Stimulant medications such as Adderall and Ritalin have been used for many years to manage the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, many people have learned the hard way that these medications can be as harmful as they can be beneficial. Other medications like Vyvanse have been developed as an alternative to Adderall. But is Vyvanse less addictive? Here are the facts about Vyvanse addiction.
How is Vyvanse Different from Adderall?
All medications to treat ADHD except Strattera are stimulants. This means that they contain a form of amphetamine, which is used to focus the attention. Amphetamines are highly addictive, even when they’re in a prescription form. Finding the right dose of prescription amphetamines that will help people with ADHD is a matter of trial and error for most patients.
Vyvanse and Adderall are both stimulant medications used to treat ADHD. But Vyvanse contains a different and slower-acting form of amphetamine, which in theory should reduce the tendency to abuse the drug. Although Vyvanse may be less addictive than other ADHD medications, it is still possible to develop an addiction or to abuse it.
Why Do Some Doctors Prefer to Prescibe Vyvanse?
Vyvanse is marketed to be less addictive than Adderall, so many doctors prefer to prescribe it. Many young people who are prescribed stimulant medications to manage ADHD abuse them by crushing up the pills and snorting them.
Vyvanse is more difficult to abuse in this manner because it contains a milder form of amphetamine. This also makes it more difficult to crush and snort the pills. However, it is still possible to abuse Vyvanse by taking more of it than prescribed.
Vyvanse is also sometimes prescribed for binge-eating disorder, as it has appetite-suppressing effects. The Food and Drug Administration approved its use for this condition in 2015.
Signs of Vyvanse Abuse
Life all stimulant medications, it’s possible to develop a tolerance to or dependence on the drug. Signs that someone is abusing or dependent on Vyvanse include the following symptoms:
- Lack of coordination
- Tremors or shaky hands
- Dilated pupils
- Abdominal pain
All of these symptoms are likely to be more pronounced if someone is taking far more than the recommended dose. Many people who are dependent on Vyvanse have a “crash” as the drug begins to wear off in their system or if they forget to take a scheduled dose. These symptoms will generally go away as soon as they take more of the pills.
Withdrawal from Vyvanse
Many patients discover that they are addicted to Vyvanse when they try to stop taking it. Just as it takes time to build up to a therapeutic level of the drug in your system before receiving the full benefits, it also takes time for your body to get used to being without the drug. Most people experience some withdrawal effects when they stop taking the medication. The intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary. Some common symptoms you may experience include the following:
- Sleep disturbances
- Extreme fatigue
- Agitation or irritability
- Lucid dreams, which may be disturbing
- Increased appetite
How Rehab Can Help
Getting off of any type of stimulant medication can be very difficult. Many rehab centers use similar methods for treating Vyvanse addiction as they do for other stimulants, including cocaine. Most people don’t realize that abusing ADHD medications is very similar to abusing cocaine.
Tapering off stimulants such as Vyvanse should be done under medical supervision. When coming off of Vyvanse, it can worsen pre-existing mental illness issues. Those who are prone to depression can become extremely depressed or even suicidal. Having adequate medical supervision can help people safely detox from these drugs. Rehab counselors can also teach skills to manage life without medication.
If someone you love is struggling with Vyvanse addiction, call our compassionate helpline today at 800-768-8728.