A drug used in treating narcolepsy could help food addicts lose their weight, reports a recent study.

Some people are addicted to food not only because of lack of self-control but also because they could be physically addicted to fat and sugar. Generally, when delicious food is eaten, there is a strong release of dopamine in the reward points of the brain, indicating the feeling of pleasure.

Addiction For Food

People addicted to food often have deficiency in certain type of dopamine, which leads to diminished feeling of pleasure unlike normal people. To achieve the same amount of pleasure as in healthy individuals, food addicts might have to eat more than the usual.

Researchers who were quite aware of the fact that impulsiveness could play a key role in food addiction thought that Modafinil, a drug used in treating narcolepsy, might help reduce the impulsiveness in food addicts as well.

Modafinil For Treatment Of Impulsiveness

Ivo Vlaev, from Warwick Business School, noted that Modafinil, which is available worldwide, is known to treat impulsiveness. Modafinil is not only used in treating shift work disorders and daytime sleepiness, but it is also used in treating impulsiveness related to schizophrenia, alcohol dependence, and ADHD.

Vlaev added that food addicts likely suffer similar neurobiological problem, and therefore, Modafinil could help in the treatment of food addiction in people. Most obese people are unable to lose weight because of their inability to control their impulsiveness. Hence, the drug could help them control their urge and lose weight in turn.

Although People addicted to food intend to lose weight, they are unable to achieve it because of their excessive urge to eat, which also affects them psychologically.

Study On Food Addiction With Modafinil And Atomoxetine

For the purpose of the study, the researchers tested two drugs, Modafinil and Atomoxetine, in 60 male participants aged between 19 and 32. Two groups of 20 participants were given one of the two drugs, and the third group was given placebo.

It was found that people under Modafinil had reduced levels of impulsiveness, while subjects under Atomoxetine had no difference in their impulsive action.

"Modafinil was found to have an effect on impulsivity in healthy individuals and so would be able to have an even bigger effect on food addicts, who are lacking in certain types of dopamine," said Professor Vlaev in a press release.

Vlaev noted that Modafinil could help obese people lose weight since the drug is found to improve self-control in people.

The study is published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

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