Since the early 1940s, diet pills have disrupted the industry and an easy and fast way to lose weight. From over-the-counter solutions to prescription-strength diet pills, these popular weight loss solutions offer help when used as recommended. Still, they can also be addictive and lead to mental health distortions of our body image. Let’s explore some diet pills addiction facts and statistics to understand these hidden dangers in our society better.
What are Diet Pills?
Diet pills are chemically designed to interfere with our body weight by suppressing appetite, increasing our metabolism, or preventing fat absorption. You can also find diet pills as anorectic or anorexiant drugs, appetite suppressants, anti-obesity medication, or anti-obesity preparation.
While people think these medications are harmless. Many prescription diet pills are Schedule III or IV under the Controlled Substances Act. These designations should keep diet pills away from people who have a high risk of becoming dependent on them. However, diet pills are abused at alarming rates.
Types of Diet Pills
Diet pills can be part of three different categories. Depending on their chemical makeup and how they affect the body, they can be:
- Stimulant: Curb appetite and increase energy by triggering the central nervous system.
- Appetite-suppressant: They target serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters to increase feelings of fullness and reduce appetite.
- Fat Inhibitors: They activate in the gastrointestinal tract to reduce fat absorption.
Most Abused Diet Pills
Currently, there are only five diet pills with FDA approval; most of them require a prescription. However, the over-the-counter market is overly saturated with diet pills, shakes, teas, and powders that allegedly help people lose weight, despite no scientific evidence to prove it.
Some of the most commonly abused diet pills include:
- Benzphetamine (Didrex): Very similar to amphetamines, they help reduce appetite in obese individuals.
- Diethylpropion (Tenuate): These are short-term prescriptions that help suppress appetite.
- Mazindol (Mazanor): Only approved to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but people abuse it for their appetite suppressive properties.
- Phentermine (Adipex): Another short-term use of diet pills to reduce weight and appetite in overweight individuals.
5 Interesting Diet Pills Addiction Facts You Should Know
Because diet pills are so widely available, most people are shocked when they read diet pills addiction facts. The truth is that diet pills also include addictive substances similar to some of the most potent drugs on the streets. Whenever you’re dealing with prescription-strength medications or unregulated supplements, it is expected that you’ll find a sector of the population misusing or abusing them.
1. Diet Pills Addiction Affects Primarily Teenage Girls
Everyone knows the teenage years can be challenging, especially for girls. Peer pressure and the media can lead to unrealistic expectations of how their bodies should look like. The pressure to be thin and tiny keeps forcing young women to reach for unhealthy ways to fit these standards. Around 20 percent of all teenage girls use diet pills to lose weight without a doctor’s prescription.
2. Diet Pills Also Cause Overdose
Most people don’t know that diet pills addiction can lead to overdose. However, a diet pill overdose is similar to cocaine or meth overdose, which often leads to heart failure and death. The problem with diet pills is that because they don’t necessarily produce a euphoric effect like other drugs, people tend to abuse them more easily. In the hopes that by ingesting more pills, they’ll suppress their appetite even more and consequently lose more weight.
3. People Experience Withdrawal Symptoms
Like other highly addictive drugs, when people quit diet pills cold-turkey, they often experience withdrawal symptoms. Diet pill withdrawal symptoms begin just six hours after the last dose, people begin to experience withdrawal symptoms like depression, brain fog, muscle aches, and irritability. They also experience cravings for other drugs or substances. Not to mention, over time, they experience weight gain, which might trigger other psychological symptoms.
4. Long-Term Effects Can Be Life-Threatening
Diet pills addiction case short and long-term effects on your health. These pills increase heart rate and blood pressure, leading to strokes, heart attacks, and seizures. Diet pills can also lead to liver injury, which eventually can lead to permanent liver damage.
5. Most People Struggle with Co-Occurring Mental Illness
What makes diet pills addiction so challenging to diagnose is that people are also struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness. Those struggling with anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder, and low self-esteem turn to diet pills in the hopes of fixing their bodies. In the end, they fall for an abusive pattern that takes them to experiment with other substances like alcohol, cocaine, meth, and other drugs that help them feel better.
Diet Pills Addiction Statistics
The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Then, the media and our society continue to push body standards that are frequently unhealthy. For decades, people of all ages abuse diet pills to achieve a perfect body image, get more energy and fight cravings. However, when we look at diet pills addiction statistics, we realize the importance of building a positive body image, working on mental health, and talking about the importance of having a healthy body instead of a thin one.
- A 2009 study by the FDA found that over 60 OTC diet pills contained ingredients that were harmful and potentially dangerous.
- About 50% of people with eating disorders suffer from substance abuse problems.
- One in three overweight individuals admits to using diet pills.
- Around 20 percent of all females report having used diet pills at least once by the time they were 19 and 20 years of age.
- Individuals with eating disorders associated with vomiting and other purging behaviors are 30 to 50 percent more likely to use diet pills.
- In 2003, over 150 people died due to taking ephedra, a now-banned ingredient in diet pills.
- People with eating disorders are five times more likely to abuse drugs and other substances.
- Weight loss supplements are removed from the market “almost every week” by the FDA.
- Around 62.7 percent of teenage females use “unhealthy weight control behaviors.”
- Close to 24 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder.
Diet Pills Addiction Treatment
Addiction to diet pills is highly prevalent, but those ready to break the addiction cycle can find hope in treatment. Side effects of diet pills addiction are hazardous to those using them, and most of the time, they don’t realize or notice them until it’s too late.
When people experience withdrawal symptoms, they go back to taking it even more to control their symptoms. It’s paramount to speak with an addiction treatment specialist to determine the best way to start seeking help for bath salt addiction. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our eating disorders treatment options include:
- Medical Detox: A medically supervised detox process held at a rehab center or addiction treatment center ensures the patient’s safety and makes the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs: After detox and maybe a partial hospitalization program, patients can choose an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that gives them the flexibility to attend school, work, or care for family members while still attending addiction treatment.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Because addiction to diet pills connects to co-occurring eating disorders, using evidence-based therapies can help people move away from destructive behaviors and addiction patterns.
- Group Therapy: For people struggling with addiction and a co-occurring eating disorder having the support of peers that understand their situation is vital for recovery.
- Long-term Recovery Programs: It’s easy to relapse after treatment; almost sixty percent of people relapse. Long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety, especially when people with alcohol addiction tend to struggle with related problems all their lives.
Get Help Today
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, seek help immediately. Call Lighthouse Recovery Institute today and speak with our addiction center specialists and medical professionals to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs.
Our philosophy revolves around treating each patient on a case-by-case scenario because we know no two addiction stories are alike. Start walking towards your recovery, and we’ll be here supporting you and your family every step of the way. Please don’t wait another day to start addiction treatment–your life depends on it.