Diet Pills Symptoms and Warning Signs

With increased social pressure to look a certain way, any pill that promises to help you lose weight might be something that you are interested in. While many people take the old-fashioned, sensible approach to weight loss where they eat less and exercise more, others want a quick fix and believe that diet pills are a magic cure for their weight issues.

Diet pills are available both on prescription or over-the-counter. Some pills are prescribed by doctors for those who are obese and who need to lose weight for their health; others are bought by those just looking to shift weight or get thin.

While some diet pills are pretty much harmless, others can be extremely dangerous, especially when abused. Diet pills are designed to work in different ways; some will prevent the body from absorbing fat, others suppress appetite, and still, others increase metabolism.

What most people who take diet pills do not realise though is that they do have the potential to be addictive. Many diet pills have properties similar to the stimulant drug amphetamine and as such can cause a surge of euphoria when taken. They can also stimulate the brain’s reward centre, making you desire them again and again.

Types of Diet Pills

  • Benzphetamine
  • Diethylpropion
  • Orlistat
  • Phentermine
  • Sibutramine
  • Lorcaserin
  • Rimonabant
  • Metformin

Recognising the Common Warning Signs of Diet Pill Addiction

If you have been taking diet pills to help you lose weight or burn fat, you need to be alert to the signs of abuse. Some pills have the potential to become addictive, and this risk is higher when they are abused.

What you need to look out for is an increased need to use the pills. If you have progressed to using diet pills because of how they make you feel, you might become preoccupied with them. Your life may start to revolve around your medication and when your next dose is.

Another sign of abuse is if you are taking diet pills in a different way to which they were intended. You could be taking more pills than the recommended dosage to increase the effects, or you could be taking them at increasingly frequent intervals as the effects wear off. Diet pill abuse often causes an overwhelming need to use the drugs, so you might start to feel panicky or anxious if your prescription is running low.

If you believe you are not getting the desired results from your diet pills, you might be tempted to take them with other substances such as alcohol or drugs. Alternatively, you might start taking more than one type of diet pill to maximise your results. This is all classed as abuse

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The Dangers of Diet Pill Abuse

Diet pills can cause many health problems if abused, many of which can be severe or even life-threatening. As many of these pills have the same properties as stimulant drugs such as amphetamine, they can cause an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and agitation.

Some types of these pills can cause insomnia and, if they are abused and taken in high doses, can lead to more serious issues such as liver damage and kidney disease.

If you are taking more diet pills than the recommended dose, you could also be at risk of overdose. This can leave you suffering a shortness of breath, chest pain, and an elevated risk of stroke or cardiac failure.

In addition to the impact that diet pills can have on physical health, there is also a potential effect on mental health. Some studies have suggested that abusing certain diet pills can lead brain serotonin nerve terminals being lost permanently. It is believed that this leads to mental health problems such as anxiety disorder and depression.

Diet pill abuse can also have a detrimental impact on your quality of life. If you are becoming increasingly concerned with your use of this medication, you will probably not have much time for anything or anyone else in your life. This will get worse if your use of diet pills progresses from abuse to addiction.

Recognising a Diet Pill Addiction

Certain diet pills have a high potential for abuse, and because they can potentially produce feelings of euphoria and can stimulate the reward centre in the brain, repeated use can become a problem. It is important to know the signs of addiction as there is a fine line between problem use and a full-blown addiction.

While abuse of diet pills is indicated by the way you use them, addiction is signalled by how little control you have over your use. For example, if you are experiencing strong desires to use diet pills and if you use them despite being aware that doing so will cause problems, you probably have an addiction.

You need to know though that addiction to diet pills will have a negative impact on many areas of your life. It will come between you and those you love. It will cause you to lose interest in activities that you once found pleasure in. Furthermore, it will affect your ability to take care of yourself as well as those you might be responsible for.

Another indication that diet pill abuse has become more serious is the presence of withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them or try to cut back. If you are struggling with symptoms that are making you feel unwell whenever the effects of your diet pills wear off, it is likely that you have an addiction.

Diet Pill Addiction and the Brain

Diet pills typically work by tricking the brain into thinking that you are not hungry. It does this by affecting the chemicals in the brain that are responsible for appetite. Nonetheless, some diet pills can also stimulate the brain’s pleasure centres and cause a release of dopamine chemicals which then activate the reward centre. This can make you feel an overwhelming desire to recreate these feelings of pleasure. Repeated use though can then cause a physical dependence and a subsequent addiction that can cause immense harm and is difficult to break free from.

