Get Help Today. (800) 516-4357

Managing Anxiety With Vyvanse: Strategies & Considerations

While it is true that it is possible to experience heightened anxiety while taking Vyvanse, it is also true that the two disorders for which the drug is primarily prescribed also come with their own levels of anxiety.

Struggling with Stimulant Addiction? Get Help Now

People living with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder (BED) often feel anxiety due to the problems that those disorders cause when untreated. While Vyvanse may cause anxiety to worsen for some, for others, it may relieve anxiety as the symptoms of ADHD or BED lift with treatment.[1]

If the symptoms of anxiety become overwhelming while using Vyvanse, reach out to your prescribing physician. 

Why Does Vyvanse Have the Potential to Cause Anxiety?

There is no clear reason why Vyvanse may cause anxiety to worsen in some people who take the medication while serving to reduce anxiety in other users. 

According to one report, anxiety was an issue among 5% to 6% of adults who took Vyvanse.[2] However, this may be more common among those who are diagnosed with ADHD and take Vyvanse for treatment because there is an overlap between ADHD and anxiety.[3] In fact, it estimated that about 33.5% of children and adolescents who are diagnosed with ADHD are also struggling with a co-occurring anxiety disorder.[4]

Additionally, a meta-analysis found that using psychostimulants like Vyvanse to treat ADHD in children actually reduced the risk of anxiety.[1] It went on to say that there was no greater risk of anxiety when taking Vyvanse among study participants than there was with placebo. 

For those who experience anxiety when taking Vyvanse, it may be that the stimulant nature of the drug mimics or worsens underlying anxiety, especially when it manifests as rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure, which are common side effects of Vyvanse.[5] For certain people, the experience of some of the possible side effects (like nausea, dizziness, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues) may be anxiety-inducing in and of themselves.[6]

Ways to Reduce Anxiety While on Vyvanse

If you or your loved one are one of the people who experience anxiety while on Vyvanse, you may be able to reduce the issue by taking action. Try these steps:

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider 

First and foremost, it is important to talk through the anxiety symptoms you are experiencing with the physician who prescribed you the medication. They can determine whether or not it is a good idea for you to continue taking the medication. Your doctor may suggest changing up the time of day that you take the medication, altering the dose, prescribing a second medication to address the symptoms, or stopping use of Vyvanse. 

Lifestyle Changes 

There are a number of things you can do at home to help you manage anxiety, whether it is related to Vyvanse use or not. These include the following: 

  • Take part in exercise regularly, both cardiovascular and weight bearing in nature, to help you manage your mood.
  • Eat healthfully and minimize consumption of sugar and caffeine. Choose to eat whole foods and lean proteins. 
  • Get up and go to bed at the same time each day. It may be difficult to get good sleep at night while taking Vyvanse, especially if you take your dose later in the day, but creating a regular sleep schedule can help your body adjust. 
  • Engage in mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises can all be helpful as you work to address acute and chronic symptoms of anxiety.

Engage in Therapy

Depending on the way that anxiety shows up in your life and the underlying issues driving the symptoms, different therapies may be more or less effective. Some of the most effective options include the following: 

  • CBT: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful in learning new ways to avoid anxiety-inducing situations, reducing the level of anxiety felt in specific situations, and providing tools to implement when anxiety arises.[7] As a bonus, CBT has also been found to be effective in helping people to manage issues related to ADHD as well.[8]
  • DBT: Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can help with emotional regulation, interpersonal relationships, and tolerance for stress, which can help to limit anxiety symptoms. It has been shown to be just as effective as CBT in treating anxiety disorder.[9]
  • Alternative therapies: Options like biofeedback, yoga, massage, and acupuncture may all have a positive effect on the experience of anxiety symptoms.[10]

Build Support Systems 

Surrounding yourself with people who understand the disorders you are facing and their symptoms, and who are willing to be supportive of your recovery, is a key part of learning how to live with ADHD and anxiety. As you go through the process of finding the right combination of medications and therapy to help you find balance, it can be especially helpful to have other people around to support you. 

A medical provider should be the first support system, trusted family and friends are a close second, and then peers who are also living with the disorders who can give you advice and understanding.[11] 

Additionally, if addiction to Vyvanse becomes an issue, finding and connecting with an addiction treatment program and recovery community should be the first priority. 

Updated March 21, 2024
  1. Meta-analysis: Reduced risk of anxiety with psychostimulant treatment in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Coughlin CG, Cohen SC, Mulqueen JM, Ferracioli-Oda E, Stuckelman ZD, Bloch MH. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. 2015;25(8):611-617.
  2. Highlights of prescribing information - Vyvanse. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published July 2021. Accessed February 16, 2024.
  3. Aetiological overlap between anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity symptom dimensions in adolescence. Michelini G, Eley TC, Gregory AM, McAdams TA. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2014;56(4):423-431.
  4. ADHD and Anxiety. Sadek J. Springer eBooks. Published September 27, 2018:23-31.
  5. Adult ADHD medications and their cardiovascular implications. Sinha A, Lewis O, Kumar R, Yeruva SLH, Curry BH. Case Reports in Cardiology. 2016;2016:1-6.
  6. Lisdexamfetamine. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Published February 2020. Accessed February 16, 2024.
  7. Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: an update on the empirical evidence. Kaczkurkin AN, Foa EB. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2018;17(3):337-346.
  8. Description and demonstration of CBT for ADHD in adults. Sprich SE, Knouse LE, Cooper-Vince C, Burbridge J, Safren SA. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice. 2010;17(1):9-15.
  9. Study of the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy versus dialectical behavior therapy on executive function and reduction of symptoms in generalized anxiety disorder. Afshari B, Jafarian Dehkordi F, Asgharnejad Farid AA, et al. Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. 2022;44.
  10. Effectiveness of acupuncture on anxiety disorder: A systematic review and meta analysis of randomised controlled trials. Yang X, Yang N, Huang F, Ren S, Li Z. Annals of General Psychiatry. 2021;20(1).
  11. Benefits of peer support groups in the treatment of addiction. Tracy K, Wallace S. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation. 2016;Volume 7(7):143-154.
Take The Next Step Now
Call Us Now Check Insurance