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Diet Pills

Diet Pill Detox

Prescription and over-the-counter diet pills may seem harmless, but they have a high risk for abuse and addiction. Medically-assisted detox is the first step in recovering from a diet pill addiction.

What Is Diet Pill Detox?

Diet pills are a number of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can help individuals lose weight when they’re used in combination with diet and exercise plans. The pills work by either increasing metabolism, reducing appetite, or changing the rate at which the body burns calories. Several prescription diet pills are designated as Schedule III or IV controlled substances due to the high potential for abuse. Many of these diet pills contain Amphetamines, which are stimulant-type drugs that increase energy along with blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. Diet pills are typically approved only for short-term weight management as long-term and chronic use increases the risk of dependency and addiction.

When an individual becomes addicted to diet pills, detox is the first step of recovery in which the drug is safely removed from the body. Detox can be performed as part of either an inpatient or outpatient program, but a medical professional should always be near to closely monitor a stimulant detox. Medically-supervised detox can ensure a safer and more successful treatment plan, as doctors are able to observe vital signs around the clock and prescribe medications to keep patients comfortable and stable during withdrawal. The goal of diet pill detox is to minimize impacts of withdrawal and reduce rates of relapse so that a user may proceed to the next stage of addiction treatment.

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The Process of Diet Pill Detox

Diet pill detox typically includes the prescription of a replacement drug for the patient or an ever-decreasing dose of the diet pill an individual is addicted to. Tapering off and replacement medications will prevent withdrawal symptoms from becoming too severe or dangerous. Detox should always be performed under the supervision of a medical professional. A person suffering from a diet pill addiction should never attempt to quit “cold turkey,” or abruptly stop taking the drug by themselves after prolonged use, as the symptoms of withdrawal may be severe. Medically-supervised detox is the safest way to detox as it allows the recovering user to withdraw from the diet pill in a secure environment under the watchful eye of trained medical professionals. Doctors will commonly prescribe Benzodiazepines and other sedatives for withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia, as well as include any holistic and therapeutic approaches that they believe will help a patient recover.

Withdrawal and Diet Pill Detox

When a person is dependent on stimulant drugs such as diet pills, the sudden removal of it can have distressing mental and physical consequences as the body works to recover. This phase is known as withdrawal. The amount of time an individual took the medication, as well as the dose and exact formulation of the drug, effects the severity and timeline of withdrawal that a person will experience.

Common diet pill withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Low mood
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Lowered energy levels

Diet pill withdrawal symptoms will usually start as soon as 6 hours after the last dose and generally peak within 36 hours. Symptoms will begin to dissipate within the first five to seven days after cessation, and then gradually taper off; however, depression and drug cravings can persist for months after.

Diet Pill Withdrawal Timeline
Days 1-3 During the first 24 to 72 hours after the last use, former users will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, anxiety and a general feeling of unhappiness. Some may also start to crave the drug and have trouble sleeping. Heavy users may even experience paranoia and panic during this time.
Days 4-10 Symptoms of diet pill withdrawal typically peak within five days and last a week. Towards the end of the first week, most symptoms will have begun to subside but drug cravings can become more intense. Extreme fatigue and depression may also still be present.
Days 11-17 While most symptoms of withdrawal have started to diminish, depression and insomnia may continue. Insomnia can even lead to hypersomnia or excessive sleeping. Some recovering users may also begin to experience mood swings during this time period.
Days 18+ Any remaining symptoms should be mild and will continue to fade over time. For some, the psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety may persist for up to several weeks or months before they subside.

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Diet Pill Detox And Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Many people that develop a diet pill addiction also suffer from a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as anorexia nervosa or body dysmorphic disorder. Abuse of over-the-counter diet pills often play a big role in eating disorders, as individuals will take far more than recommended in order to compensate for calories that have already been consumed. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are both characterized by purging and ridding the body of calories through self-induced vomiting, diuretics, laxatives, excessive exercise, and diet pills.

Individuals with eating disorders are already at risk for severe life-threatening health complications and the abuse of diet pills can exacerbate these consequences, as well as increase risk of side effects, tolerance, and withdrawal associated with abuse. Diet pills are known to result in nutritional deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances which can cause severe headaches and fatigue when abruptly stopped. In addition to the physical symptoms of withdrawal, the underlying mental health conditions that individuals were using diet pills for often resurface and are exacerbated during detox; therefore, it is imperative that the recovering user have access to trained medical staff during the detox process.

What Are My Options For Diet Pill Detox?

Medically-supervised detox is the safest way to begin to recover from a diet pill addiction. Medical support is essential in reducing chance of relapse as it can help mitigate withdrawal side effects. For example, doctors can administer antidepressant drugs to help manage negative psychological withdrawal effects like depression and drug cravings. If you are struggling with a diet pill addiction, there are multiple treatment plans available to you. Don’t wait; reach out to a dedicated treatment provider and get help today.

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Last Updated:


Jena Hilliard

Sources Cited

Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional

Clinical Reviewer

David Hampton