Vyvanse is a widely prescribed medication that can help some children and adults manage the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and adults with Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.). Like any stimulant, though, this medication carries the potential for abuse. The number of young people abusing prescription drugs is one of the most disturbing trends in America.
In an article from Psychology Today, some research indicates that as many as 90 percent of people who develop prescription drug abuse problems later in life experimented with these drugs in junior high school and high school. Since Vyvanse addiction appears to be a growing problem across the country, parents need to know how to spot the signs of Vyvanse abuse in teens.
Understanding Vyvanse and the Potential for Addiction
What is Vyvanse? This medication is similar to Adderall and Ritalin, which can help manage ADHD symptoms and other psychological conditions that may interfere with learning and socialization at young ages. One of the most prominent factors in the increasing number of prescription drug addiction cases is the pervasive assumption that prescription drugs are always safe. This is not true, and while doctors need to make the risks of any prescription medication clear to patients, it is up to patients to follow instructions for use carefully and to avoid misusing prescription drugs.
How Does Vyvanse Work?
Vyvanse is a fast-acting stimulant capable of helping a person focus more clearly, especially if he or she struggles with a psychological condition that makes concentration difficult. The effects of using Vyvanse can feel pleasant and even empowering. Many people who take Vyvanse report that it provides a boost to concentration and energy that helps bolster confidence and improve performance at work and school.
Over-prescription is a major problem throughout the country. Far too many doctors turn to prescription medications first to address symptoms without acknowledging the underlying causes of those symptoms or considering alternatives. Children and teens naturally have high energy levels compared with older adults, and some parents may mistake typical childhood energy levels as problematic or indicative of a developmental issue or psychological condition such as ADHD.
Symptoms of Vyvanse Abuse
Spotting prescription drug abuse can be difficult. Unlike marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, or opioids, there may be little to no physical evidence of addiction or telltale signs that give it away to parents. This makes prescription drug abuse hard to spot without knowing the signs of abuse. Teens are also prone to mood swings and impulsive behavior, so parents need to learn the difference between reasonable outbursts and the symptoms of prescription drug abuse.
A person who abuses Vyvanse may show signs of excessive energy and enthusiasm. He or she may also appear overly confident, boastful, or arrogant. Sometimes, Vyvanse abuse symptoms may also include aggression, unpredictable mood swings, and alternating periods of extreme highs and lows.
Signs of Vyvanse Dependency and Addiction
Over time, Vyvanse abuse can lead to dependency and then full-blown addiction. When a person requires Vyvanse to handle everyday life or certain events, this is dependency. When his or her dependency interferes with normal life or causes significant problems with school, work, and home, then the dependency has become a full-blown addiction. Some people may also abuse Vyvanse with other drugs, leading to disastrous results. For example, combining Vyvanse and alcohol may cause brain damage, psychotic episodes, and respiratory failure.
A person struggling with Vyvanse dependency or addiction may have unexpected financial problems from spending all of his or her money on more pills. The individual may also show significant personality changes. For example, a person who used to be excited about family gatherings and outings may suddenly stop showing interest in spending time with family members and become secluded. Other side effects of Vyvanse abuse may include:
- Panic attacks and episodes of acute anxiety
- Organ failure
- Brain damage and cognitive impairment
- Weight fluctuations
- Aggressive outbursts
- Cardiovascular complications, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate
There is also a risk of overdose death from Vyvanse. A person who abuses this drug over time develops a tolerance for it and will require increasingly larger doses to feel the desired effects. Eventually, it is possible to take too much and suffer a life-threatening overdose.
Stopping Vyvanse can cause withdrawal symptoms, just like any other addictive substance. Some of the most common Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms include extreme fatigue, depression, sleeping problems, and mood swings, but symptoms can vary from person to person. Vyvanse withdrawal can be difficult without medical assistance or detox support.
People who take Vyvanse for legitimate medical issues are also at risk of developing addictions if they misuse their prescriptions or do not communicate with their doctors about adverse side effects. Sudden cessation of the drug may cause prior symptoms to reappear with greater intensity. For example, if a person took Vyvanse to help with concentration, suddenly stopping the medication may make it difficult if not impossible for the person to focus on anything important for several days.
Helping Families Overcome Addiction
Medical supervision during the detox and rehab phases of recovery is valuable for people struggling with Vyvanse dependency. Parents of teens who develop addictions to Vyvanse should know what to expect from the treatment process and how to approach the subject of rehab with a child. Staging an intervention and starting the recovery process are rarely simple matters, and a professional interventionist from Intervention Helpline can be a tremendous asset.
Develop a Comprehensive Treatment Plan
Intervention Helpline works with a large network of support service providers, substance abuse professionals, and treatment centers all over the country. We help connect families with resources, so they can find the recovery option that works best for them.
At Intervention Helpline, we believe family is one of the most crucial components of any recovery experience. Staging a professionally hosted intervention for a teen struggling with a prescription drug problem can help begin the recovery process on a stronger footing. Learn more about the services we offer that help families overcome addiction.