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Appetite. 2013 Jun;65:8-13. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.01.008. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Misuse of prescription stimulants for weight loss, psychosocial variables, and eating disordered behaviors.

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Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 842018, Richmond, VA 23284, USA.


In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the non-medical use of prescription drugs among young adults including an increase in the use of prescription stimulants normally used to treat ADHD. Reported motivations for the non-medical use of prescription stimulants (NPS) include enhancing academic performance and to get high. Although a common side effect of these medications is appetite suppression, research examining weight loss as a motivation for NPS among young adults is sparse. In the present study, undergraduate students (n=705) completed an online survey assessing weight loss behaviors, motivations for weight loss, and eating behaviors. Nearly 12% of respondents reported using prescription stimulants to lose weight. Participants who reported using prescription stimulants for weight loss had greater appearance-related motivations for weight loss, greater emotion and stress-related eating, a more compromised appraisal of their ability to cope, lower self-esteem, and were more likely to report engaging in other unhealthy weight loss and eating disordered behaviors. Results suggest some young adults are misusing prescription stimulants for weight loss and that this behavior is associated with other problematic weight loss strategies. Interventions designed to reduce problematic eating behaviors in young adults may wish to assess the misuse of prescription stimulants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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