5 Major Reasons Antidepressants Cause Weight Gain In You!

Asking for help, getting therapy for depression, and adhering to antidepression medication 1are brave and crucial steps toward recovery.

Although very often, people who decide to take this first step are confronted with another worrisome issue: weight gain!

Antidepressants Cause weight Gain!
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To answer this issue, we need to assess the depth of the cause behind such weight gain and answer a very important question to understand it in a much simpler way, do antidepressants cause weight gain in reality?

Almost all antidepressants have the potential to cause weight gain as a side effect, but these antidepressants react differently toward different individuals.

Some people start to gain weight while on these depression 2medications, whereas others lose weight.

Many antidepressant drugs include prominent SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil.

These drugs can induce the body weight of an individual to rise by up to 10 pounds or more, for up to 5% of people, according to research experts.

To answer your question, Do antidepressants cause weight gain?”, It would be correct to say these antidepressants indeed interfere with serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating an individual’s mood, anxiety, and hunger.

These changes and disparities, in particular, may make you more likely to crave carbohydrates, such as sweets, bread, and pasta, resulting in weight gain.

Antidepressants Cause Weight Gain!
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To help you understand the practicality of the issue and help you answer the question, Do Antidepressants cause weight Gain? We have curated an article stating the list of reasons that might trigger weight gain in an individual while on medication, as well as a list of antidepressants that cause weight gain.

If you are a health enthusiast like us or simply are just cautious about your health and want to learn if these antidepressants cause weight gain or not, then you have tapped on the correct article.

Peruse On!

Reasons for The Trigger of Weight Gain

Weight gain in individuals can be triggered by numerous reasons varying from genetic obesity 3to overeating.

It is also, to some point, accurate that Antidepressants cause weight gain in patients, and to further understand the logic behind this weight gain in you or someone you may know, this article is like a perfect guidebook for you.

1. Overeating or Improved Appetite Due to Depression Drugs

The course of antidepressant use can lead to a sudden improvement in a person’s appetite and health, reminding them of the pleasure of food, which may lead to short-term overeating patterns and craving for carbohydrate-rich foods.

On sudden improvements in a patient’s appetite, they tend to eat more than before, which could cause a slight difference in the patient’s weight.

Antidepressants cause weight gain and Overeating
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Increased antidepressant exposure may severely affect a person’s metabolism and hunger levels, which could lead to multiple results such as lack of appetite, Gaining weight, and lowered metabolism rate.

Therefore it is safe to say directly or indirectly Antidepressants cause weight gain in patients.

2. Inactivity and Lack of Exercise

The most common symptoms of diagnosed depression include the inability to be interested in physical activities, not wanting to exercise or do anything else, sleeping issues, low energy levels, negative thoughts, and frequent distractions.

But it is also found in many pieces of research that exercising regularly is an effective approach to controlling or overcoming mild depression and managing weight loss.

How do antidepressants work? - Neil R. Jeyasingam

Although no significantly specific causes have been introduced, there are various opinions on how exercise can indeed benefit those who are depressed and help them manage weight gain.

As a result of frequent exercise, serotonin, endorphins, and stress hormone levels in the person’s brain may fluctuate.

3. Ageing

Regardless of the medication prescribed by a professional doctor specifically for an adult patient, patients tend to gain weight as they mature.

It is said that the muscle mass in your body declines, and fat mass rises as you get older and come off age, as muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat, so maintaining muscle requires more calories than maintaining fat.

New study shows why people gain weight as they get older

Therefore, a modest weight gain is seen in a person in mid-to-late adulthood. People gain weight easily at this age as their metabolic functions are slower.

Most weight gain in a patient can also be triggered by hormonal changes in the body due to antidepressant drugs.

4. Genetic Obesity

Various research shows abundantly clear that genetics 4and environmental factors play a significant role in the common obesity issue among many people.

The very interaction between genetics, epigenetics, metagenomics, and the individual’s environment poignant effect on the obesity pandemic we’ve been dealing with for a long time!

