Losing weight can be a difficult journey, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. While there are many weight loss programs available, combining medication and behavioral therapy has been shown to be an effective way to achieve long-term weight loss success. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of combining medication and behavioral therapy for weight loss, and why it’s a good option for those struggling to shed those extra pounds.
Benefits of Combining Medication and Behavioral Therapy for Weight Loss
1. Enhanced Appetite Control
One of the biggest challenges for people trying to lose weight is controlling their appetite. Combining medication and behavioral therapy can help with this by reducing hunger cravings and increasing satiety. Medications like phentermine and liraglutide have been shown to help reduce appetite, while behavioral therapy can help individuals identify and address emotional eating triggers.
2. Increased Physical Activity
Combining medication and behavioral therapy can also help individuals increase their physical activity levels. Medications like bupropion have been shown to increase energy levels, while behavioral therapy can help individuals develop healthy exercise habits and stick to a regular fitness routine.
3. Improved Mood and Mental Health
Losing weight can be a stressful process, and it’s not uncommon for individuals to experience mood changes and other mental health issues during this time. Combining medication and behavioral therapy can help alleviate some of these symptoms. Medications like bupropion and topiramate have been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, while behavioral therapy can help individuals develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress.
4. Long-Term Success
Finally, combining medication and behavioral therapy for weight loss has been shown to result in long-term success. While fad diets and other weight loss programs may offer quick results, they often don’t provide sustainable weight loss. Combining medication and behavioral therapy, however, has been shown to lead to sustained weight loss for up to two years or more.
Why is medication only recommended as a supplement to diet, exercise, and behavior therapy?
There are several reasons why pharmacotherapy should be included in a lifestyle modification program. First, growing evidence suggests that a moderate physical activity program, regardless of weight status, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Similarly, behavioral therapy encourages patients to follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, which may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease on its own. These significant advantages would be lost if weight loss were induced solely through medication.
Second, pharmacotherapy alone may result in suboptimal short- and long-term weight loss if no lifestyle changes are made. Greater weight loss is preferable because it is associated with greater improvements in weight-related health complications. Obese people are also very interested in them.
Third, incorporating pharmacotherapy into lifestyle modification is consistent with a stepped-care approach in which the least aggressive intervention is tried first and, if unsuccessful, is supplemented by more aggressive interventions. Lifestyle modification is the foundation of weight management in this model, in part because it is less expensive and has fewer side effects than pharmacotherapy. The following section examines research on the effects of combining pharmacotherapy with lifestyle modification.
Overall, combining medication and behavioral therapy for weight loss is an effective way to achieve long-term success. By enhancing appetite control, increasing physical activity levels, improving mood and mental health, and providing sustained weight loss, this approach provides a comprehensive solution for those struggling to shed those extra pounds. If you’re considering a weight loss program, it’s worth exploring this option with your healthcare provider.
Blair, S. N., Kohl, H. W., Paffenbarger, R. S., Clark, D. G., Cooper, K. H., Gibbons, L. W. (1989) Physical fitness and all-cause mortality: a prospective study of healthy men and women. JAMA. 262: 2395– 2401.