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The power of GLP-1 drugs beyond weight loss 

The following blog helps you explore the exciting mechanisms by which the latest weight-loss drugs modify not only appetite and and satiety but can address different types of unhealthy behavior linked to craving, which – let’s be honest – plays a role in all our lives. It will provide you with fresh perspectives on the dynamics of pleasure and addiction. Modulating the brain systems that regulate desire may significantly reduce negative effects resulting from craving in general.  


Next to exciting health benefits currently being discovered, GLP-1 drugs may significantly reduce societal stigma attached to individuals grappling with conditions associated with loss of control and craving, way beyond our appetite. To find out more about their specific role in reaching optimal body weight, click here to read our blog on Medically Managed Weight Loss with Injections. 



What is want?  

Understanding "want" delves into the intricate workings of our brain's reward system, particularly the so called mesolimbic pathway fueled by dopamine. Want isn't just about conscious desire, like consciously craving particular food or pleasure. It’s a deeper psychological phenomenon that can manifest far beyond our awareness. 


Consider being at a gathering and mindlessly reaching for peanuts, even if you're not particularly hungry or fond of them. This exemplifies want: an innate urge driven by the mesolimbic system, compelling behavior regardless of conscious desires. 


Experiments reducing dopamine levels show this dissociation between wanting and liking. Participants still derive pleasure from rewards despite diminished motivation to pursue them. Wanting emerges as a distinct entity governed by subconscious processes beyond conscious control. 


Wanting doesn't always align with physiological needs and can even lead to compulsive or addictive behaviors. Want transcends mere desire, influencing actions and decisions on a subconscious level. It's a fundamental aspect of our brain's reward system, shaped by both conscious and unconscious processes. 

Modulation of exactly these processes into a positive and healthy direction, is exactly what GLP-1 drugs seem to do, without taking away the pleasure aspect of some of these wants. This is a true revolution!  



Diminishing the intensity of desire can eliminate craving: 

Turning down the dial of unhealthy aspects of want, obviously represents a significant stride forward in addressing the formidable challenge of intense cravings and urges, particularly those associated with addiction behaviors. A growing number of studies show that, these drugs, initially designed for treating diabetes and then approved for weight for their regulation of appetite through the GLP-1 and GIP pathways, may offer unexpected and much more extensive benefits.  


By modulating an individual's set point, these drugs offer a promising avenue for addressing various compulsive behaviors and addictions. Our patients taking weight loss injections often tell us about major reductions in unhealthy behavior unrelated to food. 

One potential mechanism of action for these medications in curbing cravings, involves diminishing the importance placed by motivational systems on immediate want acquisition, therefore reducing it. Rather than inhibiting pleasure directly, these drugs may redirect attention, leading to a shift in focus away from compulsive behaviors.  

The reduction in the strength of wants doesn't completely eliminate them, but rather «fine-tunes the volume» on the most compelling urges. While the precise mechanisms underlying this effect are still under investigation, early clinical trials provide promising insights into the potential to alleviate cravings also for substances such as alcohol, nicotine, and opioids.  

More studies are needed to exactly determine their effectiveness in addressing true substance abuse. While some studies show positive outcomes in reducing cravings for substances, others demonstrate no significant effect, which may be related to individual patient characteristics. 


Moreover, neuroscientists acknowledge that, while they understand how they alter the intensity of cravings, the mechanism controlling the focus of desire remains unclear. Consequently, the efficacy of these drugs in addressing substance addictions may vary among individuals, and further research is needed to elucidate their role in this context. 



The Societal Impact of Weight-Loss Drugs on Behavior and Perception: 

The widespread use of weight-loss drugs, could lead to significant societal changes by potentially reshaping patterns of desire and behavior. As their workings increasingly seem to extend beyond obesity, prevention of heart disease, and possibly substance abuse, their impact on collective wants and consumption patterns could be profound.  


Economic impact is already being observed or expected, not only by food retailers, but also by other businesses selling seductive and easily accessible consumption goods and services. Collective shifts could ripple through economies and social structures. 


Reduction of stigma surrounding issues like obesity and addiction can be expected. Ultimately, the availability and efficacy of these drugs challenge the perception of craving, addiction, and obesity as moral failings, reframing them as medical issues rooted in chemistry rather than personal choices. By witnessing individuals transform with ease after years of struggle, there's potential for a paradigm shift in how society views and treats these conditions, fostering empathy and understanding rather than judgment and stigma. 


For more information on what these medications can do for you, we invite you to book a consultation. Through our partners, we can propose different types of coaching- and training programs to reach your personal objectives in the healthiest, most efficient, and most durable way.  


From independent achievers to those needing a hand, we at Redeker Aesthetics support you in your journey!



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