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Depression and Weight Issues Have you been diagnosed with depression, are possibly on depression medication, and find it affects your weight loss efforts? Post here for support!

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Old 02-15-2010, 07:46 AM   #1
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Default Is weight gain a given? (Lexapro)

Hi all,

I've had an incredibly stressful year and my husband and I have started to see a therapist (separately for now). I have been experiencing a fair amount of anxiety the last 6 months or so to the point of shortness of breath and chest tightness. My therapist would like me to see my general practioner this week to consider starting a low dose of lexapro.

I'm concerned about weight gain among other side effects... is it a given?I'm also worried that if I need to be on it for 6 months to a year that it will be hard to come off of.

Any words of wisdom and experience are appreciated. I know I really need to pull myself together, but the thought of it all is scary.

Thank you!
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:16 AM   #2
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All I can tell you is what happened to me. It's been so long ago now that I hardly remember. I think I've been on paxil for over five years.

I do not remember if starting caused weight gain. What I do know is that I feel so much better.
After 4 to 6 weeks, I realised that I had the oomph to do all the things I needed to do. I was back "into" my hobbies. I wasn't struggling to make myself go to work. I was humming and singing. I was interested in exercise. I enjoyed food shopping.
My doctor told me I was a poster child for SSRI's. Because paxil worked, he knew I had the chemical imbalance that can be treated with them.
I still have reactional depressive episodes. Almost everyone does. Life sucks sometimes If I became overwelmed, I would go back to my doc. But, as a rule, my mood does lighten (maybe slower than most folks) as I work away at troubled times.
It's kind of like this ... I (with my chemical imbalance) seem to sink deeper into the mire of depression than "normal folks" and can't seem to pull myself out.
With my medication ... the playing field is more level. I react more like "normal folks" do. Does that make sense?

Now about the weight thing. I'm about 90% certain that without my meds, I could not do the things I have to do to stay healthy. My choices would be bad, my thinking not logical ...
On my medication, I feel good enough to do what I have to do.
Does the paxil make it harder? I have no way of knowing.
Did I gain weight at first? I don't remember.

Me, my disorder and my paxil are a unit now. And we are losing weight.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:05 AM   #3
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Hi walking. Sorry to hear about your recent struggles. I've been there and I know how much it sucks. From what I've read, Lexapro is supposed to be very good for panic and anxiety and yet has a low side effect profile. Yes, this does include weight gain but that's a given with all SSRI's. But I've had periods of pretty intense anxiety and I know it's really hard to live with.

That said, I am bipolar. I totally agree with SusanB about taking meds. I have finally found a good combination of meds that have me "off the roller coaster" as my doc puts it. I actually gained most of my extra weight when I wasn't on meds because I felt no motivation at all to eat well, exercise, etc. Now I feel more motivated to do the things I know I need to do. Am I perfect at it? Hardly, but I'm better about it. And as someone said in another thread, I'd rather be fat and feel good that be thin and crazy. It's just not worth it.

Just remember that if you do decide to try the meds, make sure you give it at least a month before you decide if it's working for you. Best of luck.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:28 PM   #4
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Thank you both so much. I have an appointment tomorrow at 11:45 -- my regular doctor is out of town this week, but I will get to talk to someone and hopefully give it a try. I am looking forward to feeling better, so I hope I too am a good candidate for SSRIs.

Thanks again, and I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:02 PM   #5
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When I first was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was prescribed lexapro at bedtime. Fibro is believed to be a neurotransmitter problem and SSRIs and SNRIs often help.

I'm on several drugs that affect neurotransmitters: amitriptyline, cyclobenzaprine (SSRIs) to help with sleep, and tramadol (an SNRI) for pain.


I do notice that hunger is a bit more of a problem while taking these drugs, but low carb eating helps tremendously. The drugs haven't prevented me from losing weight (all of the 80 lbs I've lost have been since taking these meds).
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:35 PM   #6
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I was on Lexapro for a couple of years, in combination with Welbutrin. It had a massive effect on slowing down my metabolism. But, I've also known people that have taken it and actually lost weight without trying. Everybody is a little different.

