woman struggling with diet pill addiction

Diet pills are prescription medications for individuals seeking to lose or manage weight more efficiently. While most of these weight loss medications are FDA-approved, they still hold the potential for severe health risks, including abuse and addiction.

What Are Weight Loss Pills?

Weight loss drugs, also known as diet pills, are over-the-counter prescriptions that help people lose and manage their weight. Diet pills are either prescribed by a healthcare professional or purchased over-the-counter (OTC) and are designed to be used jointly with regular exercise and a balanced diet. Weight loss pills suppress appetite, reducing the desire to eat or making someone feel less hungry. These medications help manage weight and eating habits by reducing and controlling their appetite. Different diet pills often include absorption blockers, fat burners, appetite suppressants, lipase inhibitors, and metabolism boosters, all of which help users manage and lose weight.

Different types of weight loss pills include liraglutide (Saxenda), semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic), which are GLP-1 receptor agonists, and tirzepatide (Zepbound, Mounjaro), which is a GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist. These diet pills can cause stomach issues like diarrhea, vomiting, heartburn, and constipation. Weight loss medications that are also stimulants, like phentermine (Adipex-P), can cause high blood pressure, fast heart rate, insomnia, restlessness, and drug tolerance and abuse. Orlistat (Xenical, Alli) is an anti-obesity pill that disrupts fat absorption, leading to spotting, gas, and soft stool. Diet medications like bupropion and naltrexone (Contrave) that affect the neurotransmitters in the brain can provoke headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, and constipation.

woman taking weight loss pills

Side Effects of Diet Pills

While many side effects of diet pills are correlated with the specific type of medication being used, some of the most common side effects and symptoms associated with weight loss drugs include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

More severe side effects of weight loss medications can include:

  • Dependence and addiction
  • Raised heart rate
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney problems
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Suicidal thoughts

The side effects of weight loss medications depend on various factors, including the individual’s health history, the amount and type of pill used, and the duration of use. Users can become dependent on weight loss pills by choosing to eat and live however they want while relying on diet pills to manage their weight. This dependency can quickly develop into an addiction where users feel like they can’t function without their weight loss meds. Diet pill abuse and addiction can result in physical and mental health risks, financial issues, and regulatory risks.

man struggling with the side effects of diet pill addiction

The Hidden Risks of Diet Pill Abuse and Addiction

While most weight loss medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this does not mean they cannot be addictive. People on diet pills often start with a specific goal for their weight loss journey and figure they will stop once they hit their goal. Throughout the process, some people become obsessed with the results and want to lose more weight or want to be able to eat without any consequences. They become dependent on these weight loss pills for managing and maintaining their weight, which can become extremely unhealthy and dangerous. Drug dependencies often result in an addiction, making it even more difficult for users to stop using.

The Health Risks of Weight Loss Pill Addiction

There are many hidden dangers associated with diet and weight loss pills, especially concerning one’s physical and mental health. Becoming addicted to diet pills can increase heart rate, raise blood pressure, and cause restlessness and insomnia. Some of the more severe health risks of diet pills include stroke, liver damage, and gastrointestinal issues.

Using weight loss drugs can also cause feelings of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and the development of eating disorders. The results of diet pills can be addicting, and often, users become self-conscious about their body image, increasing mental health and diet issues. Different types of weight loss drugs contain ingredients that can be habit-forming, leading users to develop a physical and psychological dependence on diet pills.

Regulatory Risks

Many diet pills are still not regulated by the FDA, which means they are not safe to use or not for weight loss. Ozempic (semaglutide) is an injection for lowering blood sugar but has also been effective for weight loss. While Ozempic is an FDA-approved semaglutide product for managing blood sugar levels, it is not approved for weight loss purposes. People are misusing diet pills without medical supervision, which is leading to dangerous side effects and health risks, including drug abuse and addiction.

woman on diet pills weighing herself, experiencing mental health and body image issues with diet pills

Social and Emotional Consequences of Diet Pills

If someone is struggling with body image and self-esteem while also facing a diet pill addiction, they might isolate themselves from family and friends. This is often due to shame, insecurities, or to hide their addiction to weight loss drugs, exacerbating mental health conditions. Social isolation and insecurities can cause someone to feel depressed and have suicidal thoughts. This toxic cycle can cause emotional distress, such as guilt, failure, and low self-esteem, especially if someone does not see the weight loss results they want.

Financial Costs

The costs of weight loss pills can become a financial burden, especially when purchasing them without good insurance coverage. The obsession with diet pills can place a financial burden on the individual and loved ones, exacerbating relationship problems, stress, and anxiety. Mental health issues can facilitate the use of pills and addiction itself, worsening both conditions.

Addressing Diet Pill Addiction in Drug Rehab

While diet pill addiction is not as common as alcoholism, marijuana, heroin, or opioid addiction, it is still a matter that should receive proper care and treatment. If you’re struggling with an addiction to weight loss pills, seeking professional help at a drug rehab center can provide you with the necessary programs and tools to treat your addiction.

Rock Recovery is here to help those struggling with diet pill addiction, ensuring each patient receives the highest level of care. Holistic treatment in drug rehab treats the psychological, spiritual, and physical health of patients. This treatment approach addresses all underlying issues contributing to the addiction, ensuring complete healing. Reach out to one of our addiction specialists and connect today!


  • Drugs.com, 2023. Side Effects of Weight Loss Drugs.
  • WebMD, 2023. Prescription Weight Loss Drugs.
  • Verywell Health, 2024. 8 FDA-Approved Drugs for Weight Management.
  • National Library of Medicine, 2018. Association of changes in mental health with weight loss during intensive lifestyle intervention: does the timing matter?
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2024. Medications Containing Semaglutide Marketed for Type 2 Diabetes or Weight Loss.