Frequently Asked Questions About Depression And Weight Gain

I have been called fat for as long as I could recall. When I was still in elementary school, I was oblivious about it, even though some of my classmates often compared me to Miss Piggy. My father used to say that I should not be ashamed to show them that we had a lot of food at home, so I genuinely did not care about their words.

When I entered middle school, I never admitted it to anyone, but I became conscious about my body. After all, I knew most of the kids there, and they did not stop calling me fat. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, though, I learned how to talk back to people. And the more I got bullied because of my weight, the more burgers, pizzas, and fries I ate.

As soon as I got my high school diploma, I thought that I could finally get a breather from all the bullies who taunted me. However, my assumption did not prepare me for the fact that bullies existed even in college. They did not happen on the campus, but they were rampant in the dorms where I lived.

Getting Bullied Because Of My Size

Everything started in the mess hall. The caretaker prepared our breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it was practically a buffet every time, so I got two of every dish. As I enjoyed my food, I caught a few Barbie-like girls laughing while looking at me in my peripheral vision. Of course, my initial reaction was to glare at them. I learned early that acting tough before others could do that often made them shut up.

In this particular case, though, it was different. One of them – I assumed she was the leader – smirked at me. “Are you still hungry, Porky? There is more food in the dumpster,” she said. Her voice was loud enough for everyone to hear, and many laughed with her crew.

From that day on, people called me Porky. It honestly did not bother me much initially; I thought it was no different from what I experienced in middle or high school. However, the same Barbie squad was determined to turn me into the dorm’s laughingstock. 

In one instance, I left my laundry in the washing machine for 30 minutes. When I came back, my clothes were gone. I asked around until my roommate pointed outside our window. To my horror, all my clothes were strewn across the lawn, earning laughter from passersby. Another time, the Barbie squad dressed as the houses from the story The Three Little Pigs and made a show of running away whenever they saw me because my fattiness apparently attracted the big, bad wolf.

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Succumbing To Criticisms

My favorite Broadway actress, Cynthia Erivo, mentioned in a concert that she did not want to sing I’m Here after leaving The Color Purple musical because the taunting scenes that took place before that took an emotional toll on her. She said something along these lines: “As time goes by, the hurtful words get past the skin and start to affect the person within.”

I did not understand her the first time, but I finally did when I spiral down to depression after hearing people comment harshly about my body almost every day. I hardly left my room; I refused to talk to anyone. I only found solace in eating, but then I realized that I gained more weight and felt even more depressed. 

Can depression make you put on weight? 

The simple answer is that yes, depression can make you put on weight. The extra pounds can be due to appetite disturbances or sleeplessness, given that people may use sweets and fatty foods as a coping mechanism for their depressive thoughts. Some medications (e.g., Celexa, Paxil, Zoloft, etc.) can also have this side effect. 

However, there is an ongoing theory that connects depression and obesity. Practically speaking, some scientists claim that dealing with the latter likely leads to the former. And once you feel depressed, you may start eating more to feel something other than hopelessness or lack of self-worth.

What is the best antidepressant to avoid weight gain? 

In reality, it is challenging to find an antidepressant that can prevent you from gaining weight – it is a side effect that most people deal with. There are not enough studies to indicate why antidepressants affect the weight that way either. Nevertheless, year-long research was conducted in partnership with the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Experimental Drugs and Diagnostics. They looked at the effect of various antidepressants on less than 20,000 individuals for three months at the least.

This particular study revealed that newer drugs were better at helping people avoid weight gain than older ones. We’re talking about medications with generic names like bupropion and nortriptyline, although the first-mentioned turned out to be the best antidepressant in this area.

How can I lose weight while taking antidepressants? 

The most surefire way to lose weight while you are taking antidepressants is by following a workout regime. However, if you need this type of medication to feel better, you may deal with exhaustion or lack of energy too often to consider getting out of bed. In that case, below are a few other options for you:

  • Consume more potassium-rich foods while balancing your sodium intake. According to studies, antidepressants can put you at higher risk of experiencing low sodium levels (hyponatremia) than anyone. The potassium is then necessary to ensure that you can flush out the excess salt in your body.
  • Break down your meals into smaller ones. That is especially recommended if you realize that your antidepressant boosts your appetite. Increasing your meals may help you reduce your food consumption.
  • Get enough sleep every night. Sometimes, the best weight-loss tip is to keep your eyes closed and let your body rest. After all, when you are fast asleep, you won’t feel tempted to eat anything.

Which antidepressants cause the most weight gain? 

