Diet Pills Addiction and Abuse

Modified: 22nd Jul 2019

In the United States, dietary supplements send 23,000 people to the ER each year on average. Get help for diet pill addiction before it ruins your life.

Diet pill abuse jeopardizes your physical and mental health. A lot of diet pills aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Still, there are prescription diet pills that also have potential for abuse. 

You, too, can live a life free of diet pills. You could also save someone’s life by encouraging them to get treatment.

Here’s what you need to know about abusing diet pills:

Diet Pill Addiction Statistics

Diet pill addiction is very real, and the numbers show it. Here are some diet pill addiction statistics you should know.

General Stats On The Addiction To Diet Pills

In the United States, around 15% of adults have used diet pills. About 21% of women and 10% of men report trying diet pills at least once.

Americans spend $2.1 billion on weight loss pills each year. Many diet pills are recalled for having harmful effects, but that doesn’t stop manufacturers from creating new products. For example, Hydroxycut was recalled due to causing liver injuries, but was then reformulated and restocked.

Diet pills can contain as many as 90 ingredients. Not all of the effects and interactions of each ingredient are known to the medical community.

Some diet pills work by boosting your metabolism and thermogenesis. Others change the way your body digests fat. For instance, an FDA-approved diet pill called Orlistat or Alli blocks 25% of fat absorption.

Unfortunately, this has disastrous effects on your gastrointestinal health.

Diet pill addiction is more prevalent in countries that value thinness as a beauty standard.

Taking stimulant diet pills increases your risk of having a psychotic break.

Demographics

People with eating disorders are more likely to take diet pills than people without eating disorders. Out of all people with eating disorders, 50% use diet pills.

Those with restrictive eating disorders like anorexia were less likely to use diet pills than people with other kinds of eating disorders. Abuse of diet pills is especially prevalent in people diagnosed with bulimia or binge eating disorder.

Women are more likely to take diet pills than men. In the United States, 1 in 5 women try weight loss supplements. Teenage girls are at a higher risk for abusing diet pills.

People with a higher BMI are more prone to abusing diet pills. However, it’s important to note that anyone of any size can get addicted to diet pills.

Doctors prescribe diet pills to people with a BMI over 30. They might also prescribe diet pills to people with a BMI over 27 who also suffer from significant weight-related health issues such as diabetes or hypertension.

Signs of Diet Pill Abuse

Diet pill abuse is always a problem, especially when it interferes with work, relationships, and other important aspects of life.

Having body image issues and dissatisfaction with your weight are the 2 biggest predictors of diet pill addiction.

Diet pills can trigger adverse mental health effects. For instance, certain diet pills can increase euphoria and mood instability. If you’re bipolar, taking diet pills can cause a manic episode.

Diet pill abuse can also trigger irritability and dissociation.

If you abuse diet pills, you’re prone to experiencing dilated pupils, jitters, and tremors. If your hands are often shaking, it’s a sign your nervous system is being overwhelmed.

Diet pills will also keep you up at night. Stimulant diet pills especially interrupt your sleep. If you can’t sleep at night, the diet pills are likely to blame.

Am I Addicted?

If you’re questioning whether or not you’re addicted to diet pills, consider the frequency at which you take the pills. If you have prescription diet pills, you should only be taking them as directed by your doctor.

Even with a prescription, taking more than the recommended dosage is diet pill abuse. 

People who are addicted to diet pills frequently take multiple diet pill products at once. If you’re doing this, get professional help for quitting. You could seriously damage your liver.

People who take diet pills also tend to abuse meth, Adderall, cocaine, and other stimulants.

Taking diet pills to experience a diet pill high is also substance abuse. The same goes for taking diet pills to stay up late and party harder or study.

A person who abuses diet pills is more likely to take frequent trips to the bathroom. Many diet pills such as Orlistat or Alli can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or loose stool. Other diet pills also have diuretic or laxative properties.

If you’re hiding your diet pill abuse from other people, there’s a reason for it. People with addictions are often secretive about their drug abuse.

Many diet pill addicts want to stop using diet pills, but can’t quit. If you’ve had multiple unsuccessful attempts at quitting diet pills, it’s time to get health specialists involved to overcome your addiction.

Dangers of Diet Pill Abuse

Diet pills do a number on your health. If you abuse diet pills, you’re more likely to experience heart palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, depression, mood swings, hallucinations, irritability, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, constipation, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and more.

Abusing diet pills can result in harsh or fatal health events. Diet pills are connected to strokes, heart attacks, renal failure, congestive heart failure, convulsions, seizures, liver damage, and more.

Diet pills can cause you to faint/pass out. This is dangerous if you are driving or walking on a hard surface. Falling puts you at increased risk for injury.

The longer you abuse diet pills, the more likely you are to develop a severe substance abuse disorder. You’re also at risk for developing insomnia.

If you’re quitting diet pills, it’s best to do so in a controlled rehab or recovery environment. The withdrawal symptoms of diet pills include irritability, weight gain, fatigue, and having urges to start using diet pills again. A clinical environment is well equipped at managing these symptoms.

Ditch the Diet Pills

Drug overdoses now exceed 70,000 deaths annually in the United States. If you don’t get help for diet pill addiction, it can take your life.

Opioids are responsible for the majority of drug overdose deaths. However, diet pills can still kill you. Just because a lot of diet pills are available over the counter doesn’t mean they’re safe.

Make a healthy decision and learn more about addiction treatment today. It could be one of the greatest things you ever do in your life.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.