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What Anxiety Meds Cause Weight Loss

Meds That Cause Extreme Weight Loss

Can stress or anxiety cause weight loss?

For the past two weeks we have been considering those food-medication interactions which may cause weight gain, but there are also many medicines which suppress the appetite and cause anorexia and weight loss. I thought long and hard about including this aspect of food-drug interactions, because I did not want to impart information that can be misused in any way.

An appeal to readers

Please do not misinterpret the information in this article. It is intended for those patients who are being treated with the listed medications, who suffer from a suppressed appetite and weight loss. It is not meant for those members of the public who want or need to lose weight no matter how desperate you are. The list does include one or two medications that are used specifically for weight loss purposes, but you should under no circumstances try to obtain any of the other so-called anorexic medicines for slimming purposes. Many of these medications, such as the anticancer drugs, can cause severe side-effects and need to be taken under the supervision of a physician. Such medications are only intended to treat serious physical conditions, such as cancer or HIV or dementia, and should never be used for unintended purposes.

Anorexic medications

Appetite suppressing medications can be divided into a number of categories such as anti-infective drugs, antineoplastics, bronchodilators, cardiovascular drugs, stimulants and other medicines.

Anti-infective drugs:

  • Salbutamol sulphate


Special Benzodiazepine Risk Factors

Anyone who takes benzodiazepines can experience unpleasant or dangerous side effects. But certain individuals are at a higher risk:

People over 65. Older adults are more sensitive to the sedating effects of benzodiazepines. Even small doses can cause confusion, amnesia, loss of balance, and cognitive impairment that looks like dementia. Benzodiazepine use in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of falls, broken hips and legs, and car accidents. Long-term benzodiazepine use also increases the risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.

People with a history of substance abuse. Because theyre physically addicting and on their own and dangerous when combined with alcohol and other drugs, anyone with a current or former substance abuse problem should use benzodiazepines only with extreme caution.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women. Benzodiazepine use during pregnancy can lead to dependence in the developing baby, with withdrawal following birth. Benzodiazepines are also excreted in breast milk. Therefore, pregnant women need to have a thorough discussion about the risks and benefits of these medications with their prescribing doctor. If medication is necessary, the goal is the smallest effective dose.

The connection between benzodiazepines and accidents

Diuretics And Weight Loss

“Most blood-pressure-lowering medications do not result in changes in body weight,” says Gregg Fonarow, MD, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center i Los Angeles.

Diuretics are an exception. This blood pressure medication does cause weight loss. Also called “water pills,” diuretics are often the first drug of choice when a person is newly diagnosed with high blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic explains that diuretics work by getting the kidneys to rid the body of salt and water. In turn, that causes blood pressure to dip by reducing the amount of fluids flowing through the veins and arteries.

“Diuretics can result in weight loss often in the range of 1 to 2 kilograms,” Dr. Fonarow says. That’s equal to roughly 2 to 4.5 pounds.

However, the downside is that diuretics or diuretics on their own don’t always do the trick when it comes to blood pressure control, the Mayo Clinic says. That may prompt your doctor to add another medication into the mix or withdraw diuretic treatment altogether. In the case of stopping the use of diuretics, the European Society of Cardiology cautions that some patients may experience sudden weight gain due to a resulting increase in fluid retention.

Read Also: Can Anxiety Cause Urinary Retention

Drug Interactions And Overdose

While benzodiazepines are relatively safe when taken only occasionally and in small doses, they can be dangerous and even deadly when combined with other central nervous system depressants. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before combining medications.

Dont drink on benzodiazepines. When mixed with alcohol, benzodiazepines can lead to fatal overdose.

Dont mix with painkillers or sleeping pills. Taking benzodiazepines with prescription pain or sleeping pills can also lead to fatal overdose.

Antihistamines amplify their effects. Antihistaminesfound in many over-the-counter sleep, cold, and allergy medicinesare sedating on their own. Be cautious when mixing with benzodiazepines to avoid over-sedation.

Be cautious when combining with antidepressants. SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft can heighten benzodiazepine toxicity. You may need to adjust your dose accordingly.

Paradoxical effects of benzodiazepines

The benzodiazepines work because they slow down the nervous system. But sometimes, for reasons that arent well understood, they have the opposite effect. Paradoxical reactions are most common in children, the elderly, and people with developmental disabilities. They include:

  • Increased anxiety, irritability, agitation, aggression, and rage
  • Mania, impulsive behavior, and hallucinations

Why Wellbutrin Or Prozac May Be The Most Sensible Options

What anxiety medication causes weight loss? � Price and ...

