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Adderall and Vyvanse are classified as Schedule II drugs and both are stimulants that are commonly prescribed to treat ADHD. But what’s the difference between Adderall and Vyvanse? Here are some of the main differences and similarities between these two drugs, as well as a side-by-side comparison of their side effects, withdrawal, addiction symptoms, and detox treatment.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name for a prescription stimulant drug that is approved for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. It is a combination drug made of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that is available in immediate-release and extended-release formulas. Adderall’s effects increase a person’s ability to focus on a task, pay attention, listen, and control behavioral problems.1

Adderall works by changing the brain’s natural chemical balance.2 Since it contains amphetamine salts, it does have the potential to be abused and it can cause dependence, tolerance, and addiction. Due to its stimulating effects, Adderall is frequently abused among students, young professionals, athletes, and other specific populations of people. It may also be abused as a party drug.

Fifty percent of college students admit to abusing prescription stimulants like Adderall to improve their academic performance3 and about 16 million prescriptions for stimulants like Adderall were written in 2012, which is about three times the number written in 2008.4 For those who do abuse Adderall, they often snort the pills or take larger and more frequent doses than prescribed.

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your System?

The duration of time Adderall stays in your system will vary depending on a few different factors, such as:

  • Your metabolism
  • Body mass, body fat, and weight
  • Age
  • Amount of water in the body
  • Liver and kidney health
  • How often and how much Adderall is used

Adderall usually stays in your system for about 72 hours or three days, but this can vary from person to person.5 The chart below contains approximate drug test detection times for Adderall.

Drug Testing for Adderall

Urine testDetectable for 2-5 days
Blood testDetectable up to 12 hours
Saliva testDetectable for 1-5 days
Hair follicle testDetectable for up to 90 days

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-amphetamine-stay-in-your-system-80220

Signs of Adderall Addiction

If someone is addicted to Adderall or is regularly abusing it to get high, he or she may display some physical and psychological signs. Common signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction include:

  • Weight loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Paranoia
  • Talking very quickly
  • Incomplete thoughts
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial problems
  • A decline in personal hygiene
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Frequently missing work or school
  • Hiding pills
  • Frequently taking pills
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Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

Once a person develops an addiction to Adderall, he or she may experience uncomfortable physical side effects if he or she suddenly stops taking it. This is called withdrawal. Although the duration and severity of Adderall withdrawal will vary depending on the person, some common Adderall withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Cravings
  • Lack of energy
  • Depression
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep6

Withdrawal from prescription stimulants like Adderall can be very uncomfortable and the safest way to detox is at a detox center. A medical detox program at a licensed drug and alcohol detox center can provide medication-assisted treatment to ease withdrawal symptoms and ensure the client’s comfort and safety throughout the entire process.

What Is Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is the brand name for the prescription drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate. It is another prescription stimulant medication that is used to treat ADHD, and it has also been approved by the FDA to treat binge eating disorder. Vyvanse does have the potential for abuse and addiction so it is classified as a Schedule II drug.7

When used as directed by a doctor, Vyvanse increases a person’s ability to pay attention, stop fidgeting, and stay focused. Researchers aren’t exactly sure how it works, although it is thought to restore the natural balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.8

Although it does have the potential for abuse, Vyvanse is less likely to be abused than other stimulants because it is a prodrug. This means it must first be absorbed by the intestinal tract before it is converted to dextroamphetamine, which is the active form of the drug. As a result, its effects aren’t felt as quickly as those of Adderall, since it must be metabolized by the body first.

How Long Does Vyvanse Stay in Your System?

For most people, Vyvanse stays in your system for about three days.9,10 This will vary from person to person depending on the following factors:

  • Your metabolism
  • Body mass, body fat, and weight
  • Age
  • Amount of water in the body
  • Liver and kidney health
  • How often and how much Vyvanse is used

The effects of Vyvanse can be felt about one to two hours after taking a dose. The delay is longer than that of Adderall (effects can be felt in just 30 minutes) because Vyvanse must be metabolized by the body first.

