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Prozac, Xanax and loosing weight


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Before ever being on medication for my bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders - I was 5'6 and between 106 - 115 pounds. I didn't really exercise too much and didn't have a specific diet. I had a "nervous" stomach so I had problems keeping food down and had some irritable bowel problems as well - which probably helped keep my weight so low.
I had been on Prozac, Wellbutrin, Xanax, and sleeping pills for a few years and have gained a lot of weight. I am now at 165 pounds. I am overweight for my small body frame. I have been yo-yo dieting and exercising on and off like crazy while being on the meds. It seems that it was almost impossible to even loose a couple pounds with all the medication in my system.
I finally decided to get rid of all the meds and deal with my anxiety and issues on my own. There were just way too many side effects, including weight gain and memory loss relating to them.
I've been off my meds for about a month and a half now. I am thinking more clearly and haven't gained any more weight. I've just never had to diet or exercise much before the meds and now, I feel so unmotivated and discouraged that I will ever loose the weight - since I have been battling the medication in my system for so long.
I was just wondering if there is anyone on this site that is dealing with any similiar issue with anti depressants or anti anxiety meds and trying to loose weight?
Edited Oct 31 2007 04:27 by nycgirl
Reason: Transferred to Health & Support forum. PMed OP.
9 Replies (last)

Wow, this is so similar to my story....

I used to weigh around 122 lbs (5ft 7) before I started with the 'dreaded pills'.  I got really stressed and couldn't cope and the doctor put me on anti-depressants.  Worst thing ever!!!!

I recall saying to the doctor that I didn't want to take them if I was going to gain weight because I had enough problems and I knew inside that if I gained I would be even more depressed, just another thing to worry about.  They told me that it would be fine but they LIED........

I went up to 155 lbs even though I was eating about the same as before so it could only have been the pills. 

I hated being on the tablets, they made me feel sick, couldn't sleep, had terrible nightmares, night sweats and looked like cr&p.  All they did was 'numb' my real feelings and sort of enable me to 'exist' with my rubbish life and my problems, they don't actually solve anything and because you're numb you can't even express properly how you feel to help you get better.

I'm off them now, thank god, came off them cold turkey myself, the doctor would have had me on them for a lot longer but no way.  Also, my hair started getting thin which really p*ssed me off.  I always had great hair too, but those nasty pills even messed that up and it costs me a bomb at hairdressers now.

I'm trying to deal with my problems myself, although it's not easy as I'm sure you know only too well but there is no way I'm going back on them, they've just added to my worries, big style.  Counsellors are no good either, no-one knows me better than I do myself, I've tried them and I got nowhere.

I used to be 'happy' with my size, the way I looked in my clothes etc but now since I've put this extra weight on I can't fit into anything nice and don't even feel like going out anywhere cos I look so bad.

I do know that if I lost this weight though and got back to my 'happy' weight that my worries would reduce but like you say it's hard with the motivation side of things when we already feel down.

Maybe we could help each other out, email me if you want to discuss further & good luck with your recovery and weight loss.  We HAVE to do it Yell

#2  
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I too belong in this little club.  I have been on med's for depression, anxiety, and sleep for several years now and have gained over 20 lbs.  I cut back on all the meds except 20 mg lexapro and ambien for sleep.  I'm a little scared to cut these out of my life with my depression/sleep issues.  How are you guys handling things without the meds.  I'm wondering if I should give it a shot. 

 It's just soooooo hard to diet when your depressed and trying to deal with getting through the day.  I wish so much that I wouldn't get so down on myself.  I too have been to counselors and didn't really feel it helped (funny thing is I have a degree in counseling and worked with children for many years).  I think I know all the strategies they suggest but I need the support of some friends to keep me motivated to make positive changes in my life. 

 I would like to be part of this forum to help other like minded people with motivation, weight loss and positive outlooks.  I'm working on a new computer and don't have any pictures uploaded yet but I'll get to that soon.

Have a good day!

 Laurie

I had the exact opposite experience. I'm also bipolar and I cannot take antidepressants without a mood stabilizer - sends me right into la-la manic land. Before my official diagnosis I was taking Prozac and Xanax and I *lost* weight. Massive amounts, effortlessly. Because I couldn't stop moving, fidgeting, pacing, racing, exercising like a fiend...  and I also completely lost my appetite. I was so friggin' wired up, 24x7!!!

At one point I went cold turkey -flushed all the meds - and that was a huge mistake because I got violently ill. You're not supposed to stop abruptly - you're supposed to taper. Learned that the hard way. :-(

Then they put me on Lithium (at this point I was hearing God talk to me, seeing angels, etc).... and it worked like a charm. Didn't need any antianxiety meds. I did take Klonopin initially to help with the sleep, but eventually could sleep without it. I did gain weight while on lithium, but I could afford it at that point. I regained back to a normal weight, but also got puffy all over, from all the water you have to drink while on that med. It was mostly water retention. Eventually my weight stabilized. Every pound was worth the mental stability. Mania is scary. :-(

P.s. I once tried Wellbutrin to quit smoking, and it also flipped me into a manic episode.
#4  
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Hi - good for you for taking control! That's a huge accomplishment!