A study revealed that tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and mirtazapine cause the most weight gain. The reason is that they tend to make a person crave carbohydrates a lot while trying to improve their mood or serotonin level.

The thing is, not everyone who takes the same antidepressants gains weight. As another study showed, you will know if the drug causes weight gain during the first month of taking it. If you put on more than 3% of your original weight, it entails that you may keep on gaining a few extra pounds. Obesity can also make you more prone to weight gain than others. 

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Can citalopram cause weight gain? 

The first time you take citalopram, you may experience weight loss, considering it may inhibit you from getting hungry. This is normal since your body is not used to the drug. However, once you get used to it, your appetite may return or even increase, thus causing weight gain.

In case you are gaining too much weight due to citalopram, try consulting your psychiatrist about it. This specific antidepressant is known to cause a bit of weight gain, but this side effect should not be excessive.

Which antidepressant is best for anxiety? 

A Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) is the best antidepressant to combat anxiety. This type of drug works by slowing down the reabsorption of serotonin so that your mood can stabilize and you can start reasoning. Some of the best SSRIs include citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, and escitalopram.

Nevertheless, SSRIs do not take effect overnight. It is common for psychiatrists to prescribe such antidepressants between six and 12 months before reducing the dosage or intake frequency gradually. 

Is there a medication that treats both depression and anxiety? 

Yes, there is a medication that treats both depression and anxiety. It is typically known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). In case that does not work for the patient, psychiatrists may prescribe a tricyclic antidepressant or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) as an alternative.

Various studies suggest that such antidepressants not only treat depression and anxiety but also reduce nerve pain. It all depends on what brand you get.

What is the number one antidepressant? 

A Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) is the number one antidepressant at the time of writing. The idea behind this is that a person’s serotonin level may be at the lowest point while dealing with depression. By taking an SSRI, though, your serotonin supply may increase or at least be put to good use.

What is the most successful antidepressant? 

Citalopram is perhaps the most successful antidepressant to date. This selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) has been celebrated as one of the only medications that do not cause people to gain weight excessively. In truth, some studies have even used it as a reference as they examine how antidepressants affect a person’s weight.

You may know this antidepressant under the brand names Cipramil, Celexa, etc.

Is there a happy pill for depression? 

Yes, there is a happy pill for depression. The first drug known as such is Miltown, and it has been getting produced since the 1950s. If you are looking for a newer happy pill, though, you may ask your psychiatrist if you can get Prozac or Valium.

What is the best natural antidepressant? 

Assuming you do not want to take pills, the best natural antidepressant is St. John’s wort. Although FDA is still yet to approve its effectiveness, many people believe that this plant has helped raise their serotonin level. A collection of studies supported this idea in 2008 and revealed that it could work as an antidepressant for mild or moderate depression.

Despite that, it is imperative to ask your physician(s) whether you can take St. John’s wort or not, especially if you are taking other medications for various illnesses. It can negatively react to contraceptives, chemotherapy drugs, or even blood thinners.

What is the new treatment for depression? 

A newly approved treatment for depression is called Stanford Accelerated Intelligent Neuromodulation Therapy (SAINT). This brand-new magnetic brain stimulation method is supposed to take effect faster than other depression treatments. It works by targeting specific magnetic pulses that cause people to feel depressed or think of suicidal thoughts.

The researchers tested SAINT on depressed individuals who failed to experience relief from other therapy or medication forms. Though everyone started with suicidal thoughts, 19 out of the 21 participants reports that they no longer had those ideas post-treatment.

Is there hope for treatment-resistant depression? 

Yes, there is hope for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). It comes in the form of esketamine, an antidepressant that gained FDA approval in early 2019. It is primarily known as a byproduct of ketamine, though esketamine is stronger than the latter. Studies reveal that people with TRD have experienced a positive effect after taking esketamine.

The thing is, this drug is not manufactured in capsule, tablet, or pill form. Instead, it has to be administered through an injection or nasal spray. 

Do antidepressants damage your brain?

In reality, yes, antidepressants damage the brain. While taking these drugs, they may help your brain create new neural pathways. But once you stop, the connections may die and no longer grow back. 

Psychiatrists typically explain this side effect to their patients; that’s why some choose to try alternative treatments. However, others are willing to take a risk to get rid of their mood or anxiety disorder.

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Final Thoughts

I got in touch with a psychologist and therapist, and they both helped me understand how my depression could affect my weight and vice versa. I ended up transferring to another college to get away from the bullies, living healthily, and starting anew. The lifestyle changes I had to make were challenging, but a few months later, my sacrifices paid off as I lost weight and did not need antidepressants to get rid of my depression.