September 5


Say Goodbye to Antidepressant Weight Gain with These Simple Tips

By Joshua Turner

September 5, 2023

Are you struggling with weight gain while taking antidepressants? You’re not alone. It’s a common side effect that can be frustrating and discouraging. However, there are ways to combat it and maintain a healthy weight while taking them.

Understanding how they affect your body is the first step in managing it. Some types of antidepressants, such as tricyclics and MAOIs, are more likely to cause it than others.

The reasons can vary from person to person, including factors such as changes in appetite, metabolism, and physical activity levels. Working with your doctor and understanding the specific effects of your medication, you can develop a plan to manage it and maintain your overall health.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding how they affect your body is crucial in managing it.
  • Working with your doctor to develop a plan can help combat it and maintain overall health.
  • Factors such as changes in appetite, metabolism, and physical activity levels can have an impact on your weight.

Understanding Antidepressants and Weight Gain

These are medications that are used to treat depression and other mental health conditions. They work by altering the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. While these medications can effectively treat depression, they can also have side effects, including weight gain.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant that are commonly prescribed. They work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. However, they can also cause you to put on weight, especially in the first few months of treatment.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are other types that can cause you to increase your weight.


Atypical antidepressants are a newer class with different mechanisms of action than SSRIs, TCAs, and MAOIs. While they are less likely to cause it than the other classes can still cause it in some people.

Everyone who takes these will experience weight gain. The risk may depend on various factors, such as the specific medication being taken, dosage, and individual characteristics, such as genetics and lifestyle.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you are gaining weight as a side effect. They may be able to adjust your medication or provide recommendations for managing your weight while taking the drug.

Types of Antidepressants and Their Effects on Weight

They are classified into different types based on their mechanism of action. Some of the commonly prescribed ones include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Paroxetine, Paxil, Escitalopram, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Olanzapine, Risperidone, Quetiapine, Bupropion, Cymbalta, Venlafaxine, Effexor, and Remeron.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro are known to cause weight gain in some people. These drugs work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can lead to an increase in appetite and cravings for carbohydrates.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as Amitriptyline and Nortriptyline are also associated with it. These drugs work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, which can lead to an increase in appetite and a decrease in metabolism.

Atypical antidepressants such as Wellbutrin and Remeron are less likely to cause weight gain compared to others. Wellbutrin works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which can lead to a decrease in appetite and an increase in metabolism. Remeron works by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which can lead to an increase in appetite.

Antipsychotics such as Olanzapine, Risperidone, and Quetiapine cause significant weight gain. These drugs work by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain, which can lead to an increase in appetite and a decrease in metabolism.

The type of drug prescribed can have a significant impact on your weight. Patients should discuss the potential side effects with their healthcare provider and consider alternative treatment options.

Reasons Behind Weight Gain

One of the main reasons is that these can increase appetite, leading to overeating. This is because they can affect the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate appetite.

Stress is another factor that can lead to overeating and cause the body to store more fat. They can also affect sleep, leading to insomnia and further stress, and weight gain.

Some can slow down metabolism, making it harder for the body to burn calories and leading to you putting on weight. Additionally, overeating while taking them can also slow down metabolism, making it even harder to lose weight.

Food cravings can also be a contributing factor because they can affect the levels of certain neurotransmitters that regulate cravings, leading to increased cravings for unhealthy foods.

It is a complex issue that several factors, including appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, overeating, insomnia, and food cravings, can cause. Understanding these factors can allow individuals to take steps to combat it.

How to Manage Weight Gain

Managing your weight can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to help you combat it:

  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help you burn calories, increase your metabolism, and improve your mood. Try incorporating at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine.
  • Watch your diet: Be mindful of what you eat and aim for a balanced diet. Add plenty of vegetables, fruits, fiber, and whole grains to your meals. Limit your intake of carbohydrates and focus on protein-rich foods.
  • Track your progress: Keep track of your weight loss progress using a journal or an app. This can help you stay motivated and adjust your diet and exercise routine.
  • Consider yoga: Yoga can help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. It can also be a great way to incorporate physical activity into your routine without putting too much strain on your body.

Be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress along the way.

Role of Medical Professionals

Medical professionals can provide patients with valuable information about the side effects of medications and offer guidance on how to manage them. Doctors can also monitor patients’ weight and overall health and adjust medications or dosages as needed.


Switching medications may be an option for some patients. A prescriber can work with a patient to find an alternative medication with fewer side effects. At the same time, a pharmacist can also provide valuable information about potential side effects and interactions with other medications.

In addition to medication management, a dietitian can work with patients to develop a healthy eating plan that meets their nutritional needs. Medical professionals can also encourage patients to engage in regular physical activity, which can help with weight management and improve overall health.

Patients need to have open and honest communication with their medical professionals about any concerns or side effects they may be experiencing. Together, they can work to find the best course of treatment that balances the benefits of medication with the potential side effects.

Additional Factors Affecting Weight

For example, individuals with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may be prescribed corticosteroids like budesonide or methylprednisolone, which can lead to weight gain. Similarly, those with hypothyroidism may experience it due to an underactive thyroid gland.

Population also contributes to this, as some individuals may be more predisposed to gaining weight than others. Individuals with bipolar disorder may experience it as a side effect of their medication, particularly if they are taking antipsychotic drugs.

Steroids like prednisone can also contribute to this, particularly if they are taken for an extended period. Talk to your doctor about the potential side effects of any medication you are taking and to discuss alternative treatment options.

