Antidepressants and weight gain

Anyone got any experience/advice? It's shallow of me to worry about weight gain with something so important as mental health on the line but I don't want to lose all my progress if I were to start a medication. I've never been on anything before so I don't know what to expect.


  • timtam163
    timtam163 Posts: 500 Member
    If you get the right drug or mix of drugs (which may take a bit of trial and error), you may not experience any effect on weight. It's mostly a question of how a change in mood and emotions affects your eating habits. If you eat when you are happy but not when you are sad, you may gain weight. If you eat when you're sad but not when you are happy, you may lose weight. The trick to controlling it is being mindful of any changes in your behaviors.

    Best wishes to you. I've taken Prozac (fluoxetine) and Welbutrin (bupropion) for years with intermittent counseling and using light therapy in the winter for decades. It keeps my depression at bay in ways the self-treatment with alcohol and temper tantrums never did for my similarly afflicted relatives. I find it helps to treat mental health/illness as you would any chronic illness.

    Now, someone is bound to chime in with a tale of weight gain or loss from some psychotropic drug and there are folks who react that way -- just not most of us so assume you will be the norm until proven otherwise. And if a drug causes you problems or doesn't do what's intended, make your physician try a different drug.

    We never know when we are going to be an "outlier" who experiences side effects. My Mom just last night got wild hallucinations from Zantac (ranitidine), a somewhat common side effect, especially among the elderly. This doesn't mean we should all avoid Zantac nor does it mean my mother and her Dr. shouldn't try other means of dealing with her stomach issues. (And, happily, my 94-year-old Mom is back on planet earth today now that the drug is leaving her system!)

    Thanks for your insight Heidi. Yeah like with everything I guess it's a matter of staying mindful.
  • nickssweetheart
    nickssweetheart Posts: 874 Member
    Weight gain can be an issue, but if you mention that as a concern to your psychiatrist, there are some anti-depressants that can actually help you lose weight. You may be a candidate for one of those. I say "may" because it really depends on your accompanying symptoms and your own personal biochemistry.

    I gained quite a bit of weight on the wrong drug, but I also didn't make a concerted effort to avoid weight gain and I was on one of the oldest and cheapest prescriptions. If you are committed to protecting your progress and are upfront with your doctors, there's no reason for you to repeat my experience. If anything, not having the daily struggle with depression has made it easier for me to do things like plan my meals and exercise.

    Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.
  • jasummers76
    jasummers76 Posts: 225 Member
    I second the opinion of making your doctor aware of your concern about weight gain. Never being on a antidepressant prior they can start you off with meds that are not commonly known to cause weight gain. Hopefully those will work for you. If not even if you're one of us that do take meds for depression that can cause weight gain, I can tell you getting out of the depression will allow you to make better choices in diet and exercise. When I was on the wrong meds all I wanted to do was sleep to escape the depression and when I did eat it was one of the only things that brought any kinda of relief and it was never eating something healthy.
  • jasummers76
    jasummers76 Posts: 225 Member
    One more thing.. After getting your prescription go online and check for side effects. If on more than one check for possible interactions. Ten years ago when I was diagnosed with Bipolar and social anxiety I trusted my doctor 1000% big mistake. While I am sure it was not being done trying to hurt me he had me on so many drugs I was a zombie. I now call some doctor's pill Pushers. You will get a side affect from drug a instead of trying a lower dose or a different drug they will give you one to counter drug A's side affects. Also a great person to ask is your pharmacist.
  • mph323
    mph323 Posts: 3,565 Member
    edited October 2017
    I've been on various antidepressants for over 25 years (I've been on Seroquel and Lamictal for over seven years now). In that time I've gained weight and lost it, and I really don't associate the fluctuations with the meds. The meds don't make you gain weight by themselves, you may retain water, or experience increased hunger temporarily, but I found that those symptoms go away with time. I agree with others above, stay mindful and you'll be fine - in fact you might find that your weight is easier to manage when your mental health is supported. I wish you the best of luck, and hope you feel better soon :)

    eta: worrying about gaining weight and losing the progress you worked for is not shallow, I think it's a legitimate concern that you can feel comfortable discussing with your doctor.
  • Graelwyn75
    Graelwyn75 Posts: 4,404 Member
    My weight experiences on psychiatric drugs have been variable in terms of weight. I have been on chlorpromazine, Prozac and sertraline to name a few. My weight never went above 145 Ibs and generally stayed around 140 without being that active or watching what I ate. Then I stupidly decided to cave in after decades free of meds’ and tried Cymbalta. First 5 months I didn’t really gain much but then the last three months of taking it, my weight went up around 28 Ibs and I gained 2 sizes. My body was unrecognisable to me and it the way the meds made me so emotionless made it hard to care. I had been 12% bodyfat and peak fitness just prior to starting that med. never again. Took me 6 months to lose it and has made me more fearful of getting that size again even off that drug. I now only take very low dose seroquel and diazepam to keep my steadier. Not ideal but I’m terrified of trying any other ness given my complex combination of illnesses.
  • saraonly9913
    saraonly9913 Posts: 469 Member
    I blew up on Zoloft and Prozac but only because I had out of control cravings for carbs, mainly sweets. Stopped the meds and stopped the major cravings. Good luck.
  • 90Ibs
    90Ibs Posts: 22 Member
    Just speak with your medical team and tell them that you don't want to go on medications that will lead to weight gain. There are antidepressants that don't have the weight gain side-effect, and a good doctor will accommodate you. If you couldn't go on antidepressants without gaining weight, a lot of people with eating disorders/disordered eating habits who have other mental illnesses would relapse or have their mental health go down the drain. Communication is important.
  • esquivel121486
    esquivel121486 Posts: 1 Member
    IDreamskinny85- I can totally relate to what you are going through!!! It pisses me off that when you tell a doctor that you live a healthy life style, they turn and say that you don't just because they don't want to either help or be proven wrong. I have depression and anxiety and medication made me gain weight which now made me even more depressed. I'm done taking medication now i'm going to look for a natural path to healing my depression and anxiety.
  • counting_kilojoules
    counting_kilojoules Posts: 170 Member
    I've been on five or six different anti-depressants that all had a *possible* side effect of weight gain. Two of them increased my appetite which led to weight gain but I had absolutely no side effects on the others. With any medication there is a list of possible side effects, some serious, some not so serious. Some people will get side effects and others won't.

    If you find the medication your doctor gives you is making you gain weight then talk to them. If they don't listen to your concerns you might need to find another doctor. Your mental health is very important but your self-image and your weight ties into that.
  • kbmnurse
    kbmnurse Posts: 2,484 Member
    I am just not a fan of meds, period. This is my opinion only.
  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
    kbmnurse wrote: »
    I am just not a fan of meds, period. This is my opinion only.

    You have quite a profession (I checked her profile, she's an RN alrighty) for someone who's not a fan of meds.

    Me? I love them and thank *kitten* every day for better living through chemistry.

    OP, I'm on a rather high dose of Cymbalta as part of my migraine protocol. I've lost 90 pounds while taking it.

    I've been on various SSRIs over the years (Prozac, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Celexa) and overall, I don't know that I'd directly correlate any of them specifically with weight gain/loss. Then again, I have had other factors that played into weight gain/loss and my eating issues, so it would have been difficult to pin anything specifically on one of those meds.