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Apr 30

Do antidepressants cause weight gain?

Do antidepressants cause weight gain?

Depression is common, even here in Happy Valley. Getting treatment for depression is a noble thing to do, and sometimes it is necessary to take a prescription for it. But antidepressants have developed a bad reputation for supposedly combining a patients already severe depression with the stress of uncontrollable weight gain.

Is this true? Do antidepressants cause weight gain? The psychiatry department at the SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY conducted a year long experiment and this is what they found out.

Antidepressants block serotonin

Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that influences your mood and is responsible for letting your body know when it is time to eat and sleep. Many antidepressants block the serotonin receptors in your brain. This helps people with depression by putting them in a neutral mood, but it causes an insatiable appetite which leads to overeating.

There are some antidepressants that regulate serotonin more successfully than others, but finding the right balance of medication can take years in some cases. Now, doctors recommend that patients who are prescribed antidepressants be aware of their correlation with weight gain and plan to adjust their eating habits to help control their weight.

Early prevention is key

The best approach to preventing uncontrollable weight gain while taking antidepressants is to have a health plan and diet in place before beginning treatment. For most patients, simply knowing that increased appetite and cravings are part of the medication helps them prepare mentally to avoid overeating and stick to a strict diet. Patients who do this rarely see more than a .5 percent increase.

To learn more about treating depression and how to maintain a healthy weight, come see us at Mountain Peaks Family Practice.

 

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