Examples include phenelzine Nardil and tranylcypromine Parnate 8 9. I wanted to say something similar. It’s generally prescribed in two to three dosages per day to regulate the medication in the bloodstream. I am actually getting on this now.

  • Often, a combination of medication and a healthy lifestyle is the best treatment plan. This states their potential for increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in children, teens, and young adults during the early stages of treatment.

  • Long term use causes problems but most important- the withdrawals are hell and can do permanent damage.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy and improved self-care plans can help with managing these concerns. This changes the level of the impact of these neurotransmitters in the brain.

  • I was wondering if you were a JW.

  • Weaning off antidepressants, including Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, and others, can come with some side effects.

  • If a person gains weight, it’s sometimes unknown if that is due to a side effect of the antidepressant itself.

Most prescription antidepressants are part of a drug. Wellbutrin bupropion. Switching antidepressants needs to axniety done carefully and with the help of your doctor. Remeron mirtazapine. However, any side effectweight gain includeddepends entirely on how your body reacts to the medication. You can optimize both your physical and mental healthin fact, they often feed off one another.

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Also Check: How To Tell If Shortness Of Breath Is From Anxiety

When To See A Doctor

If you are concerned about or are experiencing significant weight changes while taking an antidepressant, you may want to talk with your healthcare provider. A doctor may be able to change your medication, alter your dose, refer you to a nutritionist, recommend lifestyle changes, or help address any questions or concerns you have about your medications.

Is There A Treatment

Treating weight loss isn’t necessarily related to anxiety itself. You simply need to make sure you’re eating, talk to a doctor to rule out other symptoms, and keep exercising to ensure that you’re promoting good health. There is nothing you can do in the short term to regain weight that’s healthy for your body.


Anxiety can cause a lot of nervous movements, changes to diet, and other activities that may contribute to weight loss. Weight loss as a symptom is not typically something a person needs to address unless there are dietary issues, but because anxiety can be harmful to the body, it is still important to treat anxiety overall.

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Antianxiety Medicines That Cause Weight Loss

Anxiety is a common condition that affects many people. Different types of medication treat anxiety, restlessness, and panic attacks. These medicines are called anxiolytics. These are particularly useful in combination with cognitive therapies and other behavioral therapies. Doctors usually use an antidepressant, but there are other classes of medicines to treat anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders therapy works best when the patient works in close consultation with the doctor to find the right individual treatment plan. If a patient experiences side effects of any drug, he should consult his doctor and should not decide to stop the drug dose.

Anxiety Can Mess With Your Sleep Which Has Links To Weight Gain

Anxiety Medications and Weight Loss

Getting plenty of high quality sleep is essential for managing your weight.

A small 2010 study found that participants lost less body fat and more lean mass when they slept for 5.5 hours rather than 8.5 hours. Those who slept for less time also reported feeling more peckish during their waking hours.

But for those who have an anxiety disorder, catching enough Zzzs can be a real challenge.

Anxiety can cause disrupted sleep and, in turn, increased fatigue. Both of these things can cause you to crave unhealthy foods, burn fewer calories, and decrease your willpower to avoid unhealthy food, says Sari Chait, PhD, a clinical psychologist based in Newton, Massachusetts.

When you dont get enough sleep, not only are your defenses down , but sleep deprivation also throws your bodys hunger system for a loop.

One research review found that participants who got less sleep produced more ghrelin than participants who slept a full 8 hours.

Recommended Reading: Why Do I Get Anxiety After Drinking

How Can I Lose Weight While On Antidepressants

Losing weight is often a struggle, especially when a person is also living with a mood disorder. The causes are multiple. Increased appetite and carbohydrate craving, along with reduced activity level, are common symptoms of depression. And yes, certain antidepressants and other medications may increase appetite. However, most medications do not alter metabolism, per se. Thus, weight loss can still occur when attention is given to other factors, including the composition and timing of dietary intake.

Eating more frequently and smaller amounts, increasing the relative amount of protein eaten , reducing breads and starches, eating a healthful breakfast, and avoiding large meals or snacks late in the evening can provide a more balanced diet throughout the entire day.

If one believes their current efforts to lose weight should be more productive, a consultation with a nutritionist may be helpful. If that isnt possible, keeping a written log of ones consumption may provide clues to problem areas and reinforce better dietary habits. In particular, check out the nutritional content of commonly eaten foods and foods believed to be healthy.

