Does anti anxiety medication cause weight gain?

Anxiety has become a prevalent mental health issue all around the world. Various treatments are available, including talk therapy and medications specifically designed to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. One question many people ask is whether or not anti-anxiety medication causes weight gain? In this article, we will explore this topic in depth, discussing different types of anti-anxiety medications and their potential impact on body weight.

Understanding Anxiety

Before diving into the main topic at hand, it’s essential to understand what anxiety entails. The National Institute of Mental Health defines anxiety as an uncomfortable feeling of fear or impending danger. People may experience physical symptoms such as sweating and shaking when feeling anxious.

There are various trigger points for anxiety attacks like stress from work, relationships or school; genetics plays a role too: individuals with family members who have experienced bouts with bipolar disorder can be more prone to suffer themselves later down line than others without similar histories.

Types Of Anti-Anxiety Medications

Before we continue our discussion about how these relevant drugs relate to our bodies’ kilograms (kg), let us first define the most common medications used today:


Benzodiazepines (BZDs) like Xanax (alprazolam) are popular among clinicians due to their ease-of-use compared with other pharmacological interventions such as talk therapy. They offer relief by enhancing GABA receptors in the brain that can slow reflex actions.[^1]

However commonly associated categories include dizziness followed by sleepiness amongst long-term users which often leads consumers seeking alternative options if prolonged use is required[^2].

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI)s works differently from benzodiazepines since they modulate neurons’ transmission instead of activating them like BZDs do[3]. They regulate serotonin in the brain.

This class of medication also includes Zoloft (Sertraline), a popular anti-depressant for its lack of weight gain side effects[^4]. However, this example isn’t representative for most consumers since it varies from person-to-person making life harder for medical experts that dose their patients[^5].


Finally, Buspirone impacts neurotransmitters by helping steady levels and inhibiting nerve firings within the brain tissue[6]. This results in reduced anxiety symptoms without directly causing drowsiness, unusual sleep patterns or grogginess when waking up – all common side-effects associated with BZDs long-term consumption nor SSRI’s inconsistent user experiences.

Anti-Anxiety Medications’ Relationship With Weight Gain?

So how do these medications affect our body weight? Research suggests that some medications can cause weight gain while others may not have such an impact. Let us explore potential effects each medication group might impose on individuals who need them:

Benzodiazepines And Weight Gain

Benzodiazepines are known to increase appetite which is why they may lead to higher caloric intake causing unwanted fluctuations on scales.[^7]

Also, compared to younger adults, elderly users appear more likely becoming overweight after using benzodiazepines due partly due age-related declining metabolism but also depending on genetics as well: older people may already possess specific hormonal imbalances resulting in dysregulated cortisol & insulin production which make resistance against excessive lipid storage less robust.

For prolonged use cases benzodiazepine treatment overruns neuroplasticity — because of chemical alterations occurring naturally during formative years– impacting hunger signalling receptors; negatively influencing physiological adaptation processes caused stress shifts (i.e., death in loved ones)[^8].

Despite knowing benzodiazepine-associated risks, they remain prescribed around the world. They still provide useful psychoactivity aiding mood stabilisation and anxiety recovery at the cost of weight fluctuations, so you have to decide on your own whether this trade-off is worth it.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors And Weight Gain

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) reliably show fluctuation tendencies in both directions[^9]. Variations in how an individual will respond manifest stems from inefficiencies inherent within these drugs: Even though they modulate brain activity – which should lead towards mood stabilization & restoration due to their properties preventing different signaling agents (e.g., neurokinin B). You still get actual physical changes wrought caused by not necessarily related operations considered range from insomnia/fatigue and hypertension fed into wider psychological stressors influencing eating behaviors with a clear impact over time..

Why sometimes losing weight or body positivity might occur after SSRI prescriptions remains a mystery. However, additional studies are needed for drawing any firm conclusions given there appears no clear cross-sectional information presently available regarding reliable ranges about who loses/gains vs those who remain neutral using such therapy[10].


In summary, anti-anxiety medications may affect body weight differently depending on the type of medication used. Some medications may lead to weight gain while others will not. It’s important that users monitor their food intake and exercise routines when taking these medications as healthy practices can prevent adverse reactions like weight gain; sticking informed alongside consulting medical experts/prescribers must be maintained too.

As always take everything above whilst bearing context ever present because adaptations come down essentially feeling dumber before actually getting smarter through better life management choices leading success rather making constant deals bills or other unhelpful cookie-cutter plan suggestions thrown willy-nilly onto anxiety sufferers sometimes leading them straight into danger.[^11]


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