Diet Pill Abuse Exists
Visit your local drug store or nutrition center and browse the aisle devoted to diet pills. The majority of the packages feature celebrities or air-brushed, tight-bodied women. Accompanying these images are promises to lose weight quickly or without the need for exercise or dietary restrictions.
Many of these claims are erroneous and have no scientific merit, but a desperate 15-year-old girl looking to lose weight doesn’t care if the FDA endorsed the drug or not.
Each year, women and men of all ages abuse diet pills. They then become psychologically and chemically addicted to these easily accessible, over-the-counter medications. The abuse of diet pills can start out innocently with a person attempting to shed unwanted weight. The dieter then abuses the drugs in an attempt to lose weight more quickly or because they’ve developed a chemical dependence. Educate yourself about the different types of diet drugs, their ingredients and how to help a loved one you suspect is abusing diet pills.
Different Types of Diet Pills
Carbohydrate Blockers: Carbohydrate blockers prevent the absorption of carbohydrates into the system, which doesn’t allow the complex sugar and starches to cause unwanted weight gain. Carbohydrate blockers are intended for short-term use and using them longer than the manufacturer suggest can lead to several side effects including diarrhea, bloating, upset stomach and heartburn.
Appetite Suppressants: The most commonly used and abused type of diet pills are appetite suppressants. The drugs affect the hypothalamus, or the part of the brain that regulates appetite. The main ingredient in appetite suppressants are amphetamines that not only suppress the appetite, but increase energy and create a sense of euphoria. As with many other illicit drugs, an amphetamine tolerance grows quickly, causing the abuser to consume excessive amounts of the medication to feel its effects.
Fat Binders: Fat binders work by attaching themselves to fat molecules as they are digested. The fat molecules are now too large to be absorbed by the intestines and simply pass through in your stool. Many diet pills claim their fat blockers are created from “natural” or “organic” products, but don’t include the possible side effects, or the common practice of combining fat blockers with amphetamine-based appetite suppressants.
Metabolism Boosters: Many people fall into the trap that consuming metabolism boosters, which often contain addictive and dangerous ingredients, will allow them to lose weight without exercising. Among these ingredients are relatives of ephedra, a stimulant so dangerous it was banned by the Food and Drug Administration, including pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, norephedrine and methylephedrine. When these ingredients are combined with caffeine, potentially dangerous side effects occur including rapid heartbeat, tremors, excessive sweating and severe mood changes.
A 2006 University of Minnesota study labeled “Project Eat” (Eating Among Teens) followed the eating and dieting habits of 2,500 high school aged teens for five years. The study found that the use of diet pills by the female participants doubled from 7.5 to 14.2 percent. By the time teenagers reached 19-20, the number of diet pills users jumped to 20 percent. Many of the girls studied were using diet pills at the age of 13.
Traditionally, teenage girls are the most common abusers of diet pills, although the pressure to be thin is causing several teenage boys to turn to diet pills for a quick solution. The reality is men and women of all ages seeking to fit into society’s version of beauty are susceptible to abusing diet pills.
Signs and Complications of Diet Pills Abuse
If you suspect a loved one is abusing diet pills, there are several signs to watch for including:
- Significant weight loss or weight gain. A person abusing diet pills will often gain a tolerance, resulting in the need to increase dosage to dangerous limits. The pills will either decrease or increase weight loss, resulting in a noticeable change in appearance.
- Changes in behavior and attitude. This is especially true in teens, as the chemicals found in diet pills can alter their brain’s chemistry, causing mood swings, depression and anxiety.
- Constant supply of diet pills. Do you find the person carrying diet pills in their purse or pocket at all times? Does your loved one become panicked if they don’t consume diet pills on a regular schedule?
Complications of diet pill abuse can vary in severity and effect, however the following are the most notable complications:
- Increased heart rate
- Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea
The most effective way to prevent diet pill addiction is to follow the manufacturer’s dosage limitations. The majority of diet pills are intended for short-term use, and should be taken for no longer than six months. If you suspect a friend, family member or child is abusing diet pills, don’t hesitate to seek professional help through a licensed addiction specialist or physician.
Recovering from a diet pills addiction is no different from overcoming an issue with drugs and alcohol. The person might suffer from long-lasting psychological and emotional dependence issues. Help the person take his recovery one day at a time to protect her and her entire family from the pain of diet pill addiction.
This Post was written by Ricky Stanton. Ricky has over 10 years of experience helping people with their residential drug rehab programs. He hopes to continue to help educate others about the dangers of drug and alcohol addictions. Ricky currently works as an Online consultant for www.4rehabilitation.com.