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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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HELP!!!!! Can Rispderdal cause binge eating? I can't stop

Resolved Question:

HELP!!!!! Can Rispderdal cause binge eating? I can't stop eating, even when I am not hungry. I had urinary frequency with ssris. Is there a better alternative for gad and ocd with fewer side effects?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

Yes, an informal survey of patients taking this drug showed about 1/4 of men and 75% of women experience overeating and increased appetite and weight gain, e.g., risperdal, geodon, zyprexa

Here is a link incidentally, that supports this argument:

According to Judith Wurthman, Ph.D. director of the Triad Weight Management Center at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., carbohydrate control is a key component in weight control for those using Risperdal and other medications. Dr. Wurthman says that patients who gain weight on these medications typically have an uncontrollable urge to eat starchy or sweet foods. She says that the answer is to consume carbohydrate-rich, protein-poor foods, which will increase brain levels of tryptophan and serotonin synthesis, in turn reducing the craving.

The regimen advocated by Dr. Wurthman's center involves a proprietary drink containing 40g simple and complex carbohydrates two to three times a day on an empty stomach. She further counsels her patients to have a high-carbohydrate, low-protein, low-fat meal in the evening, when cravings may be strongest.

Now, the other approach to treatment of GAD and OCD which is as effective, if not more so than medications are particular empirically-validated forms of psychotherapy. These include dialectical behavior therapy and variants of cognitive behavioral therapy that involve what is called exposure; and a newer form of therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I work with a colleague who is actively researching ACT therapy specifically for OCD and other anxiety disorders and is identifying the components of the therapy that seem to affect anxiety symptoms the most. Have you found someone who practices these forms of therapy, particularly, psychologists? In the absence of such therapy, have you seen the following:

I'll be in and out of this office over the next 12 hours so take your time responding to my post. Let me know if I'm overlooking important aspects of your question. There is no good 'cure' for chronic problems with anxiety and OCD but people can improve their symptoms dramatically, without medications, or do so with a combination of medication and the RIGHT therapy i.e., generic counseling by psychologists and social workers or other 'therapists' who claim they can help, won't cut it. They have to be doing one of the appropriate, empirically validated therapy approaches. What do you think?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I would love to find a therapist that would be able to help but have not been successful. I am very sensitive to meds as I am only taking 0.25mg tiwce a day of Risperdal. Is there another option as far as medications are concerned? Sincerely, Tracy
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Tracy, let me look into this. Most of these meds do cause some weight gain and even binge eating episodes. If it is o.k. with you, I'll do a bit of research and get back with you tonight or tomorrow. Let me know if this is o.k.?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
That would be great. Thank you, Tracy
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Tracy, the research seems to indicate that two drugs that positively affect anxiety cause much less weight gain than others in the SSRI and 'related' family. These are Buproprion which is sometimes sold under the name Zyban. This has some good anti depressant and anti-anxiety properties but isn't considered to be as effective as others that might work better but cause serious weight gain problems (Paxil is a 'worst' offender here). Another drug that might be helpful to you but not cause as much risk of weight gain is Effexor. You'll find it to be more expensive than the meds you have used in the past but it is growing in popularity. I think the best advice is to try another medication and combine this with a dietary regime I summarized for you in the first post. Eat mini-meals during the day, 5-7 and get out of the habit of even serving yourself larger meals. We use this approach in bulimia nervosa and it is helpful, along with following the complex carb, protein diet outlined above. Then, I'd start calling, calling, calling to find someone who has recently received specialized training in the above therapy approaches. He or she will probably be a 'newer' or more recent graduate and more than likely someone with a doctoral degree Ph.D. and not an M.S. degree (they don't go to school long enough to really, really learn a large number of therapy modalities; they tend to mostly learn general therapy or counseling skills. AND, while you are hunting for a therapist, get serious about going through one of the workbooks I cited. They are cheap, supplemental therapy of sorts and if one is really serious and diligent in going through all of the activities and exercises, people do find they help (not a "cure", but people see improvements in symptoms).

Let me know if I can be of further help. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
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