I'm taking a different combination of medications right now (still on the Welbutrin) and it's working, which is what is important.

I'm severely depressed. The medications are about the only thing that keep me from driving off an overpass on my way to work. And that allow me to function enough to work. That and my dogs. Those two furry little beasts are the best thing in the world. But, I also needed more.

Don't worry about weight gain. The important thing is to get yourself healthy and in a place where you can take care of yourself and your family. That is what is important. You may need to exercise a bit more (something I could never get myself to do), and maybe watch what you are eating a bit closer, but don't worry about the weight you may or may not gain from Lexapro.

What is important is you, not any "might happen".

Good Luck!
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:44 PM   #7
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I felt really, really good on Lexapro. My mood was better than it had been in YEARS. Unfortunately, it totally sapped my libido. I finally felt good enough to start dating and try to be in a relationship, but sexually--nothin'. I was interested but was totally unable to umm......yeah. It was like I was numb down there.

But that doesn't happen to everyone, so I would definitely give it a try. Like I said, it made my mood and my state of mind better than it had ever been. So I really liked it in that way. But I had to quit taking it for the other reason.

Weight wise? I don't think it affected my weight at all, or at least not that I remember.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:09 PM   #8
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I have been on Lexapro ever since it was developed from Celexa. I love it. Definitely give it 4-6 weeks before you decide if it is working or not.

As SusanB said, it helps me not go as low as I would have. I still get depressed. Just not debilitatingly. I don't remember if it had any effect on my weight. I know that it had an effect on my sanity!!!

Good luck!! There are so many options out there. My daughter (12 years old) has tried 3-4 different ones and Zoloft seems to finally be working for her. It all depends exactly what is causing the problem and, unfortunately, we have no way of defining that!!!
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:43 PM   #9
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I am definitely interested to hear others opinions on Lexapro and weight gain as well. I suffer from anxiety have been taking Lexapro for about a year and was experiencing some weight gain (although also eating very badly), about 6 mos. ago I added Remeron at night for sleep. Over the course of the last three years I have gained 30 lbs. I am now eating healthfully and exercising regularly (5-6 days a week) but the lbs. are coming off only VERY slowly (8lbs in 3 months). I am wondering if it is from the Lexapro or the Remeron? Or both together? I have talked to my doctor, and he says as long as I'm losing weight, even if it is slowly, not to worry about it because the medicines work so well for my anxiety. Walking-- I'd be interested to hear an update.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:52 AM   #10
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While I was on lexapro I did gain weight but it made my moods much better. I could feel it working the day I took it. But it did cause me to be tired as some drugs can do...so its worth the try. I didnt eat real healthy or really try to excercise so maybe if you are eating right you might not have any problem....but it worked well!
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:03 PM   #11
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I did not gain weight on Lexapro, but I did switch to Zoloft..
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:51 AM   #12
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I was on Lexipro for 1 year. I put on 80 lbs. I took my self off it when i read that it caused weight gain and that it was hard to take that weight off once it was one. It took me months to get off of it!! I could not stop cold turkey. I had nasty withdrawals. I cut my does in 1/2 for 2 weeks, then in 1/4s for 2 weeks..... then in 1/8s and was on the 1/8 for about 4-6 weeks... I WILL NOT go back on it! Yes it helped me tons with my depression but It helped my *** gain tons! If I need to go back on it... and I have insurance again... GOD BLESS THE USA!..... I will oppt for somthing other then this. My issue is i have S.A.D.... and I live in Oregon! LOL good luck with that lol.
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:44 AM   #13
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I lost 20 pounds last year while on Lexapro. I then decided to get off it due to the high cost. I stayed off for about 4 months but found that my anxiety was not under control. I have started back this week and am not feeling any increase in appetite. Lexapro makes me feel better emotionally and physically, so I plan to stay on it. (Sidebar: I now order my drugs from a reliable Canadian pharmacy for so much less. It's great!)
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