Along with the well-known physical phentermine side effects such as dry mouth and insomnia, this popular weight loss medication can also cause emotional side effects like low mood, anxiety and irritability.
In fact, increased anger, or dysphoria, due to phentermine is so common that it even has its own nickname: phen rage
Mood swings are a common side effect of this medication, with nearly 40% of users experiencing phen rage, low mood or anxiety during treatment . However, day-to-day phentermine mood changes should not be so severe that they pose a danger to yourself or others.
With more than 1 in 5 of patients report dysphoria at some point during treatment, phentermine anger issues are one of this medication’s most commonly-reported side effects . This seemingly uncontrollable, sometimes irrational anger and frustration is colloquially referred to as “Phen Rage”.
More specifically, Phen Rage describes the feelings of frustration, impatience, hostility, irritability, and anger that patients feel while taking phentermine. In most cases, this anger is directed outwards in angry outbursts, shouting, and even physical destruction or violence.
If you or your loved ones have noticed that you are suddenly overreacting to situations or consistently in a bad mood since beginning phentermine, talk to your doctor.You may be experiencing Phen Rage.
Like most phentermine side effects, Phen Rage is usually most severe at the beginning of treatment. Using the experiences of past and present Facebook support group members as a guide, phentermine anger and irritability can last anywhere from a few days to few weeks.
There is no proven method to prevent Phen Rage, or any other phentermine side effect. Thankfully, this reaction does not occur in every patient.
If you are concerned about phentermine-related anger, the below lifestyle strategies may help minimize your risk of developing phentermine mood swings.
Phentermine acts as a stimulant to help you lose weight faster and easier, but intense emotional changes can emerge as an unwanted side effect along the way. Here are two possible explanations for phentermine mood swings and Phen Rage:
Phentermine activates the limbic system and triggers the adrenal glands to release “Fight or Flight” hormones.
This reaction is beneficial for weight loss because it promotes appetite suppression and hunger becomes a lesser priority. At the same time, extra glucose is released to boost energy and promote activity.
Unfortunately, the emotional side of sympathetic nervous system activation is not as beneficial for the average dieter.
The body associates the hormones responsible for the above reactions – including adrenaline and norepinephrine – with stress. Even though the human body is an ornate & finely-tuned organism, it cannot biologically distinguish between real stress (from anger or fear) and stimulant-induced activation.
As a result, when phentermine kicks-in, the brain and body may start “helping” you get ready to fight even though there is no actual danger. In some people this can lead to Phen Rage, including irrational behavior and uncharacteristically extreme reactions.
Phentermine also tends to independently magnify users’ emotions – both positive and negative. Many users report that their reactions to situations become amplified when taking this medication: whether that is feeling high when happy, depressed when low, or rageful when bothered. This polarity is likely related to hormonal changes associated with the stimulant.
Quick, dramatic weight loss can also affect hormones.
Major weight loss causes fluctuations in hormone levels because of changes in metabolic rate, different eating and exercise habits and decreased body fat percentage.
Estrogen, for example, is produced in fat cells, so less adiposity often correlates lower levels of this sex hormone. Hormonal fluctuations can cause phentermine mood swings, in some way comparable to spells of irritability associated with PMS, pregnancy, perimenopause or menopause.
Side effects fueled by biological reactions like hormonal changes are hard to control, so overcoming Phen Rage is not always easy. However, some simple strategies can help you feel less angry and more in-control while taking phentermine.
If you have noticed phentermine anger bubbling up occasionally, try the below tips for how to avoid Phen Rage:
Sleep deprivation leaves people tense, irritable and prone to anger . So, insomnia combined with stimulant-related emotional changes can make the perfect cocktail for angry outbursts. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to keep hormones and Phen Rage in-check.
Timeouts are usually reserved for kids, but they can help avoid angry outbursts too. When you feel yourself working up to a breaking point, walk away and take a quick break. A few moments of quiet might provide some necessary clarity to deal with the situation at-hand without getting angry.
Family, friends and colleagues are likely to bear the brunt of your phentermine anger, so it can be productive to tell them how phentermine affects your mood. If you have already experienced an outburst, explain how the things you have said and done recently do not necessarily represent how you really feel.
Breaking a sweat is a great way to relieve stress, boost endorphins and give you a positive outlet for the extra energy phentermine provides . When you feel your anger taking hold, harness that energy to go for a jog, dance it out or clean the kitchen.
Avoid alcohol while taking phentermine due to the increased risk of adverse side effects like hypertension, dizziness and lightheadedness . The disinhibition associated with drinking can also make you more likely to lose your temper, so potential Phen Rage is yet another reason to avoid alcohol with phentermine.
Although Phen Rage can strike as a result of seemingly trivial situations, identifying why these events cause angry outbursts may help to avoid future problems. If a specific person or situation is causing anger or resentment, find a calm moment to discuss your frustrations rather than let this frustration build up into an angry outburst.
Diet is an often-overlooked cause of phentermine irritability. To avoid “hangry” outbursts, plan frequent, nutritious meals and snacks filled with a wide range of nutrients.
After a few days of rage irritability, frustration and impatience, some users consider supplements and herbs to manage phentermine mood swings. Natural remedies are not typically effective given the cause and severity of phentermine anger, but these herbs and supplements have purported benefits for anger control and calming :
However, keep in mind that it is not always safe to combine but herbs and supplements with prescription medications.
Learn more about phentermine!
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6. American Addiction Centers. (2019). Treating Anger Disorders - Anger Management Treatment Options.