What are the potential psychological side effects of taking Celexa?
Psychiatrist and addiction expert Michael McGee, MD, agrees that weight gain is a real problem with many of the medications he prescribes. “Women get especially concerned about it,” admits Dr. McGee, who is also the chief medical officer at the Haven Treatment Center in California and the author of The Joy of Recovery.
“I recommend the Mediterranean Diet because it has antidepressant qualities and I encourage good eating habits like eating slowly and mindfully, avoiding ‘red light’ foods with lots of added sugar or foods that are overly processed,” he explains, adding that it’s also important for patients to make friends with hunger.
“Accepting that a little hunger is OK and is necessary to maintain weight.” Dr. McGee also recommends spending time in nature, becoming involved in a spiritual community and connecting with others through volunteer work or by socializing with friends.
Be sure to voice your concerns with your physician. Ask your prescribing doctor if there is more than one option and if they can recommend an antidepressant that isn’t associated with weight gain. If your doctor feels the most effective medication is one that has been found to cause weight gain in some people, start taking preventative steps right away.
For additional support, ask your physician to refer you to a cognitive behavioral therapist, motivational counselor, and/or a registered dietitian or licensed nutritionist before switching to a different antidepressant or prescribing additional medication to control weight gain.7
You may not be able to fully prevent medically-induced weight gain, but you can take these steps to help keep it under control:
- Skip fad diets and quick weight-loss schemes. Instead, base your food choices on a proven healthful eating plan, such as a Mediterranean-style diet, the DASH diet designed to control blood pressure or a Flexitarian Diet. These are all plant-based diets that don’t necessarily eliminate meat and other animal foods but put more emphasis on fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.
- Increase your protein intake, if necessary, to boost your metabolism.
- Increase the fiber in your diet, if necessary by eating more complex carbohydrates by including more beans, lentils, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables at every meal and also when you snack.
- Eliminate or cut way back on low-fiber, simple carbohydrates such as bread and pastries made with only white flour, sugary desserts, candies, sodas, and soft drinks.
- Drink more water, and eat more watery foods, like plain low-fat yogurt, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
- Walk more often and incorporate muscle-building techniques (no special equipment needed for moves like pushups, planks, and lounges) in addition to aerobic exercise. Healthy muscle is necessary to efficiently burn excess fat.
- Don’t forget mind-body exercises, like yoga, tai chi, and meditation, that help reduce any stress that may be contributing to overeating and weight gain.
- Make sure you get enough sleep every night. Good sleep habits can also help regulate weight.
- Serretti A, Mandelli L. Antidepressants and body weight: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2010; 71(10): 1259-1272.
- Uguz F, Sahingoz M, Gungor B, Aksoy F, Askin R. Weight gain and associated factors in patients using newer antidepressant drugs. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2015; 37 (1): 46-48.
- Salvi V, Mencacci C, Barones-Adesi F. H1-histamine receptor affinity predicts weight gain with antidepressants. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016; 26(10): 1673-1677.
- Uguz F, Sahingoz M, Gungor B, et al. Weight gain and associated factors in patients using newer antidepressant drugs. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2015;37(1):46-48.
- Asmar KE, Feve B, Colle R, et al. Early weight gain predicts later weight gain in depressed patients treated with antidepressants: findings form the METADAP cohort. Journal of Affective Disorders. December 1, 2018: 22-28
- Asmar KE, Feve B, Colle R, et al. Early weight gain predicts later metabolic syndrome in depressed patients treated with antidepressants: findings from the METADAP cohort. Journal of Psychiatric Research. December 2018: (107); 120-127.
- MacDaniels, Jeffrey S., and Thomas L. Schwartz. How to control weight gain when prescribing antidepressants: address diet and exercise first, then consider switching antidepressants or prescribing an adjunctive agent. Current Psychiatry, vol. 15, no. 6, 2016, p. 30 . Academic OneFile, Accessed 25 Apr. 2019.
Celexa is a medication known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The mediation is approved to treat major depressive disorder, but it is sometimes prescribed to treat other conditions.
Yes, the generic version of Celexa is known as citalopram and is sold in the U.S.
Celexa is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). The drug is sold in tablet and oral solution form. SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressants, and they work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.
If you have bipolar disorder and take an SSRI, you may be at risk for triggering a manic episode if you are not also taking a mood stabilizer. Talk to your doctor about your specific symptoms, other health concerns, and other medications you take so they can make the best recommendation for your condition and symptoms.
Celexa has not been approved for use in pediatric patients.