FROM OUR EXPERTS
Almost everyone who takes antidepressants gains at least 15 pounds. Add mood stabilizers to the mix of medications and weight can shoot up by 75 pounds or more. This is not a new side effect. Patients and their psychiatrists have been dealing with this unpleasant, unwanted and unneeded side effect for a decade or more. Yet a scan of articles about weight gain reveals pitifully little information on how to lose the weight. Stopping the medication is not an option, although oftentimes weight is lost quite rapidly when medication is not longer required.
The weight-loss advice given in medical articles and physician offices is no different than advice given to anyone who has to lose weight regardless of what caused it to be gained: Stop eating junk food, eat more vegetables and fish, eat less red meat, drink water, and exercise.
One of my clients told me the following story. "My therapist gave me a diet sheet that looked like something his mother might have followed 40...
Recently, I received an email from a man who described his wife's frustration at her weight gain. She had worked very hard at losing weight a few years earlier but had gained it back and more after her physician put her on antidepressant medication for her fibromyalgia. What caused their distress was the doctor's attitude toward her obesity. According to the husband, the doctor saw her as just one more "fat patient" in his office and had neither the time nor the patience to help her regain her formerly thin body. When the woman complained that the medication made her hungry all the time, the doctor responded by saying she ought to exert more self-discipline.
Anyone who is obese has a right to be disturbed and angry when the doctor sees only a "fat patient" instead of someone who needs understanding and help in dealing with the reasons behind the overeating.
Unfortunately, the time to uncover the causes for the obesity and support weight- loss efforts is...
If you have been a normal weight all your life and find yourself gaining weight while on antidepressants, how will you know if or when your medication may make you obese? It is doubtful that your doctor will tell you; he or she usually does not have a scale in the office or a height/weight chart on the wall. The well-known side effect of antidepressant-associated weight gain is often not even mentioned by the prescribing psychotherapist lest it discourage the patient from starting or continuing the medication.
Ideally, preventing the weight gain at the beginning of treatment should be part of the management of the emotional disorder. As we mention in our book, The Serotonin Power Diet , it is not difficult to follow a dietary regimen that eliminates the overeating and cravings most antidepressants cause within weeks of starting treatment. However, in most cases, weight gain is discussed only when the patient brings it up and this may be only after a substantial amount of weight ...
You should know
Answers to your question are meant to provide general health information but should not replace medical advice you receive from a doctor. No answers should be viewed as a diagnosis or recommended treatment for a condition. Content posted by community members does not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media, which also reserves the right to remove material deemed inappropriate.