Friday Q&A: Ozempic & alcohol; social media & teens; talking to adult children about weight; & erythritol (artificial sweetener) risks
You ask the best questions!
It’s Friday Q&A time!
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Disclaimer: The views expressed here are entirely my own. They do not reflect those of my employer, nor are they a substitute for advice from your personal physician.
The first question today (about Ozempic and alcohol) is for all subscribers. The remaining questions are for paid subscribers.
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Let’s dive in!
Does Ozempic (and similar medications) “cure” addictions/alcohol overuse?
It’s a great question. Some of my patients on Ozempic do report reduced cravings for alcohol—and also for shopping, skin picking, and other impulsive behaviors. It seems that these drugs not only tell the pancreas to produce more insulin, they act on the brain in important places, specifically on the dopamine pleasure center such that people who typically over-indulge in food get less of a dopamine rush in response to eating. They are less interested in food because the reward circuitry in the brain has changed. It makes intuitive sense, then, the impulse to drink alcohol is dampened when less dopamine is released in the presence of Ozempic.
Could Ozempic be another solution for various addictions? It’s too early to tell. The early observational data on Ozempic’s ability to reduce impulsivity and cravings around various habits is promising. But in my opinion, medication alone is unlikely to be a magic bullet, given that addiction is a complex bio-psycho-social phenomenon. (Sarah Zhang has a great new piece about these issues in The Atlantic.)
I am closely following the Ozempic data and will keep you posted!
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What are the harms of social media on teen mental health?
- Jane from Roanoke, VA