Although a very complex and heritable trait, research has established that a very small number of obesity cases have arisen due to various genes that may contribute to weight increments and body fat distribution.

As stubborn as body fat may be to lose, a little physical activity and a healthy diet can help combat a hereditary predisposition to fat and aid weight loss.

These preliminary results make it abundantly clear that genetically risky elements for obesity play a relatively minor role and that our gene pool does not define our destiny.

Not everyone who carries these so-called “obesity genes” is overweight because many more factors might gradually lead to it. Healthy lifestyle choices can mitigate these genetic effects.

5. Antidepressants Cause Weight Gain?

Following antidepressant medications may interfere with your body’s normal chemical processes, such as metabolism and respiration, leading to hormonal imbalance in the patient’s body.

To answer your question, Do antidepressants cause weight gain? Researchers suggest Antidepressant drugs may directly contribute to weight gain by affecting the control of sugar and fat in the body.

Weight gain and antidepressants: Emotional eating, indifference and effects on appetite.

Given below are some of the types of antidepressants used for depression symptoms that may or may not cause weight gain if you are a health enthusiast and want the answer to the question, “Do Antidepressants cause weight gain?” and would like some health tips along with it, then peruse on.

You have tapped on the correct article.

Types Of Antidepressants That Cause Weight Gain

Although the concept that antidepressants cause weight gain may not entirely be true, the weight gain during antidepressive therapy can be due to numerous factors, one of which may be the antidepressant medication.

Pharmacology - Antidepressants - SSRI, MAOI, TCA, SNRIs) nursing RN PN (MADE EASY)

And even though certain antidepressant reacts differently to every other individual, such as weight loss or weight gain, some of the following antidepressants lead to you gaining weight quickly during treatment.

Read on to understand more about the types and reasons why antidepressants cause weight gain in patients!

1. Persistent Utilization of Some of The Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a very commonly prescribed kind of antidepressant drug linked to weight loss when used for a short-term period, may very well result in a brisk weight gain if kept in use for a longer period.

These long-term SSRIs are the predominantly prescribed class of antidepressant drugs that may cause weight gain in an individual when taken over an extended time:

1. Citalopram (Celexa)

2. Fluoxetine (Prozac)

3. Sertraline (Zoloft)

4. Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva, and Brisdelle)

Even though a few SSRIs 5initially cause weight loss in some people, the prolonged usage of SSRIs is primarily related to long-term weight gain.

Treatment of any kind that lasts more than six months is referred to as long-term use.

Among the SSRIs on the list provided above, Paroxetine is one of the antidepressants that causes weight gain both in the long and short term.

SSRI Antidepressant Side Effects (& Why They Occur) | Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Sertraline, Citalopram

A 2017 study shows that the SSRI was linked to excessive weight gain caused due to the indulgence of the patient’s “Unhealthy Behaviours,” such as consuming a processed and prepackaged food diet, a lack of exercise, and the use of unhealthy amounts of tobacco and other narcotics.

Therefore, these antidepressants cause weight gain when and if used for a long-term period.

2. A Few Of The Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) 

The first class of antidepressant medications to be created was monoamine oxidase6 inhibitors (MAOIs). The recent antidepressant drugs have typically supplanted the advanced family of these MAOI antidepressants.

The MAOIs are frequently prescribed by medical professionals in case the other antidepressant medications do not function well due to significant side effects and other safety concerns for the patient’s health.

Despite their effectiveness, MAOIs frequently cause weight gain and various other side effects.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors  | MAOIs  | Antidepressants  | Mechanism of action of MAOIs

Additionally, those who consume these antidepressant medications might resort to limiting their daily diets on an individual level because these medical treatments might raise a person’s blood pressure when combined with certain foods and drugs.

Although, for some people, they can act as a life-changing drug, for people who don’t necessarily get better with other medications, MAOIs can aid with depression relief.

Types of MAOIs that may lead to weight gain include:

1. Phenelzine (Nardil)

2. Isocarboxazid (Marplan)

3. Tranylcypromine (Parnate)

From a 1988 review, it was established that Phenelzine of the three MAOIs has the highest probability of causing weight gain as a side effect in an individual.

