How Long Does it Take to Lose Weight After Stopping Antidepressants?

In the U.S., more than 18 million adults battle with obesity. The majority of these adults are over the age of 40, and about 70% of them are clinically overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese can dramatically increase your risk of serious health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

If you’re among the millions of Americans suffering from obesity, you’re probably wondering: How long does it take to lose weight after quitting antidepressants? This is a common question among patients who decide to wean off of the medications, but don’t know how long it will take for their body to undergo a significant change. Although many experts state that it can take a year or more to see significant results, there are other individuals who have lost 10 pounds or more in just a few months – showing you don’t need to spend as much time as you think to achieve your desired weight.

Significant Changes May Take More Than 1 Year

If you’re among the individuals who have tried to lose weight in the past and haven’t been able to maintain the loss, you may be wondering: Does it take more than a year to lose weight once you stop taking antidepressants? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is yes. When researchers compared the weight loss of 44 obese adults who were either taking or who had quit taking antidepressants to 19 adults who were not obese, they found that it took the latter group about a year to see significant weight loss. This was echoed in a separate study that looked at the weight loss of 51 obese adults who were either taking or who had quit taking antidepressants, and compared it to the weight loss of 54 obese adults who were not on antidepressants. In that study, participants who were taking antidepressants lost about 5 pounds more than those who had quit taking the medications, and it took the latter group about a year to reach their predefined weight loss goal.

Why Don’t Antidepressants Work For All Patients?

There are many reasons why antidepressants might not work for some individuals. One possibility is that your body does not absorb the medication effectively. Another is that your brain chemistry may require a different medicine. However, if these medicines don’t work for you, there are alternatives including behavioral therapy and food supplements that may help. For some people, eliminating certain foods and losing a bit of weight can dramatically improve their mental health. So, if you’ve tried to lose weight and failed, don’t give up – there are other ways to reduce your body weight and get your body healthy again.

What Are the Most Popular Antidepressants?

In the U.S., the three most popular antidepressants are:

  • Celexa
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)

The data comes from a 2014 Truven Health Analytics MarketScan database which included 732,465 commercially insured adults who were either taking or who had tried to quit antidepressants. The analysis was funded by AstraZeneca.

These medications are relatively easy to obtain and relatively inexpensive. If you’re interested in trying these medications, be sure to consult with your physician to ensure that they’re right for you. While many patients find that these medications help to reduce their depression, anxiety, and mood swings, there are others who do not find that they help sufficiently and may require alternative treatments.

Do You Have to Wean Off Antidepressants to Lose Weight?

In the past, it was thought that you had to wean off of antidepressants to see significant weight loss. However, science now knows that this is not the case. In fact, in a study that looked at the weight loss of 55 obese adults who were either taking or who had quit taking antidepressants, the participants who had quit the medications lost about twice as much weight as those who were taking antidepressants. In that study, those who had quit antidepressants did not miss their medications, and those who had continued to take the medications did not experience an increase in their appetite. So, while it may take your body a bit of time to get rid of the medication, it does not necessarily mean that you will gain weight as a result.

If you’ve tried to lose weight and haven’t been able to maintain the weight loss, it may be time for a change. Instead of trying to eliminate food or use fad diets, why not try one of the many proven weight loss methods out there? With the proper guidance from a trained coach, you may be able to finally achieve the weight loss success you’ve been struggling for.