Adderall and Vyvanse are medications designed for people who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). They are a blessing for people who suffer from ADHD and a nightmare for those who don’t have ADHD and take them for other reasons.
Adderall and Vyvanse are drugs designed to stimulate focus and attention. If you experience difficulty focusing and paying attention—caused by ADHD—Adderall and Vyvanse will boost your brain into concentrating normally. However, if your brain is already concentrating normally, Adderall and Vyvanse will throw it into over-drive. If you don’t have ADHD, Adderall and Vyvanse will trigger anger, agitation, and psychosis—make you see and hear things that are not real. And, Adderall and Vyvanse abuse will trigger obsession, compulsion, and other negative effects that I will list below. So, why would anyone abuse Adderall and abuse Vyvanse?
Below are the 4 reasons for Adderall abuse and Vyvanse abuse that I hear most frequently while providing therapy for Adderall abuse and Vyvanse abuse:
“Adderall/Vyvanse makes me productive.”
People that abuse Adderall and abuse Vyvanse claim that Adderall and Vyvanse make them productive. They usually define “productive” as the ability to work compulsively on assignments, study, and perform tasks that have been postponed or neglected. They abuse Adderall and Vyvanse in order to be able to stay awake and sustain attention during “all-nighters” of studying, completing assignments, or working.
“I need to compete with the people that use Adderall and use Vyvanse.
Some people that abuse Adderall and abuse Vyvanse believe that without Adderall and Vyvanse, they could not perform at a high level. They feel that they will be at a disadvantage when they compete with people that abuse Adderall and abuse Vyvanse. According to students and working professionals that abuse Adderall and abuse Vyvanse, the competition for grades, being accepted to graduate programs, gain prestigious internships, or getting promotions is fierce. They argue that Adderall and Vyvanse give their competitors an edge. So they feel that abusing Adderall and abusing Vyvanse is a necessity if they are to compete effectively. (I also hear the argument of having to use drugs to compete from people that experience Steroid Addiction)
“Adderall and Vyvanse help me lose weight/not gain weight.”
Adderall and Vyvanse are stimulants. Stimulants may decrease appetite. Some people that abuse Adderall and Vyvanse welcome feeling less hungry and losing weight. Then, when the negative effects of Adderall abuse and Vyvanse abuse appear, they become afraid to stop using Adderall and Vyvanse for fear of returning to normal eating and gaining weight. People vulnerable to eating disorders are particularly at risk of falling into Adderall abuse and Vyvanse abuse. The sustained use of Adderall and Vyvanse to manage weight put them at risk of Adderall dependency and Vyvanse dependency.
“I can’t stop…can’t stand not sleeping, can’t stand the anxiety… I’m crawling out of my skin.”
The quotes above come from actual people reporting what they experience when they tried to stop using Adderall and Vyvanse after having become dependent on them. When a person has taken increasing amounts of Adderall and Vyvanse over a period of time, their organism becomes “dependent” on Adderall and Vyvanse to function normally. People who develop Adderall dependency and Vyvanse dependency experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. Adderall withdrawal and Vyvanse withdrawal are medical conditions that demand medical attention. Unfortunately, people don’t often seek medical help to help them with withdrawal.
The major symptoms of Adderall withdrawal and Vyvanse withdrawal are:
Adderall and Vyvanse are nervous system stimulants. They are designed to quicken the nervous system. They are supposed to put the organism in a state of hyper attention. When the organism is in a state of hyper attention, it is alert and awake. Consequently, people who take Adderall, Vyvanse, and other stimulants, experience agitation, feel nervous, stimulated, and awake. Therefore, they experience difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
Agitation is a state of anxiety and nervous excitement. Adderall and Vyvanse stimulate the nervous system. The stimulation produced by Adderall and Vyvanse results in heightened focus, which is the goal of taking them. However, drugs cannot be controlled to do exactly what we want them to do, and they always affect other areas; these other effects are usually called “side effects.” Drugs don’t follow our wishes. When a person takes nervous system stimulants like Adderall and Vyvanse, the entire nervous system will be stimulated and aroused. When Adderall and Vyvanse are ingested, they will stimulate the parts of the brain responsible for paying attention. That is the goal. People take Adderall and Vyvanse to increase their ability to pay attention. It would be great if Adderall and Vyvanse would only increase attention when we want, for as long as we want, in the amount that we want. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. When people take Adderall and Vyvanse, their entire nervous system will be stimulated. When the whole nervous system is stimulated, it will send signals of agitation and even anxiety. So, people receiving the benefit of increased attention will also have to deal with the agitation and anxiety that are triggered by Adderall and Vyvanse.