Drug tests can also be used to detect Vyvanse use or abuse. The chart below contains approximate drug test detection times for Vyvanse.

Drug Testing for Vyvanse

Urine testDetectable for 2 days
Blood testDetectable for up to 12 hours
Saliva testDetectable for 1 -5 days
Hair follicle testDetectable up to 90 days

Source:  https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(16)30825-4/pdf; https://amphetamines.com/facts/how-long-do-amphetamines-stay-in-your-system/

How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Vyvanse?

Vyvanse is a controlled substance, and although it is possible to use it without becoming addicted, taking Vyvanse in high doses for a long period of time can cause dependence and addiction. For some people, it may only take a few weeks of Vyvanse abuse before they become addicted. For others, it may take several months.11 The development of addiction is a highly individualized process, as is the detox, withdrawal, and recovery process. As a result, it is impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to get addicted to Vyvanse.

Signs and Symptoms of Vyvanse Addiction

If a person is abusing Vyvanse or is addicted to it, you may notice a few strange behaviors and physical changes. Here are some of the most common symptoms of Vyvanse abuse and addiction:

  • Weight loss
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Hostile behavior
  • A sudden increase in confidence
  • Excessive energy
  • Speaking very quickly
  • Excessive sweating
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Dilated pupils

Other behavioral signs that a person may be abusing prescription stimulants such as Vyvanse include:

  • Getting prescriptions from multiple doctors
  • Financial, legal, or relationship problems related to Vyvanse use
  • Taking more Vyvanse than is recommended by a doctor
  • Getting Vyvanse from friends, family members, co-workers, or dealers
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after missing a dose or when Vyvanse is unavailable
  • Becoming obsessed with getting the next Vyvanse dose
  • Needing a larger dose of Vyvanse to feel the same effects it used to provide

Vyvanse Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person develops an addiction to Vyvanse and suddenly stops using it, he or she may experience some uncomfortable side effects of withdrawal. Since Vyvanse stays in your system for about three days, the most intense withdrawal symptoms may not appear until about a week after the last dose. How long these withdrawal symptoms last and how severe they are will depend on the person, their drug abuse history, and other biological factors.

Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms usually include:

  • Anxiety
  • Concentration problems
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Exhaustion12

How to Detox from Vyvanse

Attempting to detox from Vyvanse at home without medical supervision is difficult and could be dangerous. The safest and most effective way to detox from Vyvanse is with a medical detox program.

Medical detox offers 24/7 medical and clinical care in a safe and comfortable environment. Clients are monitored regularly and Vyvanse detox protocol is adjusted based on the changing needs of the client during treatment. Clients also have immediate access to clinical care and they may speak with a counselor or therapist to process any emotional or psychological side effects of withdrawal, such as depression or anxiety.

If you attempt to quit Vyvanse cold turkey, you are more likely to experience severe Vyvanse withdrawal side effects. Conversely, if you detox with a medical program, you will slowly be tapered off the drug (gradually decreasing the dosage over time) and will be much less likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, any uncomfortable side effects that you do experience can be treated with medication administered by a professional staff.

Not only is a medical detox program more comfortable and safe, but you will also be less likely to relapse with close medical supervision.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Vyvanse?

So, how long does Vyvanse withdrawal last? And how long does it take to detox? These are both great questions to ask, especially if you plan on enrolling in a Vyvanse detox program.

If you quit Vyvanse cold turkey and abruptly stop taking it, you may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours. Without treatment, Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms may last three or four weeks.13

On the other hand, if you detox with a program that utilizes a tapering method, your withdrawal symptoms will be delayed and they will likely be less severe. Depending on the tapering schedule your treatment team follows, Vyvanse withdrawal symptoms may last a few weeks.

