If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from depression, you may be familiar with the drug Zoloft. Zoloft is a brand name of the antidepressant drug sertraline hydrochloride which is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor or SSRI. An SSRI works by increasing the level of the “feel-good” hormone in the brain (serotonin). Aside from being a popular treatment for depression, Zoloft is also used to treat people who suffer from panic attacks and social anxiety.
Some of the positive effects that could be experienced after taking Zoloft include better sleep, improved mood, more energy, and better appetite. However, there is one unexpected consequence that has been noticed by many people taking the drug – weight gain.
Is your Zoloft prescription making you fat?
Many people confuse Zoloft with popular anti-anxiety meds such as Xanax. However, Xanax belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs so it functions differently from Zoloft. One main difference is that Xanax takes effect instantly so you can feel the effect within 1 to 2 hours after taking the drug.
On the other hand, it could take a couple of weeks for Zoloft to take full effect. Unlike benzodiazepines which should only be taken for the shortest amount of time possible (2 to 4 weeks max), Zoloft is intended to be a long-term treatment and can be taken for up to six months.
While taking Zoloft, many users have noticed an increase in their weight. At least 25% of Zoloft users gain at least 10 pounds after taking the drug. According to a study, this is more likely to happen with long-term use of the drug (6 months or more).
So, the answer to the question of whether Zoloft can make you gain weight is YES. It’s possible to gain weight while on Zoloft. One potential reason is that taking Zoloft can restore your appetite. As you start to feel better overall, you might be eating more without you realizing it.
Weight gain can be good news or bad news depending on how you look at it. If you were severely underweight when you were struggling with depression, gaining a few pounds can be an advantage. This only means that your body is recovering and you’re on your way to a healthier weight.
However, this can also be a disadvantage if gaining weight puts you at the risk of being overweight. Being overweight can have many health risks as well. Another side effect of weight gain is it can cause further depression and anxiety. Instead of the Zoloft helping you to get rid of your depression, gaining weight could add to your woes.
Losing the weight caused by antidepressants
If you feel that your weight gain is unhealthy, you have to consult with your doctor. Don’t stop taking Zoloft without professional advice from your doctor because doing so may backfire on your treatment program.
Avoid self-medicating by using weight loss pills or drinks. Even if the weight-loss products are advertised to be herbal or natural, they could interact with the medications that you are taking for your depression. It is also best to avoid taking other drugs and alcohol while on a Zoloft prescription. This is to avoid serious side effects or drug interactions that could take place.
The best way to lose the weight that you gained from taking anti-depressants is to follow a healthy lifestyle. Gaining back your appetite is a good thing but when you eat, concentrate on healthy food and avoid junk food. Instead of empty carbohydrates like sweets, sugar, pastries, and chips, go for fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, nuts, and healthy carbs.
Drinking a lot of water and staying active can also help you manage your weight. By exercising or engaging in physical activities, you’re also increasing your endorphins that will make you feel much better.
Are you psychologically addicted to Zoloft?
Because there is no instant effect when taking Zoloft, it is not often used as a recreational drug to get high. However, there are long-time users who become psychologically dependent on Zoloft. If you are one of these people and you feel that you are addicted to Zoloft, consult with a professional. It is possible to get off Zoloft safely and cure your depression at the same time with the right treatment program.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Morningside Recovery today.