Someone who’s struggling with ADHD disorder may well be prescribed Vyvanse as a treatment. If you’re taking Vyvanse as prescribed, the likelihood you’ll develop an addiction is fairly low.
The risk of Vyvanse addiction increases exponentially in cases where it’s used for nonmedical or recreational purposes. As a psychoactive medication, Vyvanse alters key chemical processes in the brain.
For someone with ADHD, these changes can be of great help. For someone who doesn’t have ADHD, these changes can wreak havoc on his or her physical and mental health as a Vyvanse addiction takes shape.
Signs of Vyvanse addiction may be hard to spot, especially if you’re the one taking it. By answering a few straightforward questions, you’ll have a better idea as to whether a Vyvanse addiction has taken hold.
Are You Taking Larger Doses Over Time?
Vyvanse belongs to the amphetamine class of drugs, which are controlled substances and highly addictive. As with all prescription amphetamine drugs, the brain cells most affected by Vyvanse develop a tolerance to the drug’s effects over time.
According to the National Institutes of Health, tolerance increases stem from the drug’s effects on brain cell structures. Not only does Vyvanse cause cells to release large amounts of neurotransmitter chemicals, but it also weakens cells structures in the process.
The weaker cell structures become the less sensitive they are to Vyvanse’s effects. This means increasingly larger doses are needed to produce the same “high” effect. Cell structures also lose their ability to function normally, which impairs their ability properly regulate bodily functions. Vyvanse addiction develops out of the brain’s increasing tolerance for the drug.
Do You Need Vyvanse to Make It Through the Day?
Most every type of addictive drug affects how the brain’s reward system functions. The brain’s reward system coordinates learning processes and plays a central role in determining what motivates a person’s behaviors.
Vyvanse addiction takes hold as the drug’s effects gradually “rewire” how the brain’s reward system works. Vyvanse’s effects stimulate the release of dopamine, one of the brain’s primary neurotransmitter chemicals. Dopamine acts as the primary chemical messenger within the brain’s reward system.
Over time, this reward system “learns” to define increases in dopamine levels (brought on Vyvanse) as a positive reinforcement. In effect, a Vyvanse addiction becomes a primary motivator for a person’s behaviors throughout any given day. At this point a person believes he or she “needs” the drug to make it through the day.
Have Important Areas of Your Life Undergone Drastic Change?
Vyvanse addiction essentially alters a person’s entire belief system, at which point getting and using the drug takes top priority in a person’s life. Once Vyvanse addiction sets in, users lose control over their ability to manage drug intake amounts and have little to no regard for any negative consequences that result.
At this point, important areas of your life have undergone considerable change to accommodate the “needs” of the addiction. Areas affected may include –
- Workplace problems
- Relationship conflicts
- Isolating from friends and family
- Spending most of your time with other drug users
- Decline in physical health
- Emotional instability
- Financial difficulties
- Legal problems
While it may be harder to spot addiction during the early stages, comparing your present-day lifestyle to life “before Vyvanse” will likely provide you with a clear-cut answer as to whether or not addiction has taken hold.