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Depression can be challenging to deal with, affecting your physical and mental health. Treatments like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and medication can be great ways to find relief. When looking into treatments, it is important to find one that matches your needs. Finding a treatment option that is right for you is unfortunately not always simple. Different options come with unique advantages and disadvantages. Antidepressants, for example, are often associated with weight gain. Understanding the potential risks of any medical treatment is essential to staying informed. By learning more about how antidepressants may be related to weight gain, you can make more educated decisions about your treatment.

Do antidepressants cause weight gain? The answer is complicated. There are many different kinds of antidepressant treatments that are associated with different side effects. While some depression medications are linked to weight gain, not all antidepressants have this effect. The same medication may also affect different patients in unique ways. Speaking with a healthcare professional can help you determine whether a treatment is suitable for you. Important factors to consider include your specific condition, treatment history and potential side effects.

The link between antidepressants and weight gain

Weight gain is a common concern when it comes to antidepressants. Several factors can contribute to this side effect. Changes in appetite, metabolism and physical activity can all play a role. Some medications, for example, function by affecting your brain’s serotonin receptors. Changes in your serotonin levels can lead to unhealthy cravings. You may find yourself wanting a lot of carb-heavy foods and sweets. The sudden increase in appetite can increase your chances of gaining weight. Some medications have the opposite effect. If you feel less hungry while on depression meds, you may experience drastic weight loss. Sudden fluctuations in weight in either direction can be unhealthy. If you lose a lot of weight, you may be experiencing malnutrition due to your loss of appetite.

In addition to appetite, another key factor to consider is your daily physical activity level. One of the most common symptoms of depression is a lack of energy. You may feel like you do not have the energy or motivation to do things that involve physical exertion. People with lower activity levels are often at higher risk for weight gain. While this is not directly related to medication, it may be one reason why antidepressant treatments often coincide with weight gain. Some antidepressants also come with side effects like fatigue and drowsiness. These effects can exacerbate the issue.

Your metabolism may play a role as well. Some experts theorize that antidepressants can affect the way your body processes food. If your body struggles to convert nutrients, you may experience weight changes that seem unrelated to your diet. Regardless of the process at play, experiencing weight gain caused by antidepressants can be concerning. Utilizing other forms of treatment can help you find improvement with minimal side effects.

Antidepressant alternatives to help avoid weight gain

  • TMS — TMS, short for transcranial magnetic stimulation, works by stimulating certain brain regions with magnetic pulses. It targets regions associated with mood regulation, which makes it an effective treatment for depression. TMS is often recommended for people with depression that has resisted other forms of treatment. Because it works differently from most other treatments, TMS has the potential to offer major breakthroughs. Since TMS does not affect appetite, this can make it a promising alternative for patients who are concerned about their weight.
  • Spravato Spravato (esketamine) is a medication that comes in the form of a nasal spray. Unlike some medications, it can provide fast and reliable results. Spravato affects glutamate, an important neurotransmitter. Glutamate performs many functions in the brain, from maintaining memory to managing sleep cycles. By taking Spravato in conjunction with an oral antidepressant, you can work toward a reduction in your depressive symptoms. The side effects that may come with Spravato typically fade within hours. This means you do not have to worry about long-term symptoms like appetite changes.

Discover antidepressant alternatives without weight gain at Active Path Mental Health

Sudden weight gain or loss from antidepressants is a valid concern. The right treatment plan can help you find relief without worrying about major side effects. At Active Path Mental Health, our team is ready to help you find treatment that is effective and safe. We offer a range of non-invasive treatments like TMS and Spravato. For more help on your mental health journey, counseling services are also available.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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