Another particular form of MAOI called selegiline (Emsam), a topical treatment that has shown a transdermal medication’s benefits in the form of weight loss, is some of its active users.

So to answer the question, it is visible that these antidepressants cause weight gain and other health issues such as high blood pressure.

3. Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA Treatment)

Among some of the first approved medications for the treatment of depression were the TCAs.

These TCAs, also called cyclic antidepressants and tricyclic antidepressant treatments were one of the earliest classes of antidepressant therapy and drug treatments to be discovered.

Tricyclic antidepressants aren’t prescribed as often anymore as the newer antidepressant drugs, and recent treatments show fewer adverse effects!

Despite some side effects, these cyclic antidepressants can be beneficial, particularly for some patients who do not react to conventional therapies.

TCAs and MAOIs (Psychiatry) (Pharmacology) - USMLE Step 1

Since they have greater negative effects, notably weight gain, than more recent antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants are not as frequently recommended.

Earlier, severe weight gain caused by this drug led many users to quit TCA treatment altogether.

Some examples of TCAs are:

1. Amoxapine (Norpramin)

2. Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

3.  Trimipramine (Surmontil)

4. Doxepin (Adapin)

5. Amitriptyline (Elavil)

6. Imipramine (Tofranil-PM)

7. Protriptyline (Vivactil)

8. Desipramine (Norpramin)

Upon indulging in countless studies and research on the TCAs, medical professionals found out that the results demonstrated that a continuous-low-moderate dose of the tricyclic antidepressant medication could gradually result in noticeable weight gain and considerably impair the ability to deliver long-term maintenance therapy outcomes of the treatment.

So to answer your question, TCAs are one of the earliest classes of antidepressants, and these antidepressants significantly cause weight gain in patients.

4. Atypical Antidepressants

Atypical Antidepressants (Psychiatry) (Pharmacology) - USMLE Step 1

An originating noradrenergic drug, Mirtazapine (Remeron), is a form of an atypical antidepressant.

Studies show repeated demonstrations of the drugs having a higher probability of controlling a person’s appetite, hence causing both increased appetite and weight gain in an individual more than other medications.

Although, when compared to TCAs, mirtazapine has been proven that it is less likely to cause weight gain in patients.

Additionally, compared to other antidepressants, the atypical antidepressant does not cause as many other negative effects.

But it might result in having

1. Nausea

2. Vomiting

3. Sexual Dysfunction

This signifies that these antidepressants cause weight gain but significantly less when compared to some other Antidepressive Drugs.

5. Tetracyclic Antidepressants Cause Weight Gain?

It is suggested that people with major depressive disorders with symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks, panic, restlessness, and feelings of worthlessness should consume these tetracyclic medicines.

Antidepressants - What They Are, How They Work, Side Effects, & More

Although very helpful in treating extreme treatment-resistant depression, they also have a few side effects, such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Increased appetite
  • Sluggishness
  • High cholesterol
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred eyesight
  • Constipation

The chances of a tetracyclic drug being misused are negligible, but if combined with alcohol, it can worsen sleepiness and impair cognitive function.

The results of abruptly stopping these drugs may include the appearance of withdrawal symptoms.

Examples of tetracyclic antidepressants:

  • Mirtazapine (Remeron)
  • Amoxapine (sometimes also classified as TCA)
  • Maprotiline (Ludiomil)

They have been prescribed less frequently nowadays due to the side effects of the medication as well as the discovery of other new second-generation antidepressants.

These antidepressants cause weight gain as a negative symptom of the treatment.

4 Common Misconceptions About Antidepressants, Debunked

One of the most crucial things to do while diagnosed with a major depressive disorder is to seek therapy and medication. Taking antidepressants is frequently a very successful course of action for many patients.

However, it is very important for a patient taking antidepressant medications to ask for professional medical advice before the commencement of any therapy about the potential side effects of these drugs to be aware of what to expect.

