Searching for Solutions for Substance Use Disorders

Substance use disorders are a factor in the lives of more than one-third of Americans. Whether you have dealt with addiction personally or a loved one has battled it, you know just how much addiction can take from you. As America has ridden the roller coaster of the opioid addiction crisis in recent years, it seems like there’s more demand than ever for new and better solutions to the problem. The idea of using Ozempic for addiction was born, in part, from this demand. 

While science has yet to discover a flawless “magic” solution for substance use disorders, we have seen real progress made in recent years. As far as opioid addiction goes, both longer-term treatment programs and better availability of outpatient services have helped thousands of people maintain their recovery. Medication Assisted Treatment is another aspect of addiction care that’s grabbing headlines these days.

Ozempic for Addiction as Medication Assisted Treatment?

Using medications to help with substance use disorders isn’t a new idea, but the idea of using Ozempic for addiction certainly is. When most people think of Medication Assisted Treatment, medicines like buprenorphine (Suboxone) and disulfiram (Antabuse) usually come to mind. Prescribing Ozempic for addiction isn’t really a common practice at all at this point and the medication was initially developed for something quite different. 

Ozempic, scientifically known as Semaglutide, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog primarily used for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. It works by mimicking the function of the GLP-1 hormone, which is released into the bloodstream after eating and helps regulate blood sugar levels and appetite. In the simplest terms possible, Ozempic “tricks” you into feeling full sooner and it also helps better regulate your blood sugar, which is especially useful if you have diabetes. 

Using Ozempic for Addiction Treatment

The potential role of Ozempic for addiction treatment is still largely under investigation. We’re definitely in the early days of discovering how helpful this medication could be to people struggling with substance use disorders if it helps at all. However, it’s been suggested that the drug’s ability to regulate reward pathways in the brain, similar to those activated by drug and alcohol use, could make it useful in treating addiction.

Strange as that may seem, it does make a certain sort of sense when you consider the relationship that people with eating disorders have with food. Especially eating disorders that lead to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. There are unquestionable parallels between drug addiction and food addiction. 

There may even be a potential fringe benefit to using Ozempic as an addiction medication. Since it was developed as a weight loss medication originally, Ozempic may help curb the increased appetite often associated with quitting certain substances. This could offset the “freshman 15” weight that newly recovering people often pack on. 

Using Ozempic for addiction treatment may be helpful because:

  • Both hunger and addiction involve the brain’s “reward center”.
  • Ozempic does help reduce cravings for food, it may reduce other cravings.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests Ozempic has helped some people with addiction.
  • People in early recovery often gain weight and Ozempic could help there as well. 

Why Are We Looking at Ozempic for Addiction Treatment in the First Place?

With all the talk about using Ozempic for substance use disorders, you may be wondering how it all started. What prompted this line of inquiry seems to be a relevant amount of anecdotal evidence suggesting that Ozempic can help with cravings for things other than food. 

While there have been no formal studies or clinical trials to investigate, a number of patients prescribed Ozempic for diabetes or weight loss reported to their physicians that the medication also suppressed their desire to drink alcohol or take intoxicating drugs. Others have reported that Ozempic helped them stop smoking, biting their nails, or even compulsive shopping. 

Final Thoughts on Ozempic 

It’s very important to reiterate that all we have at this point is anecdotal evidence for the idea of Ozempic helping with addiction to anything other than food. Current research on its effectiveness in treating drug and alcohol addiction is very limited. Asking your doctor to prescribe Ozempic for your addiction simply isn’t in the cards right now. 

The vast majority of the studies on this medication focus on the drug’s efficacy in managing diabetes and obesity. A limited amount of animal research looking at how Ozempic works in reward pathways could be the very beginning. But we will still need to see clinical trials in humans living with substance use disorders before we have anything resembling conclusive proof of the effectiveness of Ozempic for addiction. 

Addiction Treatment Should Be Individiualized

Our Baltimore addiction treatment program features specialized therapy and counseling options. Our emphasis on individualized treatment programming is one of the things that makes Maryland Addiction Recovery Center unique. We believe treatment should be “cut to fit” the individual in order to be truly effective.

Some of the addiction care options we offer include:

Maryland Addiction Recovery Center (MARC) is proud to be a part of the solution to addiction in Baltimore. If you or someone you love is challenged by a substance use disorder, MARC can help. Please contact us today at (866) 929-2159

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