In this article, “Antidepressants For Weight Loss”, I will be talking about antidepressants and how it impact body weight changes.
Antidepressants For Weight Loss: What Are Antidepressants
Antidepressants are a family of medications that alleviate the symptoms of depressive illnesses by resolving chemical imbalances in the brain’s neurotransmitters. Chemical imbalances may be to blame for mood and behavior changes.
Neurotransmitters are important because they serve as the communication connection between brain nerve cells. Neurotransmitters are contained in vesicles found in nerve cells and are released by one neuron and absorbed by another. The neurotransmitters that are not absorbed by other nerves are absorbed by the nerves that produced them. This is referred to as “reuptake.” Serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are the most common neurotransmitters in the brain associated with depression (also called noradrenaline).
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Antidepressants, in general, operate by blocking the absorption of particular neurotransmitters, thus raising their concentrations near nerve endings in the brain, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are antidepressants that alter serotonin levels in the brain.
Antidepressants For Weight Loss:Anti-depressants And Weight Gain
Seeking treatment for depression – and adhering to antidepressant medication – is a brave and critical first step toward recovery. However, all too often, individuals who take that step are confronted with another worrisome issue: weight gain.
According to experts, up to 25% of individuals using most antidepressant medicines — including prominent SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) anti-depressants like Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft — may gain 10 pounds or more.
“This is a phenomena that was first seen when Prozac was introduced to the market. It did not immediately manifest in clinical studies since the majority of them lasted eight to twelve weeks, and weight gain usually happens with prolonged usage. However, it is undoubtedly a side effect of this and other antidepressant medicines “According to Dr. Norman Sussman.
While weight gain is a potential adverse effect of SSRI antidepressants, a 2003 study in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine found that it is more likely to develop after six months or more of treatment.
However, SSRIs are not the only type of antidepressants that may cause weight gain. Other antidepressant medicines, such as tricylics (such as Elavil and Tofranil) and MAO inhibitors (such as Parnate and Nardil), may also induce weight gain in individuals whether used long- or short-term.
This is obviously a concern for the majority of antidepressant medications, and although it does not occur with every medicine or individual, when it does, it may be a serious issue that we should not overlook.
Antidepressants and Weight Gain: What Happens and Why
While there are various explanations for why antidepressants cause weight gain, Sussman thinks that both hunger and metabolism may be impacted.
“I have had patients swear they are not eating more but are still gaining weight, which indicates that there is some kind of metabolic influence at work; I have also had patients report that they are not only more hungry and eating more, but that the medications are also promoting an uncontrollable carbohydrate craving, indicating that appetite is also involved,” he says.
Fincham notes that antidepressants may also help us find joy in other areas of our lives, including eating.
“It is possible that someone feels so much better on an antidepressant that a variety of activities, including eating, become more pleasant to them. Thus, people may be overeating in this case without realizing it.”
Antidepressants For Weight Loss: How To Lose Weight While Taking Antidepressants
Weight loss is often difficult, even more so when a person is simultaneously dealing with a mental condition. Numerous factors contribute to this. Depression is often characterized by increased hunger and carbohydrate cravings, as well as a decreased level of activity. Furthermore, some antidepressants and other medicines have been shown to enhance hunger. However, the majority of medicines have little effect on metabolism per se. Thus, weight reduction is still possible when other variables, such as the content and time of food intake, are considered.
Consuming food more frequently and in smaller portions, increasing the proportion of protein consumed (people generally feel more “satisfied” when they consume foods with a high protein content), limiting breads and starches, eating a nutritious breakfast, and avoiding large meals or snacks late in the evening can help maintain a more balanced diet throughout the day.
If an individual thinks their current weight loss attempts might be more effective, seeing a nutritionist may be beneficial. If this is not feasible, maintaining a written record of one’s intake may help identify problem areas and encourage healthy eating habits. Examine the nutritional composition of frequently consumed foods and those perceived to be “healthy.”
Numerous easily accessible websites and phone applications offer nutritional information for prepared and restaurant meal products, as well as consumption records. We are often ignorant of the calories contained in a variety of meals we consume. Even foods labeled “low fat” or “fat-free” may be high in empty carbs. Soft drinks, sports drinks, energy bars, restaurant salads, and salad dressings all have a high sugar content. Alcoholic drinks like beer and wine are likewise high in carbs and may contribute to an individual’s excessive calorie consumption.
Exercise is another important component of weight reduction. Increased aerobic and strength training, preferably four times a week for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes, may help improve muscle tone and metabolism while decreasing fat storage. When coupled with a consistent treatment regimen, regular exercise has also been proven to decrease the chance of depression recurrence. If someone is currently exercising frequently, mixing up their routine and pushing their bodies in new ways via repeated bursts of effort may help make their workouts more effective.
