Patients Are Now Discovering Ozempic’s Hidden Psychological Effects

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Jun 24, 2024

You most likely heard about the Ozempic craze during the last year. The name brand semaglutide is a drug initially created for diabetics, but it can also be used as a powerful appetite impression. Many people, including several notable Hollywood celebs, have used the drug to induce weight loss.

However, the drug does not come without a long list of nasty side effects. On top of physical ailments like hair loss and unintended pregnancies, the drug also allegedly comes with its own set of nasty psychological effects.

Why Did Ozempic Get So Popular?

Over the past year, Ozempic has been constantly in the news. Famous celebrities like Mindy Kaling, Kelly Clarkson, and Oprah Winfrey have all confessed to using the weight loss aid.

A woman with curly black and brown hair wearing a purple dress at a movie premier

Source: @ScumbahgPolite/X

Once a permanent solution was on the market, people went crazy for it. The massive increase in use caused the country that makes the drug (Denmark) to increase its GDP. Also, many diabetics who require the medication were unfortunately affected as a shortage also occurred.

Common Physical Side Effects of the Drug

The rapid weight loss associated with Type II diabetes medication comes with a set of undeniable side effects. Many people have noticed that the sudden and aggressive loss of fat on their bodies causes something called “Ozempic face.”

A row of blue Ozempic injection pens

Source: @Reuters/X

Ozempic face is essentially a loss of fat and volume in the face, causing a person to look older and more tired than usual. Fat in the face actually causes a person to look plump and younger. Volume loss in the face is one of the biggest indicators of age that we can see immediately.

Many Women Have Also Become Accidentally Pregnant While Using It

Along with the nasty physical side effects, the medication also causes fluctuations in hormones and reproductive health. It’s unknown if the medication alters the effectiveness of hormonal birth control like the pill or if the sudden weight loss causes a person to become pregnant more easily.

A woman wearing a white shirt and a beige cardigan has her stomach looked at by a doctor using a stethoscope

Source: Sarah Johnston/Canva

Either way, several women came forward to tell their stories of becoming accidentally pregnant while using Ozempic, sometimes after years of difficult infertility.

How Does Ozempic Affect the Brain?

Many people with a food addiction issue have had massive success cutting down their caloric intake while on the semaglutide medication. While most people say that the medication helps them curb their appetite, scientists say that the drug actually affects the brain in a different way.

A man in a teal shirt grabs at his stomach

Source: Towfiqu Barbhuiya/Unsplash

It can help with something called “food noise.” Dr. Ania Jastreboff, professor at Yale School of Medicine and Dr. W. Scott Butsch, director of Obesity Medicine with the Cleveland Clinic, both say that the drug quiets constant thoughts of food that consume many people. Instead of focusing on food all day, when on the medication, many people feel free for the first time to occupy their thoughts with something else.

A Personal Account of Using the Medication

Johann Hari was first prescribed Ozempic in 2023 after a regular doctor’s visit. At the time, Hari weighed 203 pounds and had a body fat percentage of 32%.

A box of Ozempic. The box shows a look of the pen, which is purple with a red and white label on it, and states the dose of 0.5mg.

Source: Good Morning America/YouTube

He was put on the drug to control his ballooning weight and to avoid the same early death that his grandfather and uncle suffered. Heart issues are hereditary and can be easily controlled with dietary and lifestyle changes.


The Drug Worked Perfectly for the First Six Months

Even after the first few doses, Hari began shedding weight and feeling better. He was on the path to avoid major heart issues by living a slimmer and more active lifestyle.

A side by side photo of a man depicting weight loss in his face

Source: Johann Hari/Instagram

After losing 42 pounds on the drug, he says, “My appetite was just dramatically dialed down from that point on. I was so much less hungry than I’d been before. I felt very full, very fast.”


Hari Says He’s Part of Two Large Social Experiments

In an interview with TODAY, Hari shared some interesting insights about the social obsession with weight. He claims that he is part of two large social experiments. The first one is the fast food and processed food industry, causing many Americans to be overweight and motivated to change.

A woman sits on a red couch reading a yellow book with a small dog curled up next to her

Source: Allgo/Unsplash

The other is the new experiment to see how long-term use of the weight loss drug affects people. He claims now that obesity has exploded and gotten out of control, creating a reversal is a natural shift.


American Is Plagued by Unhealthy Food Habits

There has been an explosion in obesity since the 1970s in America, and it hasn’t been seen before in human history. Experts agree that bodies are being permanently altered by the chemicals in ultra-processed foods.

A tray with french fries, wrapped cheese burger, and drink cups

Source: Alia/Unsplash

Part of the reason why ultra-processed foods lead to obesity is because they trick the body into wanting more. People never truly feel full or satiated on the standard American diet, which causes them to overeat and gain weight.


Long Term Use of Ozempic Hasn’t Been Studied Yet

Due to the recent use of semaglutides for weight loss, scientists haven’t been able to track its long-term side effects. That’s why Hair believes that he is part of a massive experiment.

A blue injectable pen on top of a red and white box of medication

Source: @MailOnline/X

Until a large group of people take the drug for extended periods of time, scientists and health experts won’t know the true extent of the drug. However, some patients on the medication are already experiencing the Ozempic wall; their bodies seem to get used to the medication eventually and they stop losing weight at a certain point.


The Psychological Effects of the Drug Were Startling

Hari was extremely happy with his decision for the first six months of use. He was shedding pounds and feeling in control of his diet.

Photograph of several fast food restaurant signs all in a row

Source: Shutterstock

However, after a while, he started noticing that he wasn’t controlling his emotions about food. Like many, Hari used food as a comfort mechanism to escape the ugly feelings of everyday life. After being on an appetite suppressant for a while, he understood that it wasn’t a cure-all for his emotional attachment to unhealthy food.


Big Life Changes Usually Accompany Massive Emotional Shifts

Like many big life changes, losing weight doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Many people note that although they feel better physically after losing weight, they struggle with their mentality around food and body image.

A group of people talking, two people sit on a blue sofa, one person sits on a chair suing a lap top and and the fourth person sits on a chair

Source: Allgo/Unsplash

One of the unintended side effects of Ozempic might start to appear as many people take the drug long-term. Now, Hari is brining awareness that users of the medication will also need to work on their mental health while they work through their addition to food.