As a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, Vyvanse works within the brain to help those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder (BED). This is a Schedule II drug, which means it is potentially habit-forming.

Vyvanse is a stimulant, but it works in a paradoxical way: It helps people who have problems with impulse control and hyperactivity. While it is used to treat patients with BED, it shouldn’t be used to aid in weight loss or for patients suffering from obesity. Because of the habit-forming potential of this medication, you should only take it as prescribed by your doctor.

What is Vyvanse?

As a CNS stimulant, this medication works with chemicals already present in your brain and CNS. If you suffer from BED or ADHD, it helps to slow down your brain and its tendency toward “racing thoughts”. Vyvanse should not be prescribed or given to children younger than 6 years of age.

Because of its Schedule II status as a potential drug of abuse, you should tell your doctor about past drug or alcohol abuse issues. Once you begin to take it, you may notice unusual thoughts or behaviors that you don’t normally experience. This could be psychosis, one of the more serious possible side effects. Vyvanse may cause these symptoms if you already have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, depression, or other mental illness. If you discuss these past diagnoses with your doctor, they may find you something more suitable, and less dangerous, to take to deal with your issues.

Because it is a CNS stimulant, you shouldn’t take it if you have used a MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days, or if you are currently taking one. MAO inhibitors include linezolid, phenelzine, methylene blue injection, and selegiline, among others.

Common Side Effects of Vyvanse

As a stimulant, you’ll notice several side effects that effect many systems in your body. Most side effects are mild and, as your body gets used to the presence of the drug, they may decrease further.

Side effects include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Jittery feeling
  • Heart rate is faster than normal

While those are relatively benign side effects, if you notice any of the following you should call your doctor immediately:

  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Sweating and fever
  • Twitchy muscles
  • Stiff muscles
  • Lack of coordination

These symptoms may indicate that you are suffering from serotonin syndrome and should be treated right away

If you notice signs of psychosis (hallucinations, behavior problems that are new, hostility, feeling paranoid, or aggressiveness) call your doctor immediately.

Interactions of Alcohol and Vyvanse

Vyvanse, along with other medications, should never be taken with alcohol. While no studies have been done on the interactions of the drugs in combination, interactions between depressants and stimulants are often seen in overdose or other situations where drug use has become dangerous.

Mixing alcohol with amphetamines, or any stimulant, leads to an increase in blood pressure and heart rate among other things. Alcohol (a depressant) and Vyvanse work to cancel each other out. Alcohol depresses some stimulant effects of your medication and Vyvanse lowers some of the sedating effects of alcohol. This may lead you to not realize how drunk as you are. Stimulants and alcohol are often used together to allow the user to “party longer” much in the same way caffeine is used with alcohol. However, because of the strong effect of prescription stimulants, the extended “party” can easily lead to alcohol poisoning or overdose.

Alcohol Poisoning and Vyvanse Overdose

Addiction is an affliction that is still not understood. It manifests with compulsive behaviors meant to allow the sufferer to obtain and use their substance of choice, regardless of the potential for harm or death.

Once you become addicted to one or more substances, your body needs them more and more intensely (dependence), and if you don’t get them, you develop withdrawal symptoms. However, more often, before suffering withdrawal or attempting to stop using, addicted people suffer at least one overdose.

The symptoms of alcohol poisoning are potentially deadly. Once you have drunk large amounts of alcohol in a short time frame, you may become visibly ill or pass out before anyone notices you are truly unwell.

Symptoms include:

  • Lowered body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Slowed breathing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Pale or pale-blue skin
  • Seizures
  • Passing out, unable to be roused

If you overdose on a stimulant, the effect is vastly different, though your body still tries to get rid of the toxins the fastest way it can.

Vyvanse overdose symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fast breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood pressure is too high or too low
  • High fever
  • Confusion and panic
  • Stomach cramps
  • Reflexes are too strong
  • Restless
  • Combative behavior
  • Hallucinations

If you or a loved one experiences a Vyvanse overdose, emergency medical assistance will be absolutely necessary. An overdose may ultimately be fatal, especially if you develop convulsions and enter a coma. You are more likely to experience excessive withdrawal symptoms and even die if you have taken other drugs in combination with Vyvanse.


Alcohol withdrawal comes with some potentially deadly symptoms, though each wave of symptoms may come at different times:

6 to 12 hours after last drink:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Headaches
  • Shakiness
  • Nausea/vomiting

12 to 24 hours after last drink:

  • Hand tremors
  • Disorientation

48 hours after last drink:

  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • High fever, excessive sweating
  • Delirium tremens (DTs: including seizures and visual, tactile, and auditory hallucinations)

You don’t need to be abusing Vyvanse to develop withdrawal symptoms; these can happen even if you use the drug as it is prescribed:

  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression

If you are taking your medication as prescribed, you may need help to wean yourself off of it if you don’t want to go through withdrawal. You’ll need to discuss this with the prescribing physician.


If you are taken in for an overdose of any kind, medical staff will assess the severity of your symptoms and overall condition. If they are severe, you may have a tube placed into your airway to aid in breathing, be given activated charcoal if you have alcohol poisoning, and be given an intravenous drip to hydrate you and keep your vitamin and blood glucose levels up. If you are suffering from severe alcohol poisoning, your stomach may be pumped.

Serious symptoms will be treated right away (breathing issues, heart problems, trauma). If you are a danger to yourself or others, you may be placed in restraints. Medical professionals will continue to give you fluids and benzodiazepines to control seizures and help you calm down.

Once you have recovered from the initial threat, it’s time to begin controlling your substance abuse. After an initial stay in detox, where your withdrawal can be overseen by medical professionals to make sure you are as safe as possible, even if the worst side effects occur, you’ll need some kind of ongoing treatment.

You may opt to go into outpatient or inpatient treatment. Therapists and social workers help you learn how to change your behaviors, handle stress, develop a support system, and set goals for your life. In patient treatment may be short or it may last for several months. Outpatient treatment should be ongoing until you have all your cravings under control.