For some people, engaging in a healthier lifestyle in conjunction with antidepressant use, or switching to another antidepressant medication, may reverse the weight gain. Closer adherence to the DASH diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, could help to stave off depression, new research reveals. December ; Sign up now. Like any medication, antidepressants in the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs have potential side effects. A person should always consult a doctor before making changes to medications, diet, and levels of physical activity. Foods and sleep Ginkgo biloba: Can it prevent memory loss? Mediterranean diet Alzheimer’s disease Alzheimer’s disease: Can exercise prevent memory loss? For some people, the fluctuation in weight is only temporary.
Antidepressants are the third most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States and are taken by 11 percent of Americans aged 12 years and over. Weight gain is one of the potential side effects of antidepressant use, with some sources estimating that 25 percent of people using antidepressants experience an increase in weight. Although the reactions to specific antidepressants vary between individuals, some antidepressant medications are more likely to lead to weight gain than others. Experts do not fully understand why antidepressants lead to weight gain in some people. One theory is that both metabolism and hunger levels may be affected. Also, depression itself may cause weight gain in some people and weight loss in others.
Taking an antidepressant or antipsychotic medication often produces the added worry of possible weight gain but starting a formal weight loss program can prevent it. Photo: rf. While these medications are very effective, they often come with a major downside for many patients—undesirable and often significant weight gain. As simple as it may sound, the best chance of avoiding, or lessening further, undesirable weight gain when taking a prescribed antidepressant or antipsychotic medication, is to simultaneously participate in a formal weight management program. After evaluating the experience of more than 17, men and women, comparing medical data of those who were on psychiatric medications to those not taking such medication, the researchers found that an organized weight management plan helped everyone—overall and on average—to lose weight. Sean Wharton, MD, PharmD, an internal medicine specialist and director of the Wharton Medical Clinics, which is devoted to weight and diabetes management, in Toronto, Canada, and his team, reports that individuals who are taking a prescribed medication for a mental illness and following a structured weight loss program avoid weight gain based on their analysis.