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Antidepressants & Weight Gain

How to Get Help without Gaining Weight


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  • Very good advice for those that take antidepressants.
  • Thanks for posting this. I can't tell you how many times as a psych nurse I tried to explain this to patients. For so many, the first and only thing they saw on the medication info sheet was 'possible weight gain.' It's so important to emphasize the benefits of getting depression under control, and to note that every body is different and will react differently.
  • I've been on a bunch of antidepressants, found my appetite increase a bit on ones which were meant to often cause weight loss, and seen my weight slide while on ones supposedly linked to weight gain.

    As someone on the other end of the scale, struggling to keep weight on, I know how stressful these changes can be - I can imagine they're as bad though different if you're trying to lose. However, that weight gain is the most depressing thing ever... Try drug resistant anti depressants and the sheer desperation that nothing will ever get better and life will be long term unliveable.

    Weight of course affects mood, but to give a physical example, easier for some - my young outdoorsy cousin was diagnosed with leukaemia. The drugs robbed him of the sun and of swimming, made him sick and made him balloon from skinny to pasty and fat. They saved his life. He's now back in the sea, living life, laughing with me.

    Meds aren't perfect. They might affect weight. But the side effects won't always affect you, and they are prescribed to you for a reason and can help (or so I'm told, with antidepressants!).
    I feel so sorry for the person who can think of nothing more depressing than weight gain. How about war, genocide, famine? To think that weight gain is that important, that's pathetic. While I am trying to lose weight and become healthier, it is NOT the end all, be all of my existence. How sad that it is for someone else?
  • Oh, puh-leeze! The person who commented that losing weight is the greatest anti-depressant doesn't have a clue. I'm a behavioral health nurse, have been for 23 years, and I have depression. Anyone who knows about depression will agree that feeling a little heavy is a heck of a lot better than feeling like throwing yourself in front of a big truck. And for some folks, the depression can be so severe that the last thing you want to do is get out of bed, let alone go exercise. Medication can help you get to the point where you can begin to help yourself. Remember, depression isn't a choice or an attitude, it is a medical illness, like diabetes is a medical illness.
  • Sweetie, walk a mile in my shoes, than post a comment about depression.
  • I can think of NOTHING MORE DEPRESSING than taking something that actually CAUSES weight gain. So how can these things possibly work? Losing weight, all by itself, is the best depression-fighter on the planet. So these meds seem like a cruel trick on the people who want HELP.
  • i take wellbutrin, i cant tell it has effected my weight positively or negatively.
    doctors should first prescribe diet and exercise, and introduce antidep after the patient has started a healthy program.
    physical therapy as well as depression really can lead to physical pain and vice versa.
  • JWHW606
    I gained 50 lbs when I started my medication and it doesn't want to come back off. However, mental health care is extremely important and should only be handled by a professional. Going on and off medications should only be done under the supervision and direction of a doctor. No one should encourage people to quit their medicine because of weight gain. It's hard enough to step out against the stigma that goes with being on anti-depressants/anxiety meds without ignorant bystanders suggesting people stop their much needed meds for vain reasons. Sure obesity is harmful to your health, but often so is depression etc...
    I agree with the commenter who did NOT agree with those who recommend getting/staying off antidepressants. For many of us, it is an actual life saving med. I learned to go back on them when I would notice my overall mood slipping, and that prevented those really bad spells. Afetr cancer treatment, however, and some huge personal losses, I slipped into a horrible depression that went on for two years. Prozac had always worked for me in the past, but did little to help this time. My doctor suggested I try Zoloft, and I agreed, but never expected it to work. I had (and occasionally still have) bad stomach gas and pain the first two weeks - I mean BAD. Anyway, I was desparate, so I stayed on it. !5 days into it, that depression lifted. I have tried Wellbutrin in the past, and that does not work for me, but I have a sister who swears by it. Now I'm on SparkPeople to lose the weight I gained during those horrible two years, but am so happy that that is my biggest challenge now. Good luck to all of you who are struggling - never give up and the answer is probably as individual as you are!
  • my dr put me on Paxil in 2010... and i not only ballooned in my thoracic and abdominal area I haven't been able to take any of it off... I hover around 5 lbs more of less of the weight I've been for the past 13 years even with exercise and appropriate portions... ill never use antidepressants again instead I will concur my depression no matter what and exercise my heart out!
  • Thanks for sharing.
    I've suffered with depression for the past two and half years or so, and a few months ago I was put on mirtazapine. Terrible, terrible medication. At first my appetite lessened, but after about a week my appetite skyrocketed and I craved nothing but sugary foods — and nothing was ever sweet enough. This went on for a few months and I gained 30lbs+. A few weeks ago I stopped taking it (with doctor's blessing, of course) and my appetite became manageable again.

    I am now on fluoxetine (Prozac), which doesn't seem to have any affect on appetite, thank God.

    I don't agree with what others are saying — that "you should simply stop taking antidepressants immediately! They're bad for you!" — there are so many antidepressants out there and they all affect everyone differently. Rather than coming off medication altogether, my main recommendation would be to talk with your doctor and try a few medications until you find one that works for you. Unfortunately for me, fluoxetine doesn't seem to do much to alleviate the depression, but at least I no longer have to deal with the side effects of mirtazapine (lethargy due to hangover from the drug's soporific effect, and an insatiable sweet tooth).

    TL;DR — work with your doctor to find a medication that works for you. You might have to try a few, but you'll get there eventually.
    The initial link to the article mentioned "choosing between curing your depression and battling the bulge". Poor choice of words. Long-term Depression isn't something you can "cure", it's something that can be possible to manage. As a person who has been struggling with depression for 22 years, I would love to have the option to "cure" this.
  • I think its irresponsible to say that one always gains weight because of being on antidepressants, I have been on a few over the years with varying effects to my waist line (Elavil was disastrous)

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