Adderall Uses vs. Vyvanse Uses

Adderall and Vyvanse are both FDA-approved to treat ADHD, but the biggest difference between the two is that Vyvanse is a prodrug, which means it needs to be metabolized and broken down first before it is active in the body. Adderall has a much faster absorption rate.

Adderall contains amphetamine salts (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) and its effects can be felt within 30 minutes of taking a dose. However, it is also available in extended-release tablet form.Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, which the body must convert to dextroamphetamine first before the drug is active in the body. It generally takes about one to two hours before the drug’s effects can be felt.

The effects of Adderall affect the user faster, but they also wear off more quickly too, whereas a dose of Vyvanse can last up to 14 hours. However, Adderall is available in immediate-release and extended-release versions, which affects how quickly the drug becomes active in the body.

Adderall and Vyvanse are similar in many ways and are even used to treat some of the same disorders. However, the main difference between the two is that Adderall contains amphetamine salts and Vyvanse contains lisdexamfetamine, which is inactive until the body metabolizes it and converts it to dextroamphetamine.14

Neither Adderall or Vyvanse are intended to be used recreationally, but many people use them for other purposes such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Increasing productivity at work
  • Improving performance at school
  • Partying
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Feeling more energized and confident

People who abuse Adderall or Vyvanse may do so in a variety of ways such as chewing the pills, crushing the pills and eating or snorting the powder, or diluting the powder with water before inserting it into the rectum.

Abusing Adderall or Vyvanse for these purposes is dangerous and has severe side effects with lasting consequences. Despite the dangers, many people get hooked on the way the drugs make them feel or the results they see, which motivates them to continue abusing the drugs.

Adderall vs. Vyvanse: Addiction and Dependence

Chronic abuse of Adderall and Vyvanse can cause physical dependence and addiction. One study found that only a few percent of college students were taking amphetamine during times of relatively low stress on campus. However, during finals, that number increased drastically to about 25% of students using Adderall or Vyvanse.15

Although this study’s findings clearly demonstrate one population’s reason for abusing these drugs (to increase academic performance) it’s important to recognize that any type of prescription stimulant abuse can lead to addiction and dependence.

In 2016, 2.6 million people started abusing prescription stimulants to get high and 4.3 million people said they used prescription stimulants to get high within the last month. These numbers show that stimulant abuse is even outpacing that of opioid abuse.16

The number of overdose deaths caused by psychostimulants also increased 30 percent in 2017; 7,663 people died from a stimulant overdose in 2017, compared to 5,992 in 2016.16

Adderall vs. Vyvanse: Side Effects

Since both Adderall and Vyvanse are stimulant drugs, chronic abuse of either causes similar side effects.

Side Effects of Adderall AbuseSide Effects of Vyvanse Abuse
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Restlessness
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Delirium
  • Panic attack
  • Cardiac rhythm abnormalities
  • Vertigo
  • Hyperventilation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma17
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Reduced appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Involuntary twitching
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Impaired judgment
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Coma18

Common Adderall and Vyvanse Drug Combinations

Some people who abuse Adderall or Vyvanse may also use them with other substances to achieve a certain effect. This can result in dangerous or even life-threatening side effects. Here are some common Adderall and Vyvanse drug combinations.

Vyvanse and Phenibut

Phenibut is an anti-anxiety medication. It is a central nervous system depressant that provides both relaxing and euphoric effects for users. Vyvanse and phenibut is a popular drug combination, as some users claim the phenibut helps reduce the crash after using Vyvanse.19 However, this drug combination is not medically recommended.

