Hydroxycut Abuse

Hydroxycut Abuse and Treatment Options

Someone reading this title about Hydroxycut abuse may be scratching their heads thinking that it must be an old, outdated blog.  Yes, indeed, the original formulation for the weight loss supplement, Hydroxycut, was taken off the shelves in 2009 following reports of serious adverse effects, including liver damage, seizures, cardiovascular problems, and muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis.  But if you assume Hydroxycut is history, think again.

Today’s reformulated version of the supplement, which is available in various forms, such as gummies, powder, salad sprinkles, and capsules, is basically a stimulant.  As such, people still use the product for weight loss purposes….as well as abusing it as a way to stimulate the central nervous system for recreational purposes.  As with any substance that can cause either stimulant or sedative effects, Hydroxycut abuse can become addictive.

The New Formulation of Hydroxycut

Once ephedra was removed from the Hydroxycut line of products, the manufacturer replaced it with a combination of other stimulants.  The new formulation of this weight loss supplement contains caffeine, green tea extract, guarana extract, and Garcinia Cambogia.  This list of ingredients led to the FDA classifying Hydroxycut as a stimulant.  While the removal of the ephedra ingredient may have eliminated the formerly reported adverse health effects, Hydroxycut is still a product that is commonly abused by individuals seeking the stimulant effects, not necessarily the weight loss results.

What Causes Hydroxycut Abuse?

Americans love their caffeinated beverages.  Many adults cannot even face the day without a jolt of java first thing in the morning.  We rely on the effects of caffeine to boost energy, battle fatigue, and improve focus and concentration.  Caffeine, when used judiciously, is probably not a harmful substance.  Again, when used with good judgment and common sense.

Caffeine abuse, however, is a different story.  Hydroxycut is a stimulant that contains caffeine and other herbal stimulants, making the product a target for individuals who are seeking a buzz.  Using this product as an alternative to the prescription stimulants like Adderall in search of heightened energy and stamina can lead to abuse.  Also, those seeking the product for weight loss potential may use dosages in excess of the recommended dose in hopes of a better result.

Signs of Hydroxycut Abuse

When an individual continually abuses a product that has stimulating properties, they may become psychologically addicted to it.  This means that the person believes they can’t get through their days without the substance, therefore its use becomes front and center in their daily lives.  These individuals may become convinced that they simply can’t function at work or at school without taking some form of Hydroxycut (which have varying compositions and stimulant capacities). Obsessing over obtaining the Hydroxycut, finding the money for the product, and anticipating the next dose are common features of Hydroxycut abuse.

There are also physical signs that can point to Hydroxycut abuse.  These signs include:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Jittery
  • Irritable
  • Nausea
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Sweaty palms

It is usually when these uncomfortable side effects begin adding up that the individual realizes they may have a problem with relying on Hydroxycut on a daily basis.  At this point receiving treatment for the psychological addiction is an appropriate intervention.

Dangers of Caffeinated Product Abuse

Overdose is another concern related to Hydroxycut abuse.  Whether intentional or accidental, an excessive dosing of this product can cause serious health risks, so the individual should receive immediate emergency medical attention.  Signs of a Hydroxycut overdose include chest pains, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, and difficulty breathing.

A study out of Northwestern University documented 265 caffeine abuse cases that had been reported to a poison control center during a three year period,  Headed by Danielle McCarthy, M.D., this study was the first step in gaining an understanding that caffeine pills, energy drinks, and diet supplements can be potentially toxic when abused for their euphoric effects.

The average age of the study was 21, all who had taken excess amounts of caffeine for its euphoric effects.  McCarthy states, “Young people taking caffeine either to stay awake or for a feeling of euphoria may actually end up in the emergency department more often than we think.

Treatment for Hydroxycut Abuse

When it becomes evident that Hydroxycut abuse is causing negative psychological and physical effects, the next step is to seek professional treatment.  Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is very effective in helping those who have developed an addiction to this weight loss supplement by changing their thoughts and behaviors.  These maladjusted thought/behavior patterns need to be deconstructed during the course of CBT therapy sessions, and then replaced with new, healthy responses to the disordered thoughts.

Depending on the severity of the Hydroxycut abuse or addiction, individuals can select either an inpatient treatment program, or an outpatient program.  The inpatient program option allows the individual to remove him or herself from the daily stressors or triggers that may have been fueling the addictive behaviors.  Inpatient rehabs will design a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual’s particular situation and needs.  Treatment includes daily psychotherapy sessions—emphasizing group therapy, combined with other rehabilitative activities that lasts for a month or longer.

Outpatient rehab is also an excellent option for someone dealing with an addiction to the diet supplement.  Outpatient treatment allows the individual to remain at home and then attend the various therapy sessions at the facility for a specified number of hours per week.

The Treatment Specialist Locates Treatment for Hydroxycut Abuse and Addiction

The Treatment Specialist is a trusted, free resource for locating addiction treatment programs for you or your loved one.  These addiction and mental health specialists are highly experienced at assessing the primary issue and then guiding individuals toward the most appropriate treatment programs, both inpatient and outpatient rehabs.  Hydroxycut abuse can cause negative health effects that can escalate unless the individual is treated—usually with cognitive behavioral therapy.  The Treatment Specialist can also provide a free insurance benefit review to explain what the individual’s plan covers for treatment.  For more information, please contact our compassionate and knowledgeable specialists at (866) 644-7911.

About the Author

Marissa Katrin Maldonado has been working in the field of addiction and behavioral health since 2006. She has been dedicated to helping individuals and families find treatment for addiction, dual diagnosis, mental health, and eating disorder conditions. Marissa received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University and her Masters Degree in Business Administration with a focus in Management at the University of Redlands, School of Business.

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