One of the largest and most popular healthcare trends over recent months has been the use of Ozempic to treat obesity and aid in weight loss. Ozempic, and similar drugs used for weight loss, are typically prescribed for weight loss in that they induce satiety. The active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide, which belongs to a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. These drugs mimic the GLP-1 hormone that is released in the gastrointestinal tract in response to eating, thus creating satiety. Satiety is the feeling or state of being sated, or in layman’s terms, the feeling of being full or satisfied in relation to hunger. Therefore, drugs like Ozempic make the users feel satisfied, full, or no longer hungry quicker, leading to less eating and intake of calories, and suppression of hunger. Therefore, they are extremely effective at helping people lose weight or manage weight.

Initially, Ozempic was marketed as a medication tool for the treatment and management of Type-2 diabetes, since semaglutide helps the pancreas produce insulin. Over the years, however, it was noticed that Ozempic and these similar drugs that contain semaglutide were also extremely effective as a weight loss approach. However, as the popularity of Ozempic and similar drugs have grown, another interesting phenomenon is being noticed by those using the drugs either for the treatment of Type-2 diabetes or as a drug to help with weight loss: Many people using that drugs have noticed that it is also helping them curb unhealthy addictive behaviors.

Some of these types of unhealthy behaviors that have been seemingly diminished with the use of Ozempic include illicit drug use, drinking alcohol, and smoking. Individuals have been reporting, and doctors who have spoken to patients have also reported, that people are making serious claims regarding the positive benefit of Ozempic and the drug’s impact on these types of addictive behaviors. Many reports patients indicating that they are drinking fewer alcoholic beverages since being on the drug, that they have finally been able to quit smoking cigarettes or vaping while on the drug, and that Ozempic and other similar medications have helped them reduce their usage or cravings for illicit substances. It seems that these reports are not a direct correlation of taking Ozempic and then stopping addictive behaviors like drinking, drug use, or smoking, but rather that patients report once they start taking the medication they seem to begin to lose the desire to smoke, drink, or use drugs, or that over time they begin to lose interest and the obsessive and compulsive thoughts that drove them to want to drink, smoke, or use drugs just begin to dissipate.

One of the reasons Ozempic and other similar medications may be having this impact is that drugs like Semaglutide have an effect not just on the stomach but also on the brain. As drinking and drug use impact the reward system in the user’s brain, the drinking and drug use ultimately increase. However, when on drugs that contain semaglutide, those medications also may influence the neurotransmitters in the brain, creating dopamine, meaning that the individual may no longer automatically look for drugs and alcohol to stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain. Currently, there are pharmaceutical companies beginning to study the impact that drugs like Ozempic have on addictive behaviors, to see if there may be a place for them in the actual treatment of addiction and other types of addictive behaviors.

What cannot be dismissed is the anecdotal evidence presented by individuals on drugs like Ozempic and the positive effect they have had on the reduction of addictive behaviors. Some of the potential benefits of Ozempic and similar drugs in addressing addiction and addictive behaviors may include:

  • Reduction in Cravings

By modulating the reward system in an individual’s brain, Ozempic and similar drugs may help reduce the intensity and frequency of cravings experienced by individuals who struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders. By lowering the reinforcing effects of addictive substances, this may help individuals enhance their ability to resist triggers for use and promote abstinence.

  • Improvement in Impulse Control

Addictive behaviors are often characterized by impulsive decision-making. Drugs like Ozempic have shown potential in improving impulse control by modulating brain regions involved in the decision-making process. By enhancing self-regulation, individuals may be able to create a better ability to resist the urge to use drugs and alcohol or engage in other addictive behaviors.

  • Enhanced Mental Well-Being

Addiction often coexists with mental health disorders or drug and alcohol use or misuse may be a symptom of an individual trying to treat their own mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD. There is research that suggests drugs like Ozempic may have a positive impact on mood regulation and cognitive functioning, potentially alleviating many symptoms associated with comorbid mental health conditions.

  • Regulation in Eating Behaviors.

Obviously, Ozempic and similar drugs help with weight loss and eating behaviors. Individuals are less likely to engage in overeating or stress eating when they feel satisfied or full. Ozempic aids these behaviors by reducing appetite and promoting satiety. This effect of the drug can be particularly useful in addressing things like food addiction and compulsive overeating, which are significant contributors to obesity and other associated health issues and health risks.

While it may be too early to know whether drugs like Ozempic can help treat addiction, it is impossible to ignore the anecdotal evidenced being offered by patients currently on the drug and the impact it has had on their addictive behaviors. More study is needed, and clinical trials need to be run, but there is little doubt that Ozempic and similar drugs initially used to treat diabetes, and that are now helping Americans deal with obesity and weight loss, is showing tremendous promise in potentially helping millions of Americans also impacted by addiction, substance use disorder, alcoholism, and co-occurring mental health disorders. The potential of Ozempic and other medications that include Semaglutide in helping those impacted by addiction offers a promising avenue of research, and potentially a unique tool in the toolkit of the multifaceted approach of treating substance use disorders. Just like anything else, there is no one approach to treating addiction, and medication alone has never been a panacea for helping someone overcome addiction to find a life of recovery. Comprehensive treatment and recovery support, through multiple pathways individualized to the need of the person, will always be the way to approach the multifaceted issue of addiction, but every avenue and tool that may help should be explored. Ozempic and similar drugs show promise, and therefore offer some hope that another tool to help in the fight against addiction have been discovered, hopefully helping more people find recovery.

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual-diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (866) 929-4318 or email our team at For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our website at

Ozempic in packaging on a table - "Can Ozempic Help Treat Addiction" concept imag

Table of Contents