I recently spent four nights in Las Vegas. I stayed at The Palazzo and checked out a number of other casinos including the Paris, The Venetian, MGM Grand, Aria, Caesars Palace and probably two others that I walked by. But guess how much I spent on gambling?
Five dollars. No kidding.
Gambling just doesn’t interest me. I look at those big green trash cans everyone has these days and think, “Those were the original slot machines, before casinos figured out they could get more money out of us if they put fancy noises and lights on them!”
All kidding aside, gambling is no joke. It’s a hobby for some folks and an illness for others. And interestingly, we now know that certain drugs can enhance that gambling state of mind.
Abilify linked to impulsive behavior
A few months ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned physicians that Abilify (aripiprazole) could trigger impulsive behaviors, such as gambling or binge eating. If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you might recall I warned folks about this very same thing way back in 2006 the year Abilify was released, and I cautioned it could cause rapid weight gain too.
Abilify is one of the world’s number one prescribed drugs. It raked in $6.4 billion dollars in 2013. It’s classified as an antipsychotic medication, but unfortunately physicians dispense it like Tic Tacs for every emotional and mental disorder under the sun.
The Abilify-linked gambling problems have even led to divorces. A quick google search reveals anxious lawyers who want to represent you if you’ve been a victim because they feel the drug manufacturer knew and kept it hush hush.
One patient reportedly played the slots occasionally, but never lost more than 50 dollars. But then he started Abilify. “After I ploughed through my bank account, I obtained cash advances on my credit cards and soon maxed them out,” he recalls. Now the patient’s wife wants a divorce.
Drug can trigger binge eating, sex or shopping
It’s not just gambling either, if you take this drug you may feel unnatural cravings to binge eat, have sex or go shopping. If you get these urges (and I mean in an unnatural, unhealthy way), then your dopamine level is off. When this happens it can lead to fighting, infidelities, obesity, bankruptcy and divorce.
Funny, I never noticed anything alarming in the TV commercials for the drug/ In fact everyone looked VERY happy.
In 2015 American doctors wrote 1.5 million prescriptions to treat not only schizophrenia, but also depression, bipolar disorder and autism-induced mood problems.
Stopping Abilify can help rebalance your dopamine levels
Three studies have already concluded that stopping Abilify can help folks get control of their pathological gambling. These can be easily found in The British Medical Journal 2011, JAMA 2014 and Addictive Behaviors 2014.
We don’t really need more studies to prove what Abilify and other drugs do because we already know these drugs work on dopamine. And when you raise dopamine excessively, and mess with your brain chemicals, you pull the string on the puppet.
If you feel like you’ve been shopping excessively, binging on food (or anything else) or experiencing unhealthy urges and you take Abilify, I recommend you speak to your doctor about either reducing your dosage, weaning you off altogether or trying something natural so you can address your brain chemistry and get it healthy again.
Healing dopamine receptors takes time and while this side effect is unusual, I want you to know it can happen, because the FDA decided they only needed to warn doctors.
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Fitness, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more.
Read more from Suzy at suzyCohen.com
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