A variety of factors can cause it, in addition to taking these. Addressing these factors with your healthcare provider to find your best treatment plan is vital.

Side Effects of Antidepressants

Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Nausea: This is a common side effect and can lead to a loss of appetite and subsequent weight gain.
  • Fatigue: It can cause fatigue, leading to decreased physical activity and increased weight.
  • Dizziness: Dizziness is a common side effect, making exercising or engaging in physical activity difficult.
  • Dry mouth: They can cause dry mouth, increasing snacking and subsequent weight gain.
  • Constipation: Constipation is a common side effect leading to bloating and weight gain.
  • Memory and Dementia: Some studies have suggested that long-term use may increase the risk of memory problems and dementia, leading to decreased physical activity and subsequent weight gain.

Health Benefits of Managing Weight

Studies have shown that losing 5-10% of body weight can significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. In addition, weight management can improve overall energy levels, mood, and self-esteem.

Evidence suggests that even small changes in diet and exercise habits can lead to significant weight loss and improved health outcomes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly exercise and a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

While supplements and other weight loss products may seem like a quick fix, they are not a substitute for healthy lifestyle habits. Many supplements can have harmful side effects and are not regulated by the FDA. Focusing on sustainable, long-term changes is critical to support overall health and well-being.


Managing weight through healthy lifestyle habits can positively impact physical and mental health. Individuals can improve their overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases by making small changes to diet and exercise habits.

Recent Advancements and Health Tips

Recent research indicates that specific lifestyle changes can help combat weight gain from these drugs. One of the most important tips is to exercise regularly, which can help burn excess calories and boost metabolism. Maintain a balanced and healthy diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

Another factor is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help flush out toxins and reduce bloating while also helping to regulate appetite and boost energy levels. Getting enough sleep is also important, as lack of sleep can lead to increased cravings and overeating.

There are also a number of supplements and natural remedies that can help combat it. For example, some studies have shown that probiotics can help regulate gut health and promote weight loss. In contrast, others have found that certain herbs and spices, such as turmeric and cinnamon, can help boost metabolism and reduce inflammation.

The key to combating it is a holistic approach that includes lifestyle changes and natural remedies. Staying active, eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and incorporating natural supplements and medications can manage it and maintain overall health and wellness.

Privacy and Communication

When discussing it with your healthcare provider, it’s necessary to feel comfortable and safe sharing personal information. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Email communications may not be secure, so avoid discussing sensitive information over email or in email previews.
  • Your healthcare provider’s website may collect usage information, so be aware of what you’re sharing when using their website.
  • Protected health information (PHI) is subject to privacy laws, so your healthcare provider should have a notice of privacy practices available for you to review.
  • If you don’t want to receive marketing emails or other communications, look for an opt-out or unsubscribe link in the email.

Your healthcare provider is there to help you; communication is critical to finding a solution that works for you. Be honest and open about any concerns and other side effects.

Dietary Considerations

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol is high in calories and can interfere with the metabolism of these drugs.
  • Reduce Processed Meats: Processed meats are high in saturated fat and calories.
  • Limit Dairy Intake: Dairy products are high in calories and fat. Consider switching to low-fat or non-dairy alternatives.
  • Watch for Antipsychotics: Antipsychotic medications can cause significant weight gain. Talk to your doctor about alternative drugs or strategies to manage it.
  • Be Cautious with Opioids: Opioids can slow down the digestive system. Talk to your doctor about strategies to manage opioid-induced constipation.

Making simple changes to your diet can combat it. Always talk to your doctor before significantly changing your diet or medication regimen.


Weight gain is a common side effect of antidepressants that can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication adjustments. Working closely with your healthcare provider is important to find the right treatment plan for you. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Be mindful of your diet and exercise habits. Eating a balanced diet and staying active can help prevent it.
  • Talk to your doctor about medication adjustments. In some cases, switching to a different drug or adjusting the dosage can help manage it.
  • Consider adding weight-loss medication to your treatment plan. Some medicines can help counteract it caused by these drugs.
  • Don’t give up hope. It can be frustrating to deal with it, but it’s possible to manage this side effect and achieve your health goals with the right approach.

Everyone’s experience with this type of medication is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You can find a treatment plan that works for you with patience and persistence.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some effective ways to manage weight gain caused by antidepressants?

One of the most effective ways is to make lifestyle changes. This includes increasing physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and reducing stress. It is also vital to talk to your doctor about your concerns, as they may be able to adjust your medication or recommend other treatment options.

Are there any specific antidepressants that are less likely to cause weight gain?

These include bupropion, fluoxetine, and sertraline. However, note that everyone’s body reacts differently to medication, so it is best to talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.

Can exercise help combat weight gain from antidepressants?

Yes, exercise can help. Regular physical activity can help increase metabolism, burn calories, and reduce stress. It is recommended to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

What dietary changes can I make to prevent weight gain from antidepressants?

Some dietary changes can help include eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks, and limiting alcohol consumption. Also, pay attention to portion sizes and eat mindfully.

Is it possible to lose weight while taking antidepressants?

Yes.  However, it may require lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity and eating a healthy diet. Talk to your doctor about your goals and ensure you make safe and effective changes.

How long does it take for weight gain from antidepressants to go away?

In some cases, it may go away on its own over time. However, talk to your doctor about any concerns, as they may be able to adjust your medication or recommend other treatment options.

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