Do Antidepressants Cause Weight Gain?

I am not a doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist. Before I write this, I am going make it clear that anxiety is hell, so is depression. If you need medication, please take it under the guidance of a proper doctor or psychiatrist. People suffer, because they think it is wrong to take a pill. Look, you may need it to balance your brain and help you get a long in your life.

You may want to get some therapy to help you, too. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. I do and I am not ashamed of it. If a person puts you down about getting help through medication, that is their problem.

My Experience

I was put on an antidepressant called Paxil in my 20s due to anxiety with my monthly cycles. I put on twenty pounds in a year, because I was hungrier. I was already a little overweight, suffered from hypothyroidism that I didnt know about at the time, and adding the medication compounded my weight gain.

Needless to say, I was very unhappy. I stayed on the medication a year and got off of it. Later on, I find out that it was my thyroid that was affecting me mentally.

Once I found out that I had hypothyroidism, it was and wasnt a relief. I was still overweight. Yet, I had an amazing specialist who put me on the right medication, and I begun to come alive.

I worked out, but I had to change my eating and the weight came off. The point was I had been misdiagnosed for years. As my thyroid specialist told me and my husband, she is sick.

The thyroid can make you tired, nervous, suicidal, angry, thin as an anorexic, fat as a butterball, and many more symptoms. Hyperthyroidism is the other extreme and I had it also.

My thyroid was switching from slow to fast. My heart rate got very high. I lost 14 pounds in one month, but I was already overweight so it helped. The hyperthyroidism, though, is worse than the hypothyroidism. It made me shake. I was mean. It affected my brain much worse than the hypothyroidism.

Finally, my thyroid calmed down with a different medication and settled into hypothyroidism and I was put back on Synthroid. When I hit menopause, I started taking Armour Thyroid and my hormone specialist makes sure that my thyroid is working at an optimal level by taking blood tests every 3-4 months. So far, so good.

My younger sister also took Paxil in the past like me and told me she gained 20 pounds herself. Paxil also put weight on our mother and is known for making people hungrier.

Everybody is different

My older sister was a nurse for over 20 years, so I asked her. Do all antidepressants make people gain weight? She said some do and some dont. While I have read on forums people who are upset about weight gain and are going to stop the medication they are on, others have said they do not care about their weight gain as they feel so much better mentally.

However, there are plenty of people on the same forum who have actually lost a little weight or not gained weight at all. Everyone has a different body and our systems run differently as do our brains.

More information

According to an interview by Beyond Blue with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he said, Most of the antipsychotic medications could cause some weight gain some more than others. Some antidepressants are also likely to cause weight gain.

Dr. Gupta said one thing about psychiatric medicines that Dr. Barry Sears, who wrote The Zone books said, too.  Dr. Gupta says that the medications alter chemicals that affect appetite, metabolism, and fat storage. Dr. Sears said that many antidepressants increase your insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone.

So, my sister, our mother, and I had taken Paxil. My sister and I both gained 20 pounds. It made us both hungrier. Our mothers weight was going up the short time she was taking Paxil.

Dr. Gupta said some people have a genetic predisposition to gain weight. I am the type that has to watch what I eat. Dr. Barry Sears says about 25 per cent of the people can eat anything they want. 25 percent can look at food and/or dessert and put on weight.

My husband and I are in the 50 percent. We gain weight on too many carbohydrates such as too much pasta and bread. So if we watch what we eat, our weight stays down.

Lifestyle of the person

Dr. Gupta said that lifestyle also has to be taken into context along with genetics, the disease itself, and the medication effects. He said that it is important to catch weight problems early.

He uses a scale in his office and talks to patients about the chance of their appetite increasing and that they need to monitor their weight.

A patient can start a food diary and will be surprised how much they actually eat. Boy, that will wake you up.

Dr. Gupta put in order the top six psychiatric medications that can put weight on a person:







Wellbutrin doesnt seem to cause any people weight issues. I take Cymbalta for nerve pain due to menopause and have not gained any weight. Because I am in menopause does not mean I am destined to be overweight. I workout. I eat good. I pray.

Dr. Gupta also said that Lexapro, Zoloft, and Prozac are weight neutral. I am not sure about Lexapro as that was the medication in the forum I read that was full of unhappy people. They were  blaming Lexapro for their weight gain. Perhaps, Dr. Sears is correct in saying that some antidepressants can raise your insulin levels.


Dr. Gupta points out that there is not an insert in Paxil that says that one in four patients can expect to gain at least  7 percent of their body weight in a year.

My sister and I can attest to that. Our mother stopped it quicker than we did, because she couldnt take the weight gain. Never stop a medication without your doctors guidance. They have to gradually wean you off the medication.

After my stint with Paxil, I was able to lose the 20 pounds and the extra weight I had carried. I cut down on my eating, took my thyroid medicine every morning, and watched the bread, rice, and pasta and my weight came right off. I exercised too. I will always exercise but eating right is the biggest part of weight loss.

By the way, my sister got the weight off, too. She is thin and energetic. Our mother is thin, too.

Are we a pill society?

Yes, more people are taking pills. I am not in their shoes, and I am not going to judge them. I only take what I am given which is organized in a weekly pill holder. I take no narcotics. But, the abuse of medications especially narcotics I will speak out against. It is wrong. Knowing I have relatives who have bought pills off the streets. They have no idea what is mixed in those pills. It is highly dangerous.

People who are addicts do not know how to self-soothe themselves or contain their fears. They need to go to rehab and if given any medications, be watched carefully.

There are many people who need a good psychiatrist to talk to or a therapist. Psychiatrists can prescribe the right medications. Therapists cannot. Therapists can give you some awesome tools to help you with your emotions. You have to find one who works well for you.

It is okay to admit you need help. Sometimes, we do not have all the answers. Professional help is needed.

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