Antidepressant medications can be hugely helpful—even life-saving—for those who suffer from certain types of mood disorders. But they can also sometimes cause people to gain a significant amount of weight. Not so helpful.
Studies indicate that about 25% of the people who take antidepressant medications report significant weight gain. This is seen more commonly in those who take these drugs for six months or more, but it’s not uncommon for people to report gaining 8-10 pounds within just a few weeks of starting drug therapy. Either way, it’s a bummer. You can easily imagine that frustration and negative feelings about weight gain could cancel out whatever mood elevating benefits the drugs are delivering!
Are Antidepressants Worth it?
There’s also some controversy over how much these drugs are really helping the millions of people who are taking them. My friend Dr. Ellen Hendriksen of the Savvy Psychologist podcast reviewed some of the research on this in a recent episode of the Savvy Psychologist. According to Ellen, studies suggest that a lot of people get little to no benefit. The drugs seem to work best in those with severe depression or, at the other end of the spectrum, for those with mild but long-lasting depression.