Prolonged use of antidepressants linked to weight gain, finds study

Prolonged use of antidepressants linked to weight gain, finds study

Research has linked obesity to an increased chance of developing depression whereas, depression is considered to be one of the key factors responsible for encountering weight management issues. It seems the prescription drugs used for treating the mental disorder might also have a critical role to play in one’s weight gain. According to a recent study by experts at the King’s College, London, commonly used antidepressants can heighten one’s chance of becoming obese, with the prolonged use tied to 21 percent increased chance of suffering from obesity.

For the study, the researchers analyzed body weight and body mass measurements of approximately 300,000 adults in the U.K. where their body mass index (BMI) was recorded at least thrice for 10 years (2004-2014). The participants were grouped as per their weight, BMI and whether they took antidepressants. The researchers also took into account other factors that could affect their weight gain, such as substance abuse, any other disease and other age-related factors. During the 10-year analysis, the patients on antidepressants were found to have 11.2 percent risk of weight gain (5 percent or more) compared to 8 percent risk for those not on medication.

The authors also discovered an increased risk (46.3 percent) of 5 percent or more weight gain during the second and third years of the treatment that continued till six years. Given the vast array of antidepressants prescribed, the team also explored the relationship between individual drugs and weight gain. Mirtazapine and citalopram had the maximum risk of 5 percent or more weight gain. As per the study researchers, weight gain should be taken into account while prescribing the antidepressants. According to the lead author of the study Dr. Rafael Gafoor, the study results call forth the need for sustained weight-management strategies in conjunction with antidepressant treatments. However, he cautioned patients to not stop their treatment and to consult with their health care professional, if required.

However, the study suffered from limitations. It did not establish a definitive causal connection between depression and obesity, and didn’t find out if the patients were taking antidepressants as prescribed by their therapist or misusing them.

Step toward comprehensive care

Depression is not the only cause of obesity; lack of activity and increased appetite are an ideal combination to gain weight. Additionally, other factors that link the two diseases and increase their susceptibility are lack of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle due to extreme sadness, poor self-image and low self-esteem. Regardless of the connection, if the two conditions co-exist, it requires an integrated approach to treat both the disorders. In addition to undergoing behavioral therapy and/or counseling sessions to deal with one’s depressive symptoms and identify the triggers leading to it, one should also seek assistance from a nutritionist or a personal trainer to get a comprehensive weight-loss program.

At Sovereign Health, we understand the complexities of mental disorders and their side effects therefore, our team of experts suggests comprehensive inpatient mental health treatment programs that help individuals effectively manage their symptoms, reduce fatigue and resume a more active lifestyle. In addition to offering personalized, clinical-based treatments to our patients, we also provide continuing care to reduce any chances of relapse. To know more about our treatment programs or locate our finest inpatient mental health treatment centers, call us at our 24/7 helpline (866) 973-7164 or chat live online with a member of our team.

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