vyvanse, call American Addiction Centers’ helpline free at for assistance in finding treatment.
Vyvanse Long-Term Effects
Long-term Vyvanse abuse can have several harmful consequences and can cause significant impairment and distress in a user’s life. Chronic Vyvanse abuse can lead to malnutrition due to suppressed appetite, paranoia, and psychosis.2,7 Other long-term effects may vary depending on the method of abuse.
Intranasal users may experience the following effects:6
- Perforated nasal septum.
- Nasal bleeding.
Further, intravenous users are at risk for the following:2,6
- Collapsed veins.
- Track lines.
- Contracting HIV or hepatitis viruses.
- Infection of the heart lining.
- Blocked blood vessels due to insoluble fillers in pills.
In addition to the aforementioned consequences, some possible lifestyle complications may include:
- Legal problems (possession without a prescription, D.U.I., etc.).
- Child neglect.
- Interpersonal problems, such as conflicts and divorce.
- Suspension or expulsion from school.
- Job loss.
- Excessive absences.
- Impaired work or school performance.
- Financial problems.
Vyvanse Overdose Symptoms
An overdose on Vyvanse can occur when someone takes more than the recommended dose. Symptoms of a Vyvanse overdose can include:1
- Panic attacks.
- Profound confusion.
- Visual or auditory hallucinations.
- Increased respiratory rate.
- Uncontrollable shaking.
- Extreme muscle weakness.
- Dangerously fast or irregular heartbeat.
If you suspect that you or another person has overdosed on Vyvanse, immediately call 911 and wait for medical attention to arrive. Do not attempt to approach a person who is manic or psychotic.
Use of prescription drugs—including stimulants such as Vyvanse—for non-medical purposes is a serious and growing health problem in the United States. Vyvanse or prescription stimulant statistics include:9,10
- In 2014, an estimated 1.6 million people aged 12 or older (0.6% of the population) used prescription stimulants for non-medical reasons.
- About 406,000 people (1.2% of the population) between the ages of 18 and 25 abused prescription stimulants in 2014.
- Approximately 5% to 10% of high school students and 5% to 35% of college students misuse or abuse prescription stimulants.
These statistics reveal that prescription stimulant misuse and abuse is common in the U.S. and that the number of people misusing and abusing stimulants has been increasing in recent years.
How to Find Vyvanse Addiction Treatment
Addiction treatment can start anyone battling substance misuse on the path to a happier and healthier life. Rehab programs are located throughout the U.S., and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. You can use SAMHSA’s Find Treatment tool to search for facilities. Many state government websites will provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need. To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov.’
American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted rehab facilities across the country. If you or someone you love suffers from problematic Vyvanse use, please call us free at to speak with a treatment support specialist about rehabilitation options.