Does Medication Help Food Addiction?

Read Transcript

Hi, this is Dr. Judi Hollis, and thanks for the asking the question does medication help with food addiction? First of all, I do not like the phrase food addiction. I would call it a food obsession and emotional eating. But, that's explained in another question. Medication has been shown to help in a number of different cases.But I want to give you some of my bias in that area.

I have been treating addiction for almost 40 years now. And I find that most of us who are addicts have learned that the American creedo[sp?] is something by mouth will fix it. And so treating addiction with a medication in my book is not quite the right idea. Now, I've been around a long time, and I have seen where insurance companies dictated the kind of drugs that we were supposed to give to patients.

In fact now, I understand it's even worse. One of the reasons that I closed my treatment centers was because of this very issue, this and the confidentiality issue. But again, that's for another question. Now, insurance companies actually require that treatment centers give people drugs, because why? Because they will get out of the hospital sooner.

Now, my feeling always was, if we have a person in the hospital, and I would tell them, hey this place has rubber walls, this is the place to bounce. Why not get raw here and see who really shows up. So, what I saw in the early 80's when Prozac started becoming the drug of choice for treating any addictions, and especially with eating disorders, it almost seemed like people were saying, Hey! eating disorders are a Prozac deficiency.

All you need is to get more serotonin uptake of receptors, etc, etc. and I won't go into all the chemical basis for this. But, yes it did elevate mood in a certain extend. It took a while to start acting which was hard for patients addicts. But also, it had side effects which other have side effects.

Always ask your physician what are the side effects. And one of the side effects was a decrease in sexuality performance and interest, and that propped a lot of what I wrote in my book Hot and Heavy, about denying a life force, and this person had become engaged in the Prozac capsule.

And in fact, there were people who commuted suicide on Prozac, wondering famous one was Abby Hofman[sp?], the 60's rebel rouser[sp?] guy. He committed suicide on Prozac, and my take on than that at that time was that I think the soulful person within knows that they're encapsulated in the drug, and they're screaming to get out.

And sometimes in trying to kill the capsule they kill themselves as well. That's a simplistic answer for you. It's important that you consult your physician about the use of these drugs. But also, ask your physician what kind of training he or she has in addiction. And please, always, always, always ask about the side effects.