My average weight was 140 lbs, pre-depression (at 5'6-5'7). With paxil (and to be fair, a certain amount of inactivity) I ballooned up to 198 lbs. I'd been on 25 mg for three years. 

Slowly weaned myself off the paxil. (Similar reasons - felt flaky, disconnected, not depressed but not 'myself'.) Stayed fat.

When I moved to a city that required me to walk everywhere, and which had healthier fast food options (sandwiches vs big macs), I lost all the 'paxil' weight . 

I was lucky in that i didn't have to fight hard to fit healthy behaviours in my life, the city almost did it for me. But it is completely possible to lose 'drug' weight. 

But give yourself time to get over the rollercoaster your body's been through - it's been less than two months! Just getting off these medications is a big deal. Appreciate the good work you've done so far, and be kinder to yourself!

(I'm here because i gained some weight back after quitting smoking, but that's ok with me...)

I'd suggest choosing physical ativities you like for their own sake, and keeping busy in other ways. Recover your old interests, get to know new one - don't fixate on 'body' stuff.

Good luck, and congratulations! 

Again you could totally be me ;)

I'm dx'd depression and panic disorder so I take Celexa and Valium for that. Previous I was on Prozac and lost 15lb then Remeron and put on 60lb Surprised

I also have IBS and if I am not careful I lose weight just by that but it's a way no normal human being would ever want to lose weight!

Slowly and surely taking the Remeron weight off so I sympathise, it does come off. If you're still struggling with issues have you tried hypnotherapy or CBT? I got the second free on the NHS via my psych nurse, looks like you're not in the UK but maybe something similar?

My memory is shot now from the meds :( it's worth it to be able to walk panic free along the street though.

I never thought about weight gain with the meds, years ago i was on Prozac for depression, that made me lose a little weight. Now im on Effexor XR and Im also in menopause. I really need something for anxiety, so i wont be going off of them, does anyone have any ideas? I mean, how do you nknow for sure? When i first put on weight i was on Steriods for bronchitus, that was 20 lbs within days, then a second round of them, 2 years later, another 20 lbs, im still trying to lose it!!!

#7  
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why does everybody gain weight on anti depressants? D:

 

i'm afraid i might be prescribed some,

 

but i'm worried now.

 

do they affect the metabolism?

#8  
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Uptowndoll:

I'm in the same boat.  Happy Thanksgiving by the way!  Eat tums like they are my  breakfast, lunch and, dinner.  I am on Prozac, Wellbutrin, Xanax, and sleeping pills.  Oh and my husband just left me and my kids after being together for 20 years for a 21 yr old and i am 46.  Have bad memory loss for 6 years now even asked the dr if I was getting alzheimer's disease.  I dont know what to say to you cuz I am in a bad space and my wieght loss (I was 216) prior to him leaving one month ago.  But I feel like we have a few things in common.

A few things going on here. First off, prozac is an appetite suppressant - I know because I have to take it partially for mood, and partially because i'm underweight as a result of an eating disorder. When you are underweight, your body tries to get you up to a normal, healthy weight as a defense mechanism. The reason i am taking prozac is because, for me, this leads to binge/purge episodes, because i'm not mentally in a strong enough place where I can deal with the bingeing, even though I know my body is doing it to try to help me. The prozac kills this binge drive and allows me to focus on mechanical eating at regular times during the day.

 

Now, xanax, which is a brand name for alprazolam, can cause an increase in appetite, but I know for me the positivies outweigh the negatives because otherwise I am so so anxious all the time. Think about this one carefully, because taking it may put you at more ease about eating/dieting in general. It really depends on the person.

A quick question - how old were you when you were 5'6 and 106-115lbs?I ask, because if you were a teenager at the time, consider the fact that as we get into late teens and early 20s, bodies change: hips spread, more fat deposits on the hips to facilitate childbirth etc. This is all normal and expected for women.

I ask about  your age because this is quite underweight for someone who is 5'6. Again, I know because i'm there. It's very very difficult to maintain at such a low weight, so getting back there is probably an unrealistic goal. Reasonably, you should probably aim for around 130lbs if you have a small frame. Personally, I have an extremely small frame, and this is the weight that my doctors want me at, even though I have never been at that weight in my life! It is realistic...likely for both of us because we both have small frames and are the same height.

Are you totally averse to taking medication? Do you struggle with bingeing at all, or has the weight gain been over a significant period of time? There are many medications that help to counteract bingeing if that is the issue, but again you need to weigh the cost vs benefit. Topomax, which is brand name for Topiramate, is an awesome medication for getting rid of appetite, but for me it caused all sorts of cognitive difficulties like memory loss, extreme fatigue (sleeping 15ish hours a day), dysnomia & word searching and confusion.

The problem with psych meds is you need to fiddle with them a lot to get the "right ones" and the "right doses". It's a process, I know. Hang in there and feel free to PM if you need to talk!

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