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Recovering from Anorexia and Taking an Appetite Suppressant

By January 23, 2013

For the past month, I’ve been taking hoodia diet pills. I’m anorexic. I’ve been taking up to 10 a day. It’s all natural, so how much harm could it really be doing to my health if it’s all natural? I’m scared to tell my therapist I’ve started taking diet pills again. I’m scared she will want me to go back to IP, which I can’t afford. So, I’m asking you to please help. A friend of mine told me I could be doing serious damage to my health. Is this true? – Bethany

Dear Bethany,

Here’s the deal with Hoodia. You’re right about one thing, it is natural, but so are hurricanes and tornadoes.  All things natural are not always safe. Hoodia does come naturally from a plant source, but the problem is this: “Hoodia’s safety is unknown. Its potential risks, side effects, and interactions with medicines and other supplements have not been studied.”

This is very concerning. Furthermore, since Hoodia is considered a “dietary supplement,” it is not regulated by the FDA. This means that we have no way of knowing who the scam artists are out there; some manufacturers could dupe the consumer by saying the product contains Hoodia, but nobody actually checks to see if or how much is in the pill. Not a very smart option.

Most importantly, however, is your desire as a person recovering from anorexia to use an appetite suppressant. Where do you think this is coming from? I’m sure it’s scary to think of returning to IP, but it sounds like you might be getting ahead of yourself. What if you were straight with your therapist and simply laid it on the table: “I’m taking this dietary supplement because I’m afraid of . . .   I really don’t want to go back to IP, but I do want help with my urges because I want to get well.”

I’m sure you have a very good reason for taking Hoodia, but I bet there is a better way than to resort to ED behaviors to meet whatever that need is. Make sense? Talk to your therapist openly and honestly, that is what a therapist is for.

Good job asking for help.  Be strong and speak the truth. You can do this!

Juliet N. Zuercher, RD