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Long-Term Effects Of Vyvanse Abuse

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

March 29, 2019

Vyvanse abuse can lead to a number of long-term effects that can impact a person’s health and wellness. Seeking treatment for Vyvanse abuse and addiction can help prevent these negative effects.

Vyvanse, or lisdexamfetamine, is a prescription stimulant used in the treatment of ADHD and binge-eating disorders. This drug is a derivative of amphetamine so it shares similar properties and effects to other ADHD medications like Adderall and Ritalin.

As a central nervous stimulant, Vyvanse produces feelings of wellbeing as well as increased concentration, focus, and energy. It can also help people with a binge-eating disorder by reducing binge-related behaviors.

Vyvanse is classified as a Schedule II substance, which means it has a high potential for dependence and abuse. When taken as prescribed, this drug is likely not going to create dependence or addiction. However, when abused, people can quickly become dependent on Vyvanse.

How Does Vyvanse Work?

Vyvanse is a long-acting ADHD medication that works on the central nervous system in the body. Vyvanse works on the dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain.

Norepinephrine is responsible for stimulation within the body, while dopamine is connected to the reward center in the brain. People with ADHD are believed to have lower levels of dopamine. Vyvanse increases the presence of this chemical to alter its balance in the brain.

By increasing the presence of these chemicals, Vyvanse can produce increased energy, focus, and feelings of euphoria. These effects are the primary reason why this drug is abused.

What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Abusing Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is typically considered safe to take in the long-term when used as prescribed. However, abusing this drug can come with many long-term negative effects. The most common long-term effect of Vyvanse abuse is tolerance and dependence.

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When a person abuses stimulants like Vyvanse, he or she can quickly build up a tolerance to the drug. This means that more of the drug will need to be taken in order to feel the same effects.

When a person repeatedly takes more of the drug than what is prescribed, the risk of dependence is high. Dependence is when a person needs the drug in order to feel “normal” and can result in someone taking the drug even when they don’t need or want to.

Other long-term effects of Vyvanse abuse can include:

Heart and cardiovascular system — Stimulants can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Over time, this can lead to a number of cardiovascular difficulties, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and abnormal heartbeat.

Liver — When someone abuses Vyvanse long-term, liver damage can occur. Signs of liver damage can include yellow eyes, fatigue, confusion, and itching.

Kidneys — Vyvanse abuse can also have a long-term impact on the kidneys. The kidneys are in charge of removing waste from the blood and creating urine. When Vyvanse is abused, it can build up in the kidneys and cause damage to these organs. Signs of kidney damage or failure include swollen feet, abdominal pain, and foul breath.

Lungs — Snorting or injecting Vyvanse can have a significant impact on the lungs. Some forms of stimulants may have fillers in them, which can potentially prevent blood flow in the lungs. Snorting or injecting this drug can also cause pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the lungs.

Brain — Abusing Vyvanse can also lead to issues in the brain. Stimulant abuse can cause mental health problems such as psychosis or schizophrenia-related symptoms. This may include delusions, hallucinations, and mood changes.

Symptoms Of Vyvanse Abuse And Addiction

When someone is abusing or addicted to Vyvanse, he or she may display a number of signs that are noticeable to others.

Symptoms of chronic Vyvanse abuse include:

  • dermatosis
  • psychosis symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions
  • insomnia
  • weight loss and malnutrition
  • mood changes
  • depression
  • irritability

Signs that someone may be addicted Vyvanse include:

  • hiding how much and how often the drug is being used
  • lying about using the drug
  • going to multiple doctors to get more prescriptions for the drug
  • hanging out with other people who abuse Vyvanse
  • withdrawal from family or friends
  • intense cravings when the drug is not taken
  • work or school troubles

Getting Help For Vyvanse Abuse And Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Vyvanse, getting help is the best thing you can do to get on the path to recovery. Many people who are addicted to stimulants will need a formal treatment program, like an inpatient program, to successfully overcome addiction.

To learn more about the long-term effects of Vyvanse abuse or to explore Vyvanse abuse and addiction treatment options, contact us today.

RxList - Adderall VS. Vyvanse

MedlinePlus - Substance abuse – amphetamines

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Prescription Stimulants

FDA - Vyvanse

Drug-Free World - The Vicious Effects of Prescription Stimulants

National Alliance on Mental Illness - Amphetamine (Vyvanse)

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