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True Insanity -- Psychiatrists Promote Psychiatric Drugs as Weight Loss Tools

May 02, 2009 | 30,837 views

psychiatric drugsDrugs used to treat hyperactive children, such as Ritalin, are being recommended as a means to help solve the obesity crisis.

Dr. Lance Levy of Toronto studied severely obese patients who had failed to lose weight in 10 years. Some were prescribed anti-hyperactivity drugs including Adderall, a type of amphetamine, and a Ritalin-style pill called Concerta. After a year of treatment, those given the drugs had lost an average of 12 percent of their total body weight.

Doctors behind these latest findings claim a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by undiagnosed ADHD prevents severely obese patients from having the willpower to lose weight, and treating the ADHD with drugs can help with weight loss.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Last September new British health guidelines urged physicians to curb the use of Ritalin and other ADHD drugs in children. Could it be that drugmakers are now afraid this trend will spread to other parts of the world … and they’re looking for a new way to market their toxic and dangerous products?

That drugs like Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta would lead to weight loss is no surprise. One of their most well known side effects is loss of appetite and weight loss.

In fact, Adderall was originally marketed as a diet pill during the 1960s -- and using the drug to slim down quickly is a well-known trick among celebrities.

Other studies, too, have tried to paint these potent prescription drugs as weight loss “miracle” pills. In 2007, for instance, researchers found that adults ate 11 percent fewer calories and 17 percent less fat when they took Ritalin before a buffet lunch.

With obesity rates now at record levels in the United States and other developed countries, drug makers stand to make a fortune if their pills could suddenly be marketed as a weight loss tool. But there are some hefty downsides you should know.

What are You Willing to Risk to Lose Weight?

Psychiatric drugs were never meant to be passed around like candy, yet more and more this is what is happening -- often with devastating consequences.

By definition, Ritalin and similar drugs stimulate your central nervous system, leading to side effects such as:

• Increased blood pressure
• Increased heart rate
• Increased body temperature
• Increased alertness
• Suppressed appetite

When taken over a period of years, the drugs may cause even more severe health problems such as cancer. A small University of Texas study conducted in 2005 showed damage to the chromosomes of 12 children who had taken Ritalin for just three months.

The potential of Ritalin to cause cancer has been known for much longer though, as back in 1993 The National Toxicology Program released results that showed feeding mice Ritalin at levels close to those routinely prescribed induced liver tumors, including rare and highly malignant cancers.

Meanwhile, while researchers used to believe that Ritalin was a short-acting drug, studies have shown it has the potential for causing long-lasting changes in brain cell structure and function and may lead to stunted growth.

ADHD drugs other than Ritalin have been linked to hallucinations, heart attack, stroke, increased aggressive behavior, suicide, and even sudden death!  

Further, it’s known that long-term use of Adderall can lead to liver problems, while some may become allergic or addicted to the drug. Serious heart problems, and even death, have also been reported.

So for doctors to claim that ADHD is the reason why some obese people cannot lose weight -- and then recommend psychiatric drugs to solve the problem -- is an extraordinary imprudent choice that in no way, shape, or form addresses the root causes of obesity, or ADHD for that matter.

It’s true that if you take amphetamines like Adderall you might end up slimmer -- but you certainly won’t end up healthier.

How to Address Obesity at Its Source

Obesity carries with it serious health risks of its own, including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and with rates increasing steadily it is a condition that needs to be taken seriously and addressed properly.

Weight gain is obviously influenced by many factors, but the two that everyone keeps coming back to -- diet and exercise -- are still the primary ones in my mind. Combine a healthy diet with exercise -- and be sure you are addressing the emotional component of food, eating and weight gain -- and most people WILL lose weight.

Specifically, this includes:

Even if you are inclined to agree with the doctors who say the effects of ADHD, such as impulsive behavior and lack of willpower, are making it difficult for some obese people to lose weight, a pill is still not a wise choice.

In my medical practice at the Natural Health Center, here’s what I recommend for both kids and adults who suffer from ADHD:

• Increase your intake of omega-3 fat from krill oil. This is the single most important nutrient for ADHD children and adults.
• Drink only water for a beverage, taking care to avoid fruit juices, soda, and pasteurized milk.
• Restrict or eliminate all processed foods, sugars and most grains from your diet.
• Avoid processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, which may aggravate or cause   ADHD symptoms.
Spend more time in nature, especially sunshine on your skin to optimize your vitamin D levels.

As you can see, none of these suggestions include taking a dangerous psychiatric drug. Instead, all of them are tips that can only benefit, not harm, your health -- and can help push your life in a healthy direction whether you’re struggling with obesity or not.

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