Patients using popular weight-loss medications are noticing an unexpected other benefit: they no longer experience the anxiety and depression that used to control their lives before the treatment.
Nationwide users report that after starting to use Ozempic, their anxious emotions subsided. Others claim that they no longer experience depression.
The medication promotes weight loss by imitating the GLP-1 hormone, which suppresses appetite and decreases the pace at which the stomach empties, making a person feel fuller for longer.
Despite the fact that it is unclear if the weight loss caused by the medicine or some other aspect is to blame, experts recognize it may also aid with anxiety reduction.
Ozempic, its higher dosage counterpart Wegovy, and another weight reduction medication called Mounjaro are now prescribed to an estimated one in every 60 US individuals.
GLP-1 is a helpful therapeutic modulator of depression, according to a 2020 review of studies looking at the hormone’s capacity to lessen depression.
Patients on Ozempic have experienced less anxiety, according to Dr. Mary Jacobson.
“About 20 percent of our patients who see us for excess weight also see us for mental health symptoms. The patients who are on Ozempic seem to have improving symptoms with respect to their validated questionnaire scoring for depression and anxiety,” said the doctor.
Dr. Jacobson acknowledged that it is unclear why this would be the case, although some users may feel better as a result of weight loss and experience a reduction in anxiety as a side effect.
She said that “Is it they feel better because of the weight loss, so they have less anxiety in terms of stigma, in terms of going out into public, for example, in terms of being self-conscious? Some studies show a decrease in social anxiety or social phobia, as well as binge eating disorder and panic attacks. It could be that they just feel better about themselves, but [there’s] no way to tell if it’s how they feel with respect to the actual weight loss and the effect that Ozempic has on the neural circuits in the brain. We haven’t teased that out yet, but certainly it seems possible and probable.”
In a 2020 study, individuals with diabetes who were using GLP-1 drugs were compared to those who weren’t at the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan.
They discovered that people on GLP-1 medicines had a lower chance of being given an anxiety disorder diagnosis.
However, some people have reported feeling more anxious.
Dr. Jacobson said: ‘When you think about people who have severe obesity, how does that change their life once they lose all that weight? Are they prepared for that?
“That’s why behavior modification is so important and work with coaches and others is so important because it’s really a major change in your life.”
TikTok users have reported noticeably lower levels of anxiety.
One such user commented that “I have had so much relief from my anxiety and Ozempic. It’s unbelievable like it’s noticeable.”
“Pain and anxiety gone on Mounjaro. I’m in [a] Facebook group of 90,000 plus members. Many many say anxiety is better,” another comment reads.
The use of Ozempic and Wegovy has also been associated with a number of harmful side effects.
Lately, an increasing number of patients have been reporting unpleasant and crippling symptoms related to the gut and toilet, including everything from extreme constipation to even losing control of their bowels.
The issues have spread to the point that people are sharing their most embarrassing incidents on a Reddit group that amounts to over 30,000 members but also on other popular social media platforms such as TikTok.
In a thread, a third user wrote: ‘I quite literally s**t myself while sleeping. That’s a first. Been tough few days of diarrhea after my first semaglutide injection.’
A 43-year-old anonymous man who has been taking Wegovy, also said: ‘I just feel SO embarrassed being a grown adult who messed his pants!’
This is mainly because the medicines cause people to feel full for extended periods of time by slowing the digestive process. This might cause constipation.
However, it can also tell the brain that the stomach has to empty its contents more quickly, which can lead to diarrhea.