Sleep deprivation on a chronic, low-grade basis is another factor that contributes to fat. Sleep deprivation results in consistently high levels of the body’s stress hormone, which may result in elevated blood sugar and fat storage. Additionally, staying up late may increase one’s proclivity for late-night eating.
Finally, a person who follows all of the above but continues to gain weight should see their physician. Certain medical problems, such as thyroid dysfunction, may contribute to weight gain and exacerbate depression.
Weight Gain and Antidepressants: Switching Drugs Can Help
While scientists are unsure why antidepressants induce weight gain, they do know that switching medications may help.
Certain antidepressants may have a lower risk of weight gain. Effexor and Serzone are usually not associated with weight gain, while Wellbutrin is associated with weight reduction.
Occasionally, switching within the same class of medications may make a significant impact.
“At the moment, Paxil is the worst offender — the antidepressant most likely to induce weight gain — while another SSRI, Zoloft, is the least probable, so switching may often make a significant difference for some individuals,” Sussman explains.
The disadvantage of switching medications is that not all medications are equally effective in controlling symptoms in all persons, according to Sussman.
“Because the neurochemistry underlying depression is very complicated and somewhat different for everyone, switching medications may assist with weight gain but may result in a loss of control over depressive symptoms,” Sussman explains.
Currently, no medicine (including weight reduction meds) has been adequately evaluated for use in controlling weight gain associated with psychiatric treatments. According to the Cleveland Clinic review, combining regular doses of antidepressants with small doses of certain stimulant drugs or seizure medicines may help mitigate some weight gain, as may supplementing an antidepressant regimen with low doses of Wellbutrin or naltrexone (a drug used to treat alcoholism).
If you are on antidepressants, Fincham advises against using any weight loss drug without first seeing your physician.
Antidepressants and Weight Gain: The Diet and Exercise Link
Not surprisingly, doctors believe that some of the same principles that help us maintain a healthy weight in normal circumstances may also help us maintain a healthy weight while taking antidepressants, including eating healthily and getting enough exercise.
The normal line of action would be to avoid gaining weight entirely by switching to a more healthy diet and increasing your regular physical activity as soon as you begin taking an antidepressant,” says registered dietitian Samantha Heller, MS, RD. If you have already begun to gain weight, Heller believes that changing to a better diet, reducing calories, and boosting activity are still worthwhile efforts.
“Even if you do not instantly lose weight, you may begin limiting the increase and assisting your body in stabilizing for a while,” Heller explains.
Additionally, a growing amount of scientific data indicates that increased regular activity may benefit not just weight reduction, but also depression. Researchers discovered that individuals who exercised at least twice or three times a week reported substantially less sadness, anger, and stress than those who exercised less often or not at all.
“The main line is that good food and exercise may not only help you manage your weight gain, but they can also help you alleviate your depression, which may allow you to reduce your medication — and therefore make weight reduction simpler,” Heller explains.
However, experts caution against drastically restricting calorie intake when on antidepressants. Not only may this have a detrimental effect on brain chemistry, but any severe sensation of deprivation may add to feelings of sadness.
Thus, how can you diet without experiencing deprivation? Heller recommends consulting a certified dietitian: “Just as you may need the assistance of a psychiatrist to manage your depression symptoms, you may also require the assistance of a qualified dietitian to develop an eating plan that will assist you in losing weight without negatively affecting your depression.”
Antidepressant for Weight Loss
Weight changes associated with antidepressants are very individual. It’s tough to predict the effect of a drug on your weight. Although the precise causes of sadness are unclear, the brain chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are believed to have a role. Meanwhile, studies indicate a connection between depression and obesity.
Several antidepressants have been reported to cause weight loss:
1.Bupropion (Aplenzin, Forfivo, Wellbutrin): this has the most studies linking it to weight loss.
2.Fluoxetine (Prozac): results vary, but some people report weight loss.
3.Duloxetine (Cymbalta): while results are unclear, some people report weight loss.
While SSRIs may promote weight reduction in the near term, and be nick named “Antidepressants For Weight Loss” using them for six months or longer may result in weight gain!
Before you begin taking any new medicine, your doctor will explain the advantages, dangers, and side effects to you… including antidepressant-related weight gain.
If side effects become problematic, your physician will explore other choices with you. However, recent scientific research indicates that weight loss is not a significant issue while using antidepressants.
PS. This ariticle:”Antidepressants For Weight Loss” is not a medical prescription and the information should be used carefully under professional supervision