Despite their serious side effects, the usage of these drugs is still on a steep rise.
A new study from both the Washington University and Florida Atlantic University revealed that not only do these drugs lead to obesity within 12 weeks of usage, they also caused type 2 diabetes and numerous other conditions.
Antipsychotic drugs are prescribed for a wide variety of psychological problems. This includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic depression), drug-resistant depression, severe anxiety, and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
While researchers have long known that this class of drugs can cause obesity, the fact that it is now increasingly prescribed for ADHD made researchers wonder whether it actually increased body fat and insulin resistance, two major risk factors that could lead to type 2 diabetes.
They decided to test it on children and adolescents, as this is the population that was increasingly targeted by these drugs to “correct” behavior disorders, like ADHD.
The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry.
They analyzed 144 youths from the St. Louis-area who had been prescribed antipsychotics.
At the beginning of the study, after six weeks of antipsychotic use, and after 12 weeks at the end of the study, they used dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans to test the kids’ total body fat.
They also used MRI scans to test their subcutaneous and visceral fat, which is the fat below the skin and around the organs in the abdomen.
Lastly, they tested the kid’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that is used for the removal of sugar from the blood stream, and a low sensitivity to it causes high blood sugar levels and the possibility of having the risk of diabetes.
At the beginning of the study, 30% of the youths were overweight or obese, which is the same percentage as that of the general population.
After 12 only weeks of antipsychotic treatment, this percentage rose to 46.5%.
When they broke down the causes of the weight gain, they found that half of the new weight was fat, while the other half was water.
The children and teens also became less sensitive to insulin, putting them at risk of diabetes.
Stimulants, like Ritalin, made no difference to the amount of fat gained and the amount of insulin sensitivity lost.
Let’s be clear, antipsychotic drugs have their place. They save lives and help those who are really in need of them.
But, since it has become a trend to use our children as lab rats for behavior modification/emotion numbing drugs that we then use on adults that have attention deficits and hyperactivity disorders, we must pay attention to this study.
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