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Does Anxiety Medication Make You Gain Weight

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Ways To Lose Weight Gain Caused By Medication


Antidepressants and steroids like prednisone often lead to extra pounds.

People living with issues like autoimmune diseases, from Crohns to rheumatoid arthritis , or mood disorders like depression have powerfully effective medications out there to help minimize or eliminate their symptoms so that they can live comfortably.

Yet some of the common drugs for these issues like prednisone and other corticosteroids, and paroxetine and other antidepressants have less-than-desirable side effects. One major side effect of these drugs is weight gain.

And while you should go easy on yourself youre battling an illness, after all it can be a frustrating adverse effect.

Read on to find out the best ways to lose unwanted pounds brought on by medication you need.

, and mood stabilizers are common drugs that have the most potential to increase weight gain. All 12 of the leading antidepressants, including fluoxetine , sertraline , and escitalopram , make gaining weight more likely.

With approximately

like prednisone may also have similar effects. Alanna Cabrero, MS, a registered dietician at NYU Langone Healths IBD Center, says steroids are often used to tackle inflammatory conditions like IBD, Crohns, arthritis, lupus, and osteoarthritis.

For some of these medications, nearly 70 percent of users reported weight gain as a side effect.

Medications that cause weight gain include:

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Tips To Avoid The Extra Pounds

  • Eat right. This means integrating more fruits and vegetables into your diet and reducing your intake of high fat, sugary, or processed foods. Look for lean animal-based proteins, such as fish and chicken.
  • Get moving. Adding just a little bit of activity into your daily routine can help burn calories and improve your overall mindset. Join a gym, go hiking, sign up for a race or walk your local mall. I tell patients starting antidepressants to try and walk a mile three times a week or more, Dr. Singh said. Just that little level of activity can affect mood and weight. Dont forget mind-body exercises, such as yoga, that help reduce any stress which may be contributing to overeating. All these things can help tip the scale in your favor.
  • Keep a healthy routine. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and stay away from drugs, alcohol, and nicotine, which can worsen depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Talk to your doctor. No single medication works for everyone. If you are noticing negative side effects or reactions, such as weight gain, talk to your doctor. They can see if adjusting dosage or switching to another antidepressant helps.
  • Also Check: How Long Does Separation Anxiety Last

    Common Ssris & Their Effect On Weight

    According to data from 2017, the most commonly prescribed SSRIs in the United States include Zoloft , Celexa , Prozac , and Lexapro . Most antidepressants are associated with weight gain, but the risk of weight gain is higher with some than others. For example, some research suggests that Paxil is linked to more weight gain than Zoloft or Prozac.

    Research looking at the effects of individual SSRIs on weight gain is complex. Some studies examine the short-term effects of antidepressants on weight, which can differ from their long-term effects. In fact, research has found that some SSRIs are associated with weight loss in the short term.

    Not everyone who takes an antidepressant will gain weight, and some people might even lose weight.

    Do Some Antidepressants Cause Weight Loss

    Alert: 8 Prescription Drugs That Silently Cause Weight Gain

    There are solutions to manage weight increase. Managing Antidepressant Sexual Side Effects. Legg, Ph.

    Get our free guide when you sign up for our newsletter. Moving Forward. It is not a side effect of every medication used to treat depression, and some are more associated with weight loss. There are several different anxiety disorders, including:. Rather, it uniquely alters other brain chemicals like noradrenaline and dopamine.

    Going off: I get brain zaps, dizziness and general unwell feeling. I just feel awful. Benzodiazepines are weigth that cause weight that are also referred to as tranquilizers. What are antidepressants? But this is not always due to the effect of the medicine. However, weight loss is generally not a major concern when taking antidepressants based on current scientific studies. Like newer antidepressants, MAOIs alter the balance of chemical messengers in the brain, which might lead to reduced anxiety disorder-related symptoms.

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    Types Of Antidepressants That Could Cause Weight Gain

    Dr. Singh explained that some antidepressant medications are more likely to lead to weight gain than others, including:

    Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

    Brand names include: Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil

    Risk of weight gain: With this type of medication, usually there is a drop in weight early, but long-term, those on SSRIs have experienced mild weight gain. Amongst these medications, Dr. Singh said those that contain paroxetine usually cause the most amount of weight gain.

    Selective-norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors

    Brand names include: Cymbalta and Effexor

    Risk for weight gain: Among the SNRIs used to treat depression, people usually experience transient weight loss and dont see much weight gain.

    Tricyclic Antidepressants

    Brand names include: Pamelor, Elavil, and Vivactil

    Risk of weight gain: TCAs are some of the earliest forms of antidepressants and arent as commonly prescribed today because they can cause more side effects, including weight gain.

    Atypical Antidepressant Mirtazapine

    Risk of weight gain: This drug has been linked to both increased appetite and weight gain. Most often we use this side effect to our advantage with patients who have stopped eating, Dr. Singh said.

