The Serotonin Power Diet

Antidepressants and Your Brain

Circle yes or no to each question.

If you are on antidepressant medication for longer than three or four weeks, has it made you?

1. Increase your consumption of sweet and/or starchy carbohydrates (as meals or as snacks) instead of protein and/or vegetables? Yes No
2. Eat more than you did before starting the medication? Yes No
3. Think about eating all the time, even after finishing a meal? Yes No
4. Feel like eating late at night or wake up at night wanting to eat? Yes No
5. Have an uncontrollable craving for sweet and starchy foods? Yes No
6. Feel more fatigued than before taking the medication? Yes No
7. Gain weight? Yes No

If you answered yes to four out of the seven questions you may be experiencing antidepressant-induced carbohydrate cravings. After several weeks of use, many people find that their appetite changes. Some, for the first time in their lives, put on weight. Meals that used to be sufficient no longer "fill" them up. Even though they eat as much as before they went on the meds, there doesn't seem to be enough food to satisfy them. A constant craving for carbohydrates defines the persistent and bothersome change in their appetite.

Audrey's comments are typical of the hundreds we've heard from people we have treated who experienced medication-induced weight gain.

"I never ate junk food until six months ago, when I started taking medication for my depression," the 30sh woman explained. "In college, I used to feel superior to my friends who lived on chocolate cupcakes and French fries. I was the health-food queen, a regular at the salad bar. Now I can't stop myself from gorging on packaged cakes and even—I can't believe I'm going to say it—canned frosting. I've packed on 35 pounds—and the cravings won't stop."

Fortunately, it's not necessary to stop taking your antidepressant in order to lose weight. We are able to help people lose pounds effectively on our diet plan even though they are still on the same type and dose of medication that had caused their weight gain to begin with.