Learn the Immediate Side Effects of Diet Pill Abuse

The immediate side effects of diet pill abuse will depend on the type of pill being abused, but below are some examples of what you might experience:

  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • Oily stools
  • Flatulence
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Closed-angle glaucoma
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Palpitations
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Swelling of legs and ankles

Learn the Long-Term Diet Pill Abuse Side Effects

Long-term abuse of diet pills can potentially result in:

  • pulmonary hypertension
  • kidney disease
  • liver damage
  • heart damage
  • increased risk of heart attack
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Intervention for a Diet Pill Addiction

A diet pill addiction can potentially have fatal consequences if left untreated. If you believe that someone you love has been abusing diet pills, it is important to tackle the issue as soon as possible. Most addictions require professional treatment, so without treatment, your loved one’s situation may deteriorate to a point where he or she completely loses control over the use of these pills.

Talk to the person about your observations and mention that you are worried about his or her wellbeing. You might find that he or she is not ready to listen to what you have to say, but that should not mean you do nothing. Raising the issue now will give the affected individual something to consider and might encourage him or her to come to terms with the issue sooner rather than later.

Detox and Withdrawal from Diet Pills

If you have an addiction to diet pills, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them. These symptoms can include agitation, muscle pain, and depression. It is unlikely that any of the symptoms will be severe though, so you could probably detox at home under supervision. However, you could detox in a dedicated facility where the risk of any potential complications can be effectively managed and where your safety and comfort will be assured.

Treatment and Next Steps

As with all addictions, diet pill addiction is a serious illness that requires treatment. The issues that caused you to develop the addiction in the first place must be addressed if you are to move on. These may be issues that have been buried deep for a long time but not dealing with them right now might precipitate a return of your addictive behaviour later.

You should know though that rehab programmes are available for all types of addiction, include diet pill addiction. You will have a choice between a residential facility, where you will stay for the duration of your programme, or an outpatient programme, where you attend regular treatment sessions but return home after each session.

Questions about Treatment

How long is a detox programme?

Detox programmes usually last around seven to ten days but this depends on the type of substance you were abusing, how long you were addicted to and your own individual body chemistry.

How bad do I have to be to need rehab?

Many people believe that they have to be in danger of losing everything they hold dear before they can access a treatment programme for addiction, but this is not the case. In fact, the earlier you get treatment, the better your chances at long-term success.

That does not mean that you cannot benefit from treatment if you have a severe addiction. But if you know you have a problem, there is no sense in waiting for things to get worse before you reach out for help.

Can my family get help too?

Addiction is an illness that can have a deep and lasting impact on the entire family unit. It is often referred to as a family illness because of the way in which it affects all family members. It is therefore important that your loved ones can access help to overcome the issues that are affecting them.

Family therapy is an important part of most rehab programmes and allows for many issues to be discussed. Your family members will get the opportunity to talk about how your addiction has impacted their lives while there may also be group sessions where you all come together to deal with any underlying issues that may have led to your illness developing in the first place.

What are holistic treatments?

Your treatment programme will consist of traditional talking and behavioural therapies that are designed to get to the heart of your problems. Nevertheless, these days treatment is all about healing the whole person – mind, body, and spirit.

As such, holistic treatments are now forming a large part of most patients’ treatment programmes. These therapies are designed to be used alongside traditional therapies to heal the whole person and to improve overall wellbeing and reduce stress levels.

Examples of holistic treatments include yoga, massage, meditation, art therapy, and music therapy.

What happens when rehab is finished?

A comprehensive recovery programme incorporates detox and rehabilitation, but another important part of the recovery process that is often neglected is aftercare. When you leave rehab, you will probably be returning home to try to get back to normal everyday life. This is a time where you will still be quite shaky in your recovery and will be more vulnerable to a relapse than at any other time.

Aftercare support is usually provided for up to a year as part of your rehab programme. Your counsellors and therapists will have prepared you for the transition home and will offer support as you make the move. They will also be on hand to offer regular counselling if needed, or phone support as required.

You can also access help and support from your local community. Fellowship support groups are available in most communities and allow groups of recovering addicts to meet regularly to help inspire and motivate each other to continue maintaining their ongoing sobriety.

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