    Which Antidepressants Cause The Most Weight Gain

  • Which Antidepressants Cause the Most Weight Gain? Center
  • Although gaining weight is a possible side effect of nearly all antidepressants, everyone responds to antidepressants differently. Some people may put on weight while on treatment, while others may not.

    Antidepressants that can cause wait gain include:

    • Atypical antipsychotic medications
    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

    Both the likelihood of weight gain and the amount of possible weight gain vary from drug to drug. Appetite regulation and weight gain or loss are very complex reactions that are influenced by a wide variety of hormones, all of which may be negatively affected by antidepressants. Some antidepressants are more likely to cause weight gain than others:

    • TCAs and perhaps MAOIs may be more likely to cause weight gain than SSRIs or the newer antidepressants, with the exception of Remeron.
    • SSRIs tend to cause loss of appetite early on, sometimes due to side effects such as nausea, and others can cause weight gain with long-term use .
    • Some antidepressants, such as Effexor and Wellbutrin, may be less likely to cause any weight gain.

    Also Check: What Does A Minor Panic Attack Feel Like

    My Antidepressants Made Me Gain 20 Poundsand I Was Shamed For It

    Suddenly my brain was filled with one of my oldest friends: self-hate.

    I was home for Passover, sitting in my parents officewhenever I come back to New York, I always sneak in some financial guidance from my father. I was feeling especially accomplished, and just as I was getting up to celebrate my responsibleness with my parents rescue dog, my dad announced there was one more thing. He handed me a Post-it with illegible scrawl on it and asked me to read the note aloud. After a moment of deciphering, I managed to make out 125 to 135. He announced that this was the healthy weight for my age and height and that he was pretty sure I was over it.

    Before everyone starts hating on my dad for body shaming me in my family home, let me provide a little more context. I have been on and off antidepressants since I was four years old. Ive had moderate to severe OCD pretty much my entire life, along with ever-present anxiety and bursts of depression. There have been times where Ive needed medication and times when Ive managed without.

    It did not feel good to feel unattractive. But it felt a hell of a lot better than wanting to die.

    Okay, maybe a lot of people think about that last one. But I think about it a lot. I would get so anxious about my relationships that I ruined them.

    Suddenly my brain was filled with one of my oldest friends: self-hate.

    Impacts Of Short Term Vs Long Term Use On Weight Gain

    My Zoloft Weight Gain

    Any medication change or adjustment to a persons mental health is bound to impact weight in one direction or the other. Prozac, however, seems to have little influence on weight overall. In the short-term, a person could report losing a few pounds. In the long-term, they could see the scale creep a little higher, but this gain will be minor in most cases.5

    Read Also: Does Buspar Work For Panic Attacks

    What Causes Antidepressants To Cause Weight Gain

    Weight gain is a common side effect of many antidepressants. The primary reason for this weight gain is an increase in serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, sleep, appetite, and feelings of well-being.

    There are two main reasons why antidepressants cause weight gain:

    • Increase in appetite caused by an increase in serotonin in the brain
    • Increased cravings for carbohydrates and sugary foods such as candy, pasta, bread, among others

    One of the ways it can do this is by increasing appetite and cravings for food. These cravings are the result of serotonins ability to influence your brains pleasure centers. This means that if serotonin levels increase too much, they can lead to weight gain rather than weight loss, as you might assume.

    What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Weight Gain From Antidepressants

    Five pounds or less wonât have a big effect on your overall health. But 10 pounds or more can change your cholesterol and blood pressure, and raise your risk for diabetes.

    That said, itâs important to keep your goals in mind. Depression is a serious condition. Itâs the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting work, relationships, and even heart health, Gable notes.

    âAny weight gain must be weighed against the negative possible outcomes of untreated depression,â Gable says.

    Read Also: Does Depression And Anxiety Cause Memory Loss

    Talk With Your Doctor

    Doctors and therapists create individualized treatment plans for people living with an anxiety disorder. Medications other than those mentioned might be recommended in some cases, which could potentially affect your appetite and weight.

    If you experience weight loss while being treated for anxiety, talk with you doctor to determine whether it’s related to your medication or possibly another medical condition. This is especially important if you experience new symptoms along with the weight loss.

    Reviewed and revised by: Tina M. St. John, M.D.

    • Doctors and therapists create individualized treatment plans for people living with an anxiety disorder.
    • If you experience weight loss while being treated for anxiety, talk with you doctor to determine whether it’s related to your medication or possibly another medical condition.

    Common Medications That May Cause Weight Gain

    Taking Depression Seriously Understanding Medications Scope

    Antidepressants, oral steroids, and hypertension drugs are just a few that may be to blame for a change on the scale.

    Everyday Health

    For anyone whos watched a drug commercial, its no surprise that many medications come with a long list of side effects, some of which may make you want to give up on taking them altogether. One common risk on these lists: weight gain. While this effect may not be dangerous in itself, depending on your health goals, a higher number on the scale can be distressing. Thats why its important to be prepared, understand why weight gain can happen, and feel confident that its not something you have to deal with. Indeed, there may be other options available.

