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Eating Disorders and Prozac

Oct 30, 2007
Prozac is the most common prescribed medication for eating disorders. There are many opinions about the treatment of eating disorders with Prozac. Some people say that Prozac was useful for them to fight their eating disorders. But many people report it did not make any difference in how they felt and even created more health problems than they had before taking it.

Why is it that some people get benefits from this medication and some do not? And should Prozac really be a first line medication for eating disorders?

First, let's look at the reasons why Prozac as an eating disorder treatment could be effective.

Prozac is an antidepressant. And since up to half of eating disorders sufferers have an additional psychological disorder such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder, Prozac can help a sufferer by treating these disorders. Also, Prozac is designed to restore and maintain healthy levels of a brain chemical called serotonin, which controls mood, feelings and appetite. So, by controlling mood, feelings and appetite Prozac makes a sufferer feel better and more in control.

So what is the other side to the use of this drug? Not all people who have an eating disorder suffer from depression or have other emotional problems. So, if people take Prozac just to restore and maintain their serotonin level in their brain they develop resistance to the drug and need higher and higher dose of Prozac as time goes by. Then if they stop the medication or decrease the dose they simply slip back to their old eating habits straight away and can also suffer debilitating withdrawal symptoms. The question arises: how can we make the use of this medication more effective for more people?

Most conventional health care professionals believe that the most effective approach is an integrated treatment strategy: one that uses a combination of Prozac treatment with active counseling to treat an eating disorder. But any counseling treatment should include active self-help, self-education and family therapy.

The problem is many people although on Prozac, fail to control their eating disorder while on their own after returning from the therapist or the clinic, so slip backwards. People should not think that they can simply walk into a doctor's office and be given a pill and that is the end of it; where suddenly the eating disorder disappears overnight. This is a sure fire remedy for failure.

If you have been prescribed a pill (like Prozac); you should immediately seek out more education and psychological help regarding your disorder. You have to develop good strategies of self-control, self-evaluation and self-presentation. Without mastering all of these strategies you will always slip back to old eating habits despite the help of Prozac.

Self-help and self-education are important as they teach the sufferer to act while on their own at home, as the eating disorder lives with you at home and not in the doctor's office. I suggest you start your self-education and self-help by reading books and participating in educational programs.

In conclusion, it is fair to say that Prozac can be very helpful for some eating disorder sufferers, especially for those who combine it with an active behavioral treatment. But there are many others who will not benefit from it at all: due to individual specifics, wrong consumption or other reasons. So learning more about the disorder and seeking other ways to improve yourself could be the right way to win against your eating disorder.
About the Author
Dr Irina Webster MD is the Director of Women Health Issues Program. She is a recognized authority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books and a public speaker. learn more about eating disorders at http://www.mom-please-help.com
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