Today’s scientists believe that the main reason adult ADHD remains underdiagnosed is that the diagnostic criteria for ADHD created in the DSM-V (the current manual for diagnosing mental illnesses, published in 2013) were developed around the signs and symptoms of children, specifically boys. There is also an implicit racial bias to how patients of color are diagnosed and treated for mental illnesses, ADHD included. This can affect the ability of young girls, children of color, and people experiencing adult-onset symptoms of ADHD to get proper diagnosis and treatment.
As it turns out, however, ADHD is a disorder that affects a diverse population of all ages and gender identities. And, for adults living with the symptoms of ADHD, Adderall can’t always be used to manage their condition — whether it interacts poorly with their other medications or just doesn’t seem to work for them. In this case, there are several alternatives typically prescribed instead, such as the drug Vyvanse.
What Is Vyvanse?
What is Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)? Vyvanse is a stimulant in a family of amphetamine-based drugs used to treat certain symptoms of ADHD. Using a balance of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, Vyvanse can target many aspects of the disorder that keep patients from being able to pay attention. The effect of this drug can help people with attention disorders have a much more organized and productive life. Some other Vyvanse uses are for the treatment of illnesses like Binge Eating Disorder, but due to the risk of certain more serious effects, it should never be used as a weight-loss drug.
Lisdexamfetamine and ADHD
When used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, Lisdexamfetamine (the active ingredient in Vyvanse) can be a great help to patients with ADHD. The drug addresses the inability to stay focused, sit still without fidgeting, and pay attention to any tasks at hand. By providing the ability for the neurotransmitters in the brain to flow uninterrupted, Vyvanse can help people feel more in control of their thoughts and actions, and ultimately, their lives.
Lack of Access to Vyvanse
One of the problems with prescribing Vyvanse as a treatment for ADHD, however, is that it’s not an accessible treatment for all patients. For some, there are barriers to receiving any mental health treatment — whether due to the cost, medical conditions, or the mis/underdiagnosis of ADHD in young girls and adults of any gender identity. Vyvanse specifically is known to be an expensive medication with no generic available yet on the market. Additionally, it comes with several potential side effects. If these barriers are keeping you from receiving the treatment you need to manage your ADHD symptoms, it may be time to look for a Vyvanse alternative.
Know the Signs You Need a Vyvanse Alternative
Outside of lack of access, one of the largest reasons you may be looking for a Vyvanse alternative is that, like any drug, this medication can come with several side-effects. While not all patients will experience all or any side effects while on this medication, there are few
Vyvanse side effects to look out for:
- Nausea / upset stomach
- Unstable appetite
- Unusual constipation
- Severe headache
- Abnormally high blood pressure
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Mood swings
If you’ve been experiencing any of these side effects to the degree that’s more detrimental to your health than beneficial to your ADHD symptoms, there are plenty of natural options to turn to.