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Combating Addiction and Weight Loss with One Little Pill

By: Carol Morriscey

Woman holding pill used to reduce hunger and cravings for food, comprised of drugs commonly used for addiction treatment.  Overweight and in Drug Rehab

North America currently faces several public health problems of epidemic proportions: obesity and addiction. With an increase in prevalence of sedentary lifestyles, and high fat, high calorie foods, North Americans are more likely to be overweight or obese than ever before. Men and women alike seek support and tools in their journey to lose weight.

Interestingly, the obesity problems faced by men and women in North America are even more evident in drug rehabs. Drugs of abuse are often associated with weight gain, either during the active stages of addiction or following addiction treatment. For example, opioid use is associated with an increase in cravings for sugar, and thus increased sugar consumption. Depressants such as alcohol often lead to increased food consumption. Similarly, marijuana also leads to increased food consumption, colloquially termed “the munchies”. In contrast, stimulants such as cocaine lead to an acute reduction in eating during the active phase of addiction, but compensation and thus an increase in consumption following addiction treatment. Therefore, those in drug rehab are keenly aware of the struggles with weight loss which they face.

Being overweight or obese is closely intertwined with addiction, and thus must be carefully considered and addressed in drug rehabs. Searidge Drug Rehab has a nutritionist dedicated to creating personalized diets and meal plans for each patient. Further, patients are given the opportunity to engage in a variety of organized and individual physical activities, including swimming, yoga and team sports. As such, patients at Searidge Drug Rehab are given the tools required to achieve their weight loss goals, while simultaneously achieving their goal of sobriety. However, a new combination of drugs previously used in drug rehabs has been shown to be an effective aid in weight loss!

The Historic use Naltrexone and Bupropion in Drug Rehab

Naltrexone in an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of opioids in the body, traditionally used in the treatment of opioid and alcohol addiction. It blocks the euphoric effects of the opioids, leading to a reduction in craving for the drug, thus reducing the likelihood of relapse. Naltrexone is used alongside personalized counseling and therapy, in order to provide the help required to achieve a sustained recovery.

Bupropion is also commonly used in drug rehabs, to treat men and women trying to combat a cigarette addiction, which commonly accompanies other addictions. Bupropion works by reducing cigarette cravings in order to reduce their use. Further, it is also effective in treating depression, a common comorbidity with addiction.

A New Formula for Old Drug Addiction Treatments May Be The New Solution for Weight Loss

Despite extensive use of both Naltrexone and Bupropion in isolation, new formulations and uses continue to arise. A new pill which combines the two drugs has been shown to be an effective aid for weight loss. This new formulation, called Contrave, acts on the parts of the brain responsible for “hunger” signals, as well as the reward pathway, implicated in both obsesity and addiction. Contrave acts on these parts of the brain in order to reduce the hunger signals being sent to the body, as well as to reduce the rewarding aspects of eating. Thus, both hunger and cravings are reduced, resulting in greater success in weight loss attempts for both men and women.

The Benefits for Drug Rehab Patients Struggling with Weight Loss

Maintaining a healthy body weight, both through weight loss and weight gain, is a common concern for men and women going through addiction treatment. Although naltrexone and bupropion are not yet individually approved for weight loss and Contrave has not yet been shown to help in addiction treatment, the new use of drugs prominent in the fight against addiction to treat a problem faced by many with addiction is an exciting development. With further research, this new weight loss treatment may be used to treat a wide array of ailments experienced by those suffering from addiction. At Searidge Drug Rehab we strive to provide our patients with cutting-edge, evidence-based treatments, in order to ensure a holistic and sustained recovery from addiction. Contrave presents an exciting new opportunity to provide our patients with the tools required to have a successful recovery, and we will closely watch the developments!

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