Gabapentin and Vyvanse

Gabapentin is a nerve pain medication and an anticonvulsant. According to one user, some people may abuse gabapentin and Vyvanse together to enhance the euphoric effects and prevent negative side effects of the Vyvanse.20

Vyvanse and Oxy (Oxycodone)

Using opioids and stimulants together can enhance pain relief but it can also be very dangerous. Vyvanse and “oxy” or oxycodone may be a popular drug combo, but abusing these two together can increase a person’s risk of overdose by producing strong feelings of euphoria and making the user feel like the effects of one drug are not as strong as they really are.21

Kratom and Vyvanse

Kratom and Vyvanse or Adderall is another common drug combination, with user reports that it induces feelings of calmness without overriding the stimulating effects of the Vyvanse/Adderall.22

Vyvanse and Edibles (marijuana)

User reports of using Vyvanse and marijuana edibles together claim that the combination of the two produces a calming effect without the anxiety. However, using Vyvanse (a stimulant) and marijuana (a depressant) together can increase the user’s risk of overdose.

Adderall and Xanax

People who abuse Adderall may use Xanax, a popular anxiety medication, to reduce the negative effects of Adderall, such as panic attacks or sleeping problems. Since the two drugs both affect the central nervous system, using Adderall and Xanax together could increase the potential side effects, the severity of symptoms, and the risks of both.23

Adderall and Phenibut

Some people abuse Adderall and phenibut together for the same reasons people combine Vyvanse and phenibut: it reduces the crash and negative side effects that follow stimulant abuse.19

Adderall and Alcohol

Adderall and alcohol is another common yet very dangerous drug combination. Since Adderall is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, the two compete within the body, which can make a person feel less drunk than they actually are. This can lead to alcohol poisoning, increased blood pressure and heartbeat, and risky behaviors.

Adderall and Marijuana

Similar to the effects of using Vyvanse and marijuana, Adderall and marijuana can greatly increase the risk of overdose, despite any anxiety-relieving effects of the combination.

Adderall and Antidepressants

According to the FDA, using amphetamines with any type of antidepressant can cause serotonin syndrome, which is a potentially life-threatening reaction that may include symptoms like hallucinations, delirium, tremors, or coma.24

Although some user reports regarding these drug combinations shed a positive light on the recreational abuse of the substances, mixing the above drugs can be dangerous and is not ever recommended or condoned.

Get Adderall Addiction Treatment or Vyvanse Addiction Treatment Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to prescription stimulants like Adderall or Vyvanse, getting help is the first step to overcoming your addiction. While each person must make their own path to recovery, a comprehensive addiction treatment program that includes medical detox, rehab, and aftercare like IOP or sober living can help you successfully achieve sobriety and learn how to live a life that is free from all drug abuse.

If you’d like to learn more about our personalized prescription detox program at Briarwood Detox Center, please call today to speak with an admissions representative.

 

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-63163/adderall-oral/details
  2. https://www.psycom.net/adderall-amphetamine
  3. https://cvshealth.com/thought-leadership/prescription-stimulant-abuse
  4. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201805/will-adderall-be-the-new-opioid-crisis
  5. https://www.mayocliniclabs.com/test-info/drug-book/pod/DrugBook.pdf
  6. https://drugabuse.com/adderall/
  7. https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/vyvanse#basics
  8. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-148324/vyvanse-oral/details
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18991468
  10. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Lisdexamfetamine#section=Information-Sources
  11. https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/vyvanse-crash
  12. https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/05/06/vyvanse-withdrawal-symptoms-timeline/
  13. https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/vyvanse-detox/
  14. https://www.verywellmind.com/vyvanse-vs-adderall-4135491
  15. https://drugabuse.com/featured/rise-of-the-study-drug-adderall/#.XFMq9VxKjIV
  16. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/news/20180403/experts-warn-of-emerging-stimulant-epidemic
  17. https://www.livescience.com/41013-adderall.html
  18. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/021977lbl.pdf
  19. https://corpina.com/combine-phenibut-adderall/
  20. https://www.bluelight.org/vb/threads/738007-Gabapentin-(Neurontin)-and-Vyvanse-The-Best-of-Both-Worlds
  21. https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/treatments/pharmacological/opioids/simultaneous-use-stimulants-opioids
  22. https://www.bluelight.org/vb/threads/687441-Adderall-and-Kratom-Combination
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3532935/
  24. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/021977s044lbl.pdf
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