Is Weight Gain from Antidepressants a Myth?

Weight Gain Antidepressants Myth

Antidepressants are medication that treats depression, anxiety, certain chronic pain conditions, and it also helps to manage some addiction types. Klaus Schmiegel, a German chemist, worked with Bryan Molly and invented the first anti-depressant, called Prozac. This drug was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1988. Since this drug’s approval, there has been a great change in depression treatment. In this article we will see Is Weight Gain from Antidepressants a Myth?


No one should diagnose themselves with depression or any other mental illness. Even though you might identify the symptoms within yourself, you should still see a licensed psychiatrist to help you identify what the severity of your depression is. Consulting a medical practitioner will also assist in assigning you the right kind of medication. To understand depression a bit better, visit this link. 


Prozac has been approved to be used by children and teenagers and therefore it is the most common drug when it comes to treating depression. This drug can be used to treat:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Migraines
  • Eating disorders 
  • Major depressive disorder 
  • Chronic pain
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Anxiety disorders 

A serotonin imbalance is found within people who suffer from these types of disorders. Prozac main function is to restore this imbalance. Some of the side effects of Prozac can include: blurry vision, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth and fatigue. These side-effects will go away in long-term use. The body just needs so time to get used to it.


Effectiveness of Antidepressants

Antidepressants are usually found in the form of a tablet. It has to be taken 2 consecutive weeks before its effectiveness stars working. Studies have shown that this type of medicines definitely works for people who have moderate to severe depression. 

When people experience side-effects, it is important not to stop taking it, because the side effects will most likely wear off in a couple of days. According to research weight gain from antidepressants can be a reality when you start using this type of medication. Some might gain weight from a certain type of antidepressant, while others won’t.

Is Weight Gain from Using Antidepressants a Myth?

Unfortunately, the answer is: No, it is not a myth! According to studies up to 25% of people using the common antidepressant like: Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft can have a weight gain of up to 10 pounds within a couple of weeks. 

The risk of adding the pounds can even last up to six years after treatment. The peak of this weight gain is usually at three years after you started taking this medication. It was found that people who were at a normal weight turned overweight almost overnight. 

Why do Antidepressants Cause Weight Gain?

This drug interferes with serotonin hormone in the human brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmission hormone that controls your appetite. This means people who use this medicine will have cravings for foods that is rich in carbohydrates. Some examples of these foods are pasta, bread and high in fat desserts. 

It is possible to avoid adding on the extra pounds by using these steps:

  • Talk to your doctor about your concerns 
  • Go for medical check ups
  • Consider changing to a different medication
  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise regularly 

Antidepressants and Estrogen 

One of the two primary female hormones are known as estrogen. This hormone’s most important function is that it plays a role in the menstrual cycle and childbirth. Another important function of this hormone is that protects the brain and also one’s mood. During the menopause years many women have reported that their changing estrogen levels have also made them gain a few extra pounds. It is also possible to avoid adding these pounds by:

  • Avoiding processed foods and drinking soda
  • Staying hydrated and drink enough water 
  • Eating high fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Staying active and exercising at least three times a week

Learn more about hormonal weight gain here: 


Gaining weight while using antidepressants can be a harsh reality. It is however preventable and some of these antidepressants may affect different people in different ways. There are ways to use this medicine and avoid adding those unwanted pounds. For those who need to take this medicine, a good diet and exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle. 



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