It is important for patients with depression undergoing drug treatment to inform their doctor or the medical healthcare provider as soon as possible if they notice any negative side effects, such as weight gain, lack of appetite, overeating, or mood imbalances.

Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome | Medications, Signs & Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Most treatment medications and antidepressants cause weight gain in patients as a side effect, which can easily be managed and rectified with exercise and physical activity.

Although a doctor treating major depressive disorder may advise them to stay on the medication if the profits of the drugs outweigh the negative side effects.

A medical professional may advise the patients to overcome the weight gain through habitual changes in diet plans and by increasing physical activity by incorporating better exercises suited for their body type and metabolism.

According to much recent and old research, exercise has proven to be extremely useful in improving mood, reducing depression, and managing healthy body weight in an individual.

More exercise and better eating may result in a better mindset for the patient, leading to healthier mental health and lifestyle.

For proper mental health treatment and less weight gain, it is suggested to speak with a dietician who would help you develop a proper eating plan that won’t interfere with your therapy and anti-depressive drug treatment.

A dietician can professionally assist you and help you understand the type of diet that best suits your body and lifestyle and aids in your proper treatment and weight loss!

To lessen the negative side effects of taking antidepressants to treat depression or control weight gain and to understand which antidepressants cause weight gain in an individual, the patient can discuss the matter with their doctor in regards to changing their dosage, shifting to another antidepressant, or any other suggestion that might work best for the patient.

How Depression Affects The Brain - Yale Medicine Explains

Many antidepressants cause weight gain in patients. However, improving these symptoms that may relieve depression has often been seen by shifting the patient to a different antidepressant from the same class of medication.

As much as it is important to keep in check the physical activity and caloric consumption of any patient, it is equally crucial to avoid the consumption of any supplements that endorse weight loss or intake of any pharmaceuticals without a doctor’s consultation beforehand as they might cause chemical interactions with the antidepressants and might as well result in some visible negative effects in the patient.

If you have reached the end, then I will assume that you have coherently understood and are well-versed in the Comparative Benefits and even the negative side effects of the Antidepressant medication.

And we hope this article helped you answer the question you came here in the first place, “Do Antidepressants cause weight gain?

Stay Healthy, Stay Fit!

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does Antidepressant Use Lead to Weight Gain?

Yes, some antidepressants may cause weight gain as a side effect. Some antidepressants have the potential to increase hunger or delay metabolism, which can make some people gain weight.

2. Will Weight Gain Be a Side Effect for Everyone on Antidepressants?

Antidepressants don’t necessarily cause weight gain in everyone who takes them. While some people may truly lose weight, others might not notice any substantial changes in their weight. The likelihood of weight gain may vary depending on the type and dosage of the antidepressant as well as personal factors like heredity, way of life, and nutrition.

3. Is There an Alternate Treatment for Depression that Does Not Result in Weight Gain?

Alternative treatments for depression, such as talk therapy and alternative treatments like exercise, mindfulness, and meditation, may not promote weight gain. Your healthcare professional can assist you in determining the appropriate treatment plan based on your specific needs and preferences.

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  2. Chen, Fangping, et al. “Depression and anxiety among adolescents during COVID-19: A cross-sectional study.” Brain, behavior, and immunity 88 (2020): 36. ↩︎
  3. Blüher, Matthias. “Metabolically healthy obesity.” Endocrine reviews 41.3 (2020): bnaa004. ↩︎
  4. Loos, Ruth JF, and Giles SH Yeo. “The genetics of obesity: from discovery to biology.” Nature Reviews Genetics 23.2 (2022): 120-133. ↩︎
  5. Murphy, Susannah E., et al. “The knowns and unknowns of SSRI treatment in young people with depression and anxiety: efficacy, predictors, and mechanisms of action.” The Lancet Psychiatry 8.9 (2021): 824-835. ↩︎
  6. Guglielmi, Paolo, et al. “Chalcones: Unearthing their therapeutic possibility as monoamine oxidase B inhibitors.” European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 205 (2020): 112650. ↩︎

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