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          Addicted to Diet Pills

          October 31, 2002

          After giving Nicole a wake-up call about her dangerous addiction to diet pills, Dr. Phil explains more about why her life is in jeopardy.

          Q: Are diet pills drugs?

          A: If you are addicted to diet pills, you are addicted to drugs. Diet pills are drugs. Some of them are over the counter and that doesn’t mean they’re less potent; that just means they are less controlled. They can be just as dangerous as what you get by prescription. If you have someone that is living between diet pills, just one pill to the next in order to lose weight or keep their weight down, that is a dangerous addiction. The fact that it may come from a doctor or over the counter at the store doesn’t change its physical and psychological threat to your well-being.

          Diet pills do not work. They do not keep you under control long term. And they can be addictive and are very, very dangerous. This young woman that we’ve had on the show is so addicted to the diet pills that her ability to even sit still is compromised. She has a number of health-related problems, but the addiction continues to control.

          Nicole said she needs to take the pills for energy, but it’s obviously taking a toll on her body. What are the health risks and side effects?

          A: When you are abusing diet pills, the danger is typically associated with your cardiac health. It can put you at serious danger for kidney failure, liver toxicity, heart attack and hypertension. These things can be life threatening and it’s hard to unring a bell. Once you have damaged a kidney, once you have damaged your heart, it’s very difficult for the body to repair those organs.

          And if you’ve got someone justifying these because they need them for energy or they need them for their appetite, believe me that is the drug talking. That is not a rational human being talking. That should tell you that their judgment is no longer reliable.

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