These medications can cause irregular heart rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, restlessness, nervousness, irritability, and gastrointestinal irritation and upset. They can also increase the risk of developing an eating disorder and have serious consequences when used in conjunction with an already established eating disorder.
Anorexiant diet pill abuse can lead to a potentially fatal overdose. It can also raise the odds of drug dependence and addiction.
What Are Anorexiant Diet Pills?
Anorexiant diet pills work to suppress appetite by acting on the limbic system and hypothalamus to make you feel full or satiated.
Most of these medications block the reuptake of some of the brain’s chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and serotonin, which are released after you eat a big meal. When these chemicals remain present in your brain for longer, instead of getting reabsorbed, you will keep that feeling of satiety longer.
Common anorexiant diet medications include the following:
These medications are prescribed to treat obesity along with lifestyle changes. Diet pills can also be found over the counter (OTC) in lower doses than what is available in prescription medications.
Are Anorexiant Diet Pills Legal?
While many anorexiant diet pills are FDA-approved to treat obesity in certain populations and for short-term use, they are often classified as Schedule III or Schedule IV medications under the Controlled Substances Act.
This means that these pills are legal when used and prescribed for specific purposes, but they are also commonly diverted, misused, and abused. Therefore, they are commonly tightly regulated and controlled.
In short, most anorexiant diet pills are technically legal, but they have a high rate of abuse. Any misuse of one of these medications is considered illicit drug use.
What Are the Dangers of Taking Diet Pills?
As stimulant medications, diet pills come with a host of potential side effects and risks.
Anorexiant diet pills are similar to amphetamine drugs, which stimulate the central nervous system, speeding up your heart rate, raising blood pressure and body temperature, causing a surge of energy, and preventing sleep. There are both mild to moderate common side effects and more serious side effects associated with diet pills.
One of the most common anorexiant diet pills is phentermine. Common side effects can include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Bad taste in the mouth
More serious side effects can include the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Swelling of the legs and ankles
- Difficulty completing an exercise you were able to do before
Diet pills have a high risk of abuse. They are extremely habit-forming, causing physical and psychological dependence and addiction with regular use.
These medications also come with a risk for fatal overdose. Symptoms of overdose can induce panic, hallucinations, confusion, seizures, rapid breathing, tremors, and overactive reflexes.
Anorexiant diet pills can cause nervousness, irritability, pulmonary hypertension, cardiac valvulopathy, and euphoria. They can make you “high,” which raises the risk for drug dependence and addiction.
They are not safe to take if you have kidney disease, epilepsy, or an irregular heart rate. The dangers of anorexiant diet pills increase if they are mixed with other medications or other diet pills.
Do Diet Pills Cause Anorexia?
Anorexia is a complex mental health disorder that often has multiple overlapping causes. Diet pills are not the single causal factor in the development of anorexia, but they can play a role.
Studies have shown that women who use diet pills as a method of trying to control their weight have a higher risk of developing an eating disorder within three years of beginning use of these substances.
Using diet pills can lead to disordered eating practices, interfere with normal digestion, and cause dependence on coping mechanisms that are ineffective and unhealthy. Diet pills are not meant to help regulate weight in this way.
They are only intended to be used when other weight-loss methods have not worked in those who are at risk for medical issues related to obesity. They are only intended for short-term use and in conjunction with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle changes.
Anorexia is an eating disorder in which a person will fear gaining weight, be obsessed with weight, deprive themselves of food and the necessary calories for healthy functioning, refuse to maintain a healthy weight for their age and height, and have a dysregulated body image, believing themselves to be fat when they are usually underweight.
Diet pills can further compound weight loss and issues related to anorexia and malnutrition.
Where to Seek Help for Diet Pill Abuse
Diet pill abuse can lead to drug dependence and addiction. It requires professional help.
Drug dependence can often lead to significant withdrawal symptoms when the pills wear off. This needs to be medically managed through a detox program.
When anorexia and diet pill abuse and/or addiction co-occur, specialized dual diagnosis treatment is ideal. This comprehensive care can manage the symptoms and complications of each disorder at the same time, ensuring the best chances of a full recovery on all fronts.
Treatment programs for diet pill abuse are often offered through a specialized substance abuse disorder program, which can be either inpatient or outpatient based on individual circumstances and needs. It is important to find a center that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment and ideally one that caters to eating disorders.
Anorexia often needs to be medically managed as well as supported therapeutically. A comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program is needed.