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, and feeling afraid. Anxiety is caused by the mind anticipating danger. Anxiety is like an alarm system. An alarm system that sends a signal to the organism. The signal that anxiety sends to our organism is designed to alert us to be ready to respond to an emergency. Anxiety wants to get us ready to face danger or run from it. Sometimes anxiety is warning us of a danger that is real. Sometimes it warns us of a danger that is imagined. Either way, the physical sensations of anxiety are the same if the mind is responding to real danger, an imagined danger, or if a drug is triggering the anxiety response. Drugs like Adderall, Vyvanse, and other stimulants trigger the anxiety response. They trigger anxiety at the same time that they stimulate attention. So, people that take Adderall and Vyvanse experience anxiety frequently. They pay the price for the ability to pay more attention with increased anxiety.
When people that abuse Adderall and abuse Vyvanse stop using them, the feelings of being stimulated and agitated that the drugs produce end. When the effects of the drugs wear off, the users of Adderall and the users of Vyvanse experience feelings that are the opposite of the feelings that Adderall and Vyvanse produced. They experience the opposite of stimulation and the opposite of agitation. The opposite of stimulation is inhibition, not feeling motivated to do anything. The opposite of agitation is apathy, not caring about anything. When people lose their motivation to do anything, and they stop caring about things, they fall into depression. People who feel depressed after stopping the use of Adderall and Vyvanse become desperate and want to get out of their depression. They see taking Adderall and Vyvanse again as a way to return to feeling agitated and stimulated. They seek more Adderall and Vyvanse to escape feeling depressed. The fear of withdrawal makes them afraid of stopping the use of Adderall and Vyvanse. They become afraid of feeling depressed again. So, they decide to use Adderall and Vyvanse continuously to avoid negative feelings of depression and negative feelings of guilt, shame, and regret. They try to escape the feelings that were created by Adderall and Vyvanse by taking more Adderall and Vyvanse.
People who abuse Adderall and abuse Vyvanse experience confusion and are not be able to think clearly. This is paradoxical because people take Adderall and Vyvanse, hoping to think better and more clearly.
Adderall, and Vyvanse, induced Obsession
Obsessions are ideas and thoughts that continually preoccupy or intrude on people’s minds. People that abuse Adderall and Vyvanse find themselves obsessing. Adderall and Vyvanse trigger the brain into hyperdrive. This hyperactivity causes hyper-focus of attention. Attention gets drawn to self-gratifying mental activity. Gratifying obsessions and fantasies centering on
Pornography, sexual desires, fantasies, and desire for gambling, spending money, and other pleasurable activities. As a result, people who abuse Adderall and Vyvanse are not able to pay attention to their chosen tasks. So—paradoxically—taking Adderall and Vyvanse result in not completing work and study.
Adderall, and Vyvanse induced compulsion.
Compulsions are irresistible urges to behave in certain ways, even against what we wish consciously. Adderall and Vyvanse trigger compulsions. As explained in the section on obsessions, Adderall and Vyvanse activate the brain into hyper-drive. The increased speed and agitation of mental activity lead to Adderall and Vyvanse driven compulsion. This means that people feel irresistible urges to engage in risky behavior, make irrational choices, engage in compulsive masturbation, and lose their capacity for judgment. People under the influence of Adderall and Vyvanse induced compulsions to act in self-destructive ways like engaging in sexual promiscuity and illegal behavior. Adderall and Vyvanse impair the brain’s ability to break impulses. So people under the influence of Adderall and Vyvanse are driven by strong compulsions and overwhelmed by impulses, even when knowing that they are doing harm to themselves.
It’s easy to understand why people would not want to go through the negative experiences that come with stopping the abuse of Adderall and Vyvanse. It’s also easy for me to understand the reasoning of wanting to avoid negative consequences like weight gain, etc. However, these reasons are usually not as severe as the person that is dependent on Adderall and Vyvanse thinks. Also, there is medical treatment for withdrawal, which minimizes the discomfort of discontinuing Adderall and Vyvanse abuse.
Continued Adderall and Vyvanse abuse produce problems that are more severe than any of the ones that people who are abusing Adderall and Vyvanse are afraid of. Engaging in a good detox and therapy process will lead to successfully resolving the problems that drive people to abuse Adderall and Vyvanse, with a lot less collateral damage.