    Anytime you start a new medication, ask your pharmacist for basic information, such as what the medication is used for and its side effects, says Ashley Ellis, PharmD, CDCES, the director of clinical operations at Compwell in Collierville, Tennessee. If weight gain is probable and youre uncomfortable with that, ask your doctor if you can be on a lower dose or if there are other options, she says. Of course, youll still want to maintain healthy eating and exercise habits .

    Whether youre on a drug to treat anxiety or depression, a steroid to relieve the pain of arthritis, or an antihistamine to gain control of the sniffles and sneezes of allergies, heres how they may affect your weight.

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    Ways To Manage Prozac Weight Gain

    In the rare case that someone is affected by Prozac weight gain, they can take steps to lessen the unwanted outcomes. First and foremost, they should talk to their doctor or prescriber about what they have noticed since starting the medication to determine if the side effects outweigh the benefits. From there, it will be time to take action and determine healthy options.

    Six ways to manage fluoxetine weight gain include:6

  • Adjust doses: not everyone will take or need the same dose of Prozac. Perhaps, a higher or lower dose creates more side effects, so trying a different level could end with less weight gain.
  • Switch drugs: Prozac may not be the best drug for someone if weight gain is a side effect. With the variety and accessibility of antidepressants, there could be a better option.
  • Change diet and eating habits: so much of weight gain boils down to what and how much a person is eating. Consider adjusting your diet to add healthier foods and avoid sugary drinks.
  • Increase exercise: boosting your physical activity can help burn some calories and build some muscle to manage weight. Plus, exercise has a tremendously positive impact on your mental health.
  • Work with a dietician to manage caloric intake/nutrition: each person has unique needs when it comes to nutrition and finding helpful options can be a challenge. Seeking professional assistance can help fastrack weight management.
  • What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders

    It is likely for people to experience one or more co-occurring disorders such as anxiety with bipolar disorder, depression, or borderline personality disorder. There are many reasons that a person will develop anxiety. Some of these reasons include genetics, environmental stressors, or changes in the brain. When a person deals with long-term stress or trauma, changes in the brain causes anxiety which then regulates ones mood.

    Recommended Reading: When Was Bipolar Disorder Discovered

    Balancing Mental And Physical Health Is Often Complicated

    Even when not taking a psychiatric medication, some people with mental health disorders may already be battling overweight or obesity, says Dr. Wharton and his colleagues. Research has shown that those with mental health disorders seem to have up to 1.5 times greater odds of having obesity. ²³

    In addition, the weight gain linked with antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs has been well recognized, although the experience varies and is not the same for everyone.

    So how much weight gain are we talking about? In another recent study, researchers looked at the weight status of 362 patients taking an antidepressant medication for six to 36 months. More than half of them gained weight, with 40% of individuals gaining at least 7% of their starting weight. The only drug of the eight psych medications evaluated in the study not linked with weight gain was fluoxetine . The study did not have funding from pharmaceutical companies.

    The links between weight gain and medications have been shown to differ by medication type, says J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy, MD, PhD, FACE, medical director and CEO of the Minnesota Center for Obesity, Metabolism and Endocrinology.

    “In general, the use of antipsychotic medications are most often associated with weight gain,” Dr. Gonzalez-Campoy tells EndocrineWeb“In general, the use of antidepressants is associated with more modest weight gainwith the exception of fluoxetine and bupropion , which appear to be weight neutral.”

    Anxiety Meds That Do Not Cause Weight Gain Or Increased Appetite

    Does Zoloft cause weight gain? | FNP Explains | Chat and Chill

    Question posted by 1001 on 6 March 2013

    Last updated on 18 November 2021 by WildcatVet

    I am looking for a drug that fits the description above. I have tried Prozac, celexa and abilify.


    Most, if not all, psychotropic medications can potentially cause metabolic changes in about 1-10% of users with a few exceptions.I have always studiously avoided the benzodiazepines because of the addiction potential and serious long term side effects. The recommendation is that they be used no longer than six weeks.To my mind a few extra pounds is not as much of a problem compared to living in misery with my depression and multiple anxiety disorders.Just a thought… are you in therapy? It’s another treatment recommendation and CBT can work wonders for most people.best regards,

    Samantha Earnshaw 88

    I dont know


    The medications you listed are mainly to treat depression and to an extent anxiety. If you just have anxiety problems talk to your doctor about starting on a benzo, and there are two main categories, long and short acting. Klonopin, ativan, Librium, and Valium are all great longer acting benzos, and Xanax is a good and very short acting one. And like different medications for depression the benzos are all very similar so if say ativan doesn’t agree with you or seem to help much you can always try klonopin or one of the many others.

    They can be addictive though, so be careful and be honest with your doctor.


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