Anxiety, Celexa and Weight Gain

One reader who has taken Celexa (citalopram) for and anxiety disorder wrote:

I had been in a bad way when I decided to take medication. I had been off my food (extremely rare for me) and had been suffering a month of continued anxiety, which seemed to be some kind of Acute Stress Response. My usual weight was generally in the region of about 86KGs but when my exercise regime had been lacking my weight was closer to 89KGs.

When I started the Celexa I weighed only 82KG. I remember this distinctly because it was the only thing that made me happy. Being anxious and depressed, and feeling night-time panic, had seen my appetite drop massively and I was thinner than I ever remembered being.

After a few weeks on Celexa my appetite came back with a vengeance. I saw this as a positive thing and I was able to enjoy food again. The problem was that my appetite turned vast and I couldn’t say no to sweet foods and high carbohydrates. I stayed on Celexa as it was very effective with dealing with my anxiety levels and my mood. My free-floating depression all but vanished.

Another common side effect of Celexa (and other SSRIs) is lethargy, and I didn’t feel very inclined to do exercise. In fact that’s an understatement; I couldn’t muster the energy to do anything taxing at all. People started telling me I was putting on weight but that didn’t seem to bother me, I shrugged it off. But when I weighed myself I got a shock. I was nearly 100KGs!!!

This immediately inspired me to cut sweets, added sugar, bread and much more from my diet. I also started to do more vigorous exercise. The results were quite dramatic. I managed to lose 2.3KGs in one week and am now on the road to my old weight again. I am still on the Celexa while I go through therapy, but now I have my eating under control. I am glad I used this medication and I am sure it helped me a lot.

You don’t have to put on weight when you use Celexa, but it is good to be aware of the risks and keep an eye on your diet so you can check any negative changes.

4 Replies to “Anxiety, Celexa and Weight Gain”

  1. Your article was wonderful and deserving of lots of thanks. I just started on Celexa yesterday as the Effexor I had been taking for five years didn’t seem to be working anymore. I have been concerned about the weight gain with Celexa, I have always been slender and to gain weight throws me into depression itself! Now I know that I need to, besides taking my medicine, make sure I incorporate a good diet regimen as well as an exercise program so that this will not hinder me in any way! Thanks again!

  2. Yes, I agree. For me it has only been possible to lose the weight I gained while I’ve been on Celexa by going on the Atkins diet and exercising. The desire for the carbs disappears if I stay strictly with the high protein.

  3. I put on 25 lbs on Cymbalta over a 2 year period and told my doctor about my excessive thirst and desire for sweets 2 weeks ago. She switched me from Cymbalta to Zoloft and already I’m feeling better. My craving for liquids and sweets have diminished greatly and my thinking is much clearer. So far no weight loss, but based on my lower food desire and consumption, I’m waiting for the pounds to come off. Having the holiday season during the first 2 weeks didn’t help in weight loss. I’ll report back on how things go.

  4. Low carb = low cal. That’s why it works. Plain and simple. When you remvoe one whole macronutrient from your plate, you reduce your calories by approx 1/3rd. Was nothing to do with food type. You can lose weight eating pasta, or rice, or yams. So long as you run a calorie deficit. I eat lean protein, carbs, fat. I just eat less and I exercise more. I lost 30 lbs in 4 months and kept it off 2 yrs now. Eat from smaller plates. Ur eyes see a full plate, but ur eating less. Go walking too

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