Addiction and Eating Disorder Recovery- mention of antidepressants

I have been in recovery for over 2 years now and have been regularly seeing a therapist. I have been prescribed an antidepressant (starts with Lex) & while I stressed the importance of trying a medication that isn’t often associated with weight gain, alas - I have gained.
This is leading me into a downward spiral and the thoughts, actions and symptoms of my eating disorder are so prevalent that it’s exhausting.

I don’t want to stop my meds, but I don’t know what else to do. I’m scared to start again on a new med, scared to w/d from this one, do not think being unmedicated will ever be an option and I am restricting my caloric to about 300-500 a day and my weight doesn’t budge.

I guess I’m just really looking for advice, options, a pep talk, motivation or simply just some reassurance and kindness.

thank you for reading.


I understand how that would stir up feelings for you. I do have some reassurances for you though.

  1. There are many antidepressants on the market these days, and a fair number of them are not associated with weight gain.
  2. Though there can be a discontinuation syndrome coming off an SSRI antidepressant like Lexapro, many people don’t experience it, and for those who do it can be managed with a transfer to another medication and/or with performing a dose reduction first. Your doctor is the best person to talk to about making the plan for this if you do decide to stop or switch medications.

Have you sought treatment for your eating disorder other than the meds? You might find group therapy or some appointments with a therapist helpful, particularly one knowledgeable about eating disorders. The tools you can get from this can help you stop and prevent that spiral regardless of what your weight does. Having your moods and thoughts be manageable regardless of what your weight does will be important in your long term recovery from ED.


I really feel for u. I also have gained from replacing alcohol with food, and can feel disordered eating patterns returning. Beyond the great advice above, exercise is great for using calories and toning AND mental health. I am planning to start couch to 5k running program for just those reasons.

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I have a history of eating disorders as well, and recently went on anti-depressants and have experienced weight fluctuations so I understand what you are going through. It can be very triggering.

Pease do not restrict your calorie intake, especially to such a low number. Restricting your calories to below 1200-1600 is extremely unhealthy and will actually negativity affect your metabolism such that you keep having to eat less and less to maintain the same weight. It’s a vicious cycle.

More importantly - it is not a solution to your problems. Your substance addiction(s) and your eating disorder are responses to larger issues. They are both methods of “checking out”. Whether it’s drinking to oblivion, or obsessively counting calories - they are both ways to distract your mind from the deeper psychological factors at hand. They are both ways of making yourself disappear.

I second the suggestion that you seek out specialized therapy for eating disorders. You may even need a daily inpatient or outpatient program to get you started. I know that sounds scary, but it is absolutely worth it.

You are worthy of love and respect no matter what shape your body is. It is okay to take up space in this world. You do not have to listen to the fucked up messages our culture sends you about how one is “supposed” to look. I know it may seem like a fact that thin is beautiful and fat is not - but it’s not true, it’s purely cultural conditioning. Learn to question the culture and ask who is benefitting from these ideas - because it’s not you. It’s magazines, diet companies, and people you want to objectify you.

Did you know that in parts of Mauritania and Niger, the fatter a woman is the more she is considered desirable? It is considered a sign of beauty and wealth. Consequently, many women force-feed themselves to the point of illness - or even death. It seems crazy from our perspective, but is it any crazier that people getting sick or even dying from trying to be thin?

On a practical level. Throw out your damn scale. Or take a sledgehammer to it if you feel the symbolism of the act would be beneficial. Get rid of, or put away, clothes that make you feel like you are the wrong size. Treat yourself to something beautiful in a larger size if financially possible.

Feel free to PM me if you would like my contact info, I’m happy to talk about this more if you want to!



I can totally relate… We often get held to a certain standard of what beauty is. I think sometimes we are harder on ourselves when it comes to our bodies and self image. It’s always been a struggle for me… eating disorders are such a personal inner battle that unless you’ve had one it’s kind of hard to understand. It’s nice that we all have each other and aren’t alone. :heart: We need to boost each other up and it’s nice once in awhile to be reminded beauty is different to everyone. It’s being at peace inside… that’s truly what is beautiful and it shows when you are. :blush:


No one responds to medications the same way. We’re all different, so even if it’s not known for associated weight gain, that doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong if you do. It just means that your body is unique.

I know you are concerned about starting a new med and getting withdrawals from your current one, but it is possible that if you’re put on a different medication that is the same class (I’m guessing you’re taking Lexapro, which is an SSRI) of medication that you might not have much of a withdrawal effect. Though of course you would need to talk to your doctor about that. It’s just a thought.

The one thing that you really don’t want to do is bring your calories down that low. I know how tempting it is, but in the end you’re training your body to think that is the new normal and so when you eat 1000 calories, once you’ve trained your body to ‘think’ that way, then you’ll end up gaining weight. Also if the weight gain is from your medication, then severely reducing your calories won’t do that much because there is an outside force causing you to gain the weight.

Are you taking any other medications? You don’t have to list them here if you are, I’m just mentioning it because there are some medications that cause weight gain but people don’t know that’s a side effect.

I wish you the best of luck. I know how hard it is to gain weight when it’s more than just a slight bummer, but a real triggering event. I hope you’re able to find a solution that works for you.