Chronic, low-grade sleep deprivation is another contributor to obesity. Skipping sleep leads to persistently elevated levels of the bodys stress hormone, which can cause elevated blood sugar levels and increased fat stores. Staying up late may also make one more prone to late night snacking.

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Thyroid Conditions And Weight Loss

It should be noted that one of the few causes of anxiety that is purely physical is the development of hyperthyroid. With too much thyroid hormone, your metabolism is too fast and this can cause rapid weight loss. Hyperthyroidism may also be a cause of anxiety.

That’s why, even though anxiety is often the cause of unexplained weight loss in people living with anxiety, it’s still a good idea to check with a doctor. There are many simple tests to rule out hyperthyroidism.

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Anxiety Can Reduce Your Appetite

Have you ever been so worried about an assignment or chore that youve worked right through lunch? Or stewed in your room for hours on end about a particular problem before realizing that youve lost a whole chunk of time without eating?

There may well be stress hormones behind your lost appetite. A research review found that your body produces a hormone called corticotropin-releasing factor that messes with your desire to eat.

Eating less food while your metabolism is potentially amped up could mean that you start shedding a few pounds.

Anxiety doesnt only chip away at the pounds. It can be just as likely to trigger changes that increase your body mass.

Anxiety Can Make It Harder To Make Healthy Food Choices


It can sometimes be difficult to focus on whats best for you when your brain and body are screaming at you about everything under the sun.

People with anxiety may have a hard time making decisions about what to eat, resulting in them eating more unhealthy food, Chait says.

Its also much easier to lose track of what youre eating when youre feeling anxious. That distracted eating can add up to extra pounds.

Similarly, anxiety can cause people to be distracted, which may cause them to eat aimlessly, paying less attention to what theyre eating or how much theyre eating, Chait says.

Also Check: How To Treat Anxiety Disorder

What Are Anxiety Medications And How Do They Work

Anxiety is a normal and useful response to potentially stressful or dangerous situations. It increases our awareness of what’s going on around us. For most people, anxiety is short-lived and normally goes away once the situation has passed. This is not the case for an estimated 40 million adults in the United States who have some type of anxiety disorder and experience ongoing and unwarranted psychological distress. That distress may also manifest itself in physical symptoms such as muscletension, headaches, or chest pain.

Anxiety medications include multiple types of drugs that are used to treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders. The three most commonly prescribed types of anxiety medication are

  • anti-anxiety medications , and
  • beta-blockers.

Antidepressants and anxiolytic medications work primarily by affecting the balance of certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. Beta-blockers and other types of drugs are used to address the physical symptoms that may accompany an anxiety attack. First-generation antihistamines are also used to help with anxiety symptoms because they have a sedating effect.

Anxiety disorders are associated with certain chemical imbalances in the brain involving neurotransmitters such as

These chemicals are associated with an individual’s sense of well-being or with the ability to relax.

How Anxiety May Cause Weight Loss

  • Anxiety has a complex relationship with weight, and can be responsible for weight gain or in some cases weight loss.
  • Weight loss from anxiety is typically safe, but not necessarily considered a healthy form of weight loss.
  • Its important to know the causes of weight loss so you can monitor your lifestyle habits and changes and see if you need to alter your behaviors or diet.
  • Weight loss itself can also contribute to anxiety, so it is important to address anxiety and rule out other conditions.
  • Reducing anxiety may or may not cause the weight to go or come back, but is important for healthier living.

Read Also: Is It Anxiety Or Depression

S To Avoid Weight Gain When Starting A Psych Medication

Asking for a referral to a qualified weight loss program in your area is a good idea, says Dr. McGee. What else?

  • Focus on what and how you eat
  • Don’t eat for gratification, boredom, or self-soothing or overeat to punish yourself
  • Discuss whether weight loss medicines, in addition to the structured weight loss program, may be appropriate, at least to start.

According to Dr. Gonzalez-Campoy, ”along with a prescription for antipsychotic medications and most antidepressants, a concomitant prescription for weight management should be provided .”

And for those on antipsychotics, you should be made aware of the health risks that come with significant weight gain such as the development or worsening of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, he says. These are medical issues that should be monitored as well, he says.

The bottom lineFor anyone who is taking an antidepressant or antipsychotic medication: “Taking these medications is very important,” Ms. Christensen says. “Don’t be concerned about the potential weight gain because that can be mitigated .”

None of the healthcare practitioners had relevant financial conflicts with regard to this study.

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