Can You Get Addicted to Vitamins?
If you’re anything like the average consumer, you might initially scoff at the idea of being addicted to vitamins. However, supplement addiction is no laughing matter to many Americans. Approximately 68 percent of adults in the United States use supplements on a daily basis, and many of these men and women would feel unable to stop using supplements even if they had to. It’s important to understand the basics of vitamin addiction and learn about the next steps you should take if you believe you’re addicted to supplements.
Is Vitamin Addiction Real?
In some cases, vitamin addiction may be psychological, but for some individuals, this type of dependency is disturbingly physiological. A case study of a woman in India, for instance, details the very real possibility of becoming physiologically addicted to vitamin D.
Even in its psychological form, vitamin addiction can be incredibly harmful. The marketing used to sell supplements can make consumers feel that they will face negative consequences if they stop using vitamins. Subsequently they feel that their health will deteriorate if they eliminate supplements from their diets. In addition, Consumer Reports points out that taking supplements may pose serious threats to your health and well-being.
Some supplements may be spiked with prescription drugs. Over 2,000 hospitalizations related to supplement use were reported between 2007 and 2012. It’s possible to overdose on supplements, and the FDA doesn’t require warning labels for most vitamins. Plus, many supplements that are labeled as “natural” actually contain synthetic ingredients. Worst of all, if you maintain a good diet, most supplements are pointless.
Not only is vitamin addiction possible, but it can have very real consequences. Many consumers believe that supplements are harmless, but these substances can cause just as much harm to your body as some of the worst licit and illicit drugs.
How Does Vitamin Addiction Begin?
Vitamin addiction almost always begins with innocent intentions. The average consumer is highly invested in his or her health, and the general consensus is that taking supplements can improve your well-being.
Some consumers may also have certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which incentivizes them to try supplements to make up for these potentially health-damaging issues. In many cases, these consumers are simply unaware that nearly all of these deficiencies can be treated by making basic dietary changes. Over time, they may develop dependencies to these supplements.
Under other circumstances, vitamin addiction may be the result of supplement companies mislabeling stimulants as vitamins. For instance, substances like kratom and DMAA are commonly included in over-the-counter supplement products, but these ingredients may be just as potent and addictive as prescription or illicit stimulant drugs. Some consumers with pre-existing addiction issues may even specifically seek out over-the-counter stimulants or other types of intoxicating supplements.
What Are the Negative Aspects of Vitamin Addiction?
Supplements themselves may have negative effects on consumers, but additives in these products can be even more harmful. Some supplements, for instance, may contain artificial colors, hydrogenated oils, heavy metals, or even titanium dioxide. In addition, it’s important to point out that many so-called supplements are actually total fakes.
Even if the supplements you use don’t have any dangerous additives, the active ingredients in supplements can still make you sick or land you in the hospital. According to Harvard Health, the top 10 types of supplements associated with emergency room visits are:
- Weight loss
- Sexual enhancement
- Heart health
- Sleep aid
- Pain relief
As this Harvard data suggests, weight loss supplements are the worst offenders. Not only are plenty of weight-loss programs pyramid schemes, but the products they sell are often amphetamine analogs that are just as bad for you as methamphetamine.
Get the Help You Need
As people around the country become more familiar with the true nature of addiction, holistic addiction treatments are becoming increasingly mainstream. Addiction specialists are coming to understand that substance abuse isn’t a disease that can be cured with the prevailing methods of Western medical orthodoxy. Instead, it’s necessary to look at a person as a whole to determine how best to help him or her overcome addiction.
Examples of holistic treatments that might be effective for supplement addiction include yoga, meditation, and massage. However, nutritional therapy might be the most effective holistic treatment for supplement addiction since it solves one of the main issues that leads people to become addicted to supplements.
Whether you’re addicted to vitamins or any other substance, the staff at SpringBoard Recovery can help you reshape your life and provide a permanent and transformative solution. To get the assistance you need to overcome your vitamin or supplement addiction, contact us today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need to Tell Your Doctor About Your Use of Vitamins?
You should always tell your doctor about any vitamins or supplements you use, and there are a few reasons for this. For one, if your doctor prescribes you something new, he will need to make sure that there won’t be a negative interaction between the new medication and what you are currently taking.
Also, please remember that not all vitamin use is beneficial. It is possible that something you are taking could be harming you in some way, or causing some of the symptoms you are experiencing.
Giving your doctor an appropriate and clear picture of what you take on a regular basis is important. They may not always ask you about your vitamins or supplements, so it is critical for you to be forthcoming with this information for your own health.
What Types of Unwanted Effects do People Often Experience When Taking Vitamins?
There are a lot of supplements that are beneficial and that doctors highly recommend for their patients. For example, most of them tell their patients to take a multivitamin every day. But there are some supplements that contain active ingredients that can cause unwanted physical effects, such as:
- Higher blood pressure than normal.
- A racing or irregular heart rate.
- Bouts of dizziness.
- Painful and frequent headaches.
- Problems with the digestive system.
Is Melatonin Addictive?
Melatonin is a hormone that plays a very important role in your natural sleep-wake cycle. Your blood contains the most melatonin at night to help you fall asleep. But not everyone has enough of this hormone in their blood, which can make it difficult for them to get a good night’s rest consistently.
Melatonin supplements can be very helpful for people who suffer from certain types of sleep disorders. It can also help people who have jet lag. Most doctors agree that it is perfectly fine to take this supplement on a short-term basis. People generally do not experience any ill effects.
Fortunately, melatonin does not cause withdrawal symptoms when people stop taking it. This is true even if they have been taking it for an extended period of time. It also does not cause people to form a tolerance to it. That means that they do not have to increase how much of it they take over time in order to get the same results.
These characteristics mean that melatonin is not likely to be physically addictive. There is always the chance that a person can become psychologically addicted to it, however. That just means that they believe they need it in order to fall asleep and may not be able to go to sleep without it.
What is Vitamin Abuse?
Vitamin abuse refers to taking an increasing amount of vitamins or supplements than what is recommended. People who abuse them may also take them more frequently than they should throughout the day.
Most people who abuse vitamins start doing so quite innocently. They decide to take more thinking that they will get even more benefits from them. They tend to think of this as harmless because these products can be purchased at many different stores by anyone who wants them. But, what they do not realize is that just like with medications, taking too many vitamins at once can also be harmful to their health.
What is the Best Way to Break a Vitamin Addiction?
In some cases, there are some people who may need to get professional treatment in order to break their addiction to vitamins. They probably do not need any type of detox, which is good news. But going to some type of rehab or therapy may be needed in order for them to psychologically move on after their use of vitamins has stopped.
- Council for Responsible Nutrition: https://www.crnusa.org/CRN-consumersurvey-archives/2015/
- e-jams.org: https://www.e-jams.org/article.asp?issn=2249-4855;year=2012;volume=2;issue=1;spage=43;epage=45;aulast=Kalra
- Consumer Reports: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/09/10-surprising-dangers-of-vitamins-and-supplements/index.htm
- The Department of Defense Dietary Supplement Resource: https://www.opss.org/article/stimulants-dietary-supplements
- Hormones & Balance: https://hormonesbalance.com/articles/using-fake-supplements/
- Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/harmful-effects-of-supplements-can-send-you-to-the-emergency-department-201510158434
- Abbey Sharp: https://www.abbeyskitchen.com/weight-loss-multi-level-marketing-schemes/
- Daily Beast: https://www.thedailybeast.com/amphetamines-are-hiding-in-your-supplements
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know
- Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-withdrawal-how-long-does-it-last-63036