Does zoloft cause loss of appetite? (5 ways to increase your appetite)

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Page last updated: 19/09/2022

Does zoloft cause loss of appetite? (5 ways to increase your appetite)

In this blog, we are going to talk about zoloft induced loss of appetite. Zoloft is known to cause many side effects, out of which loss of appetite is pretty common. We will also talk about 6 natural ways that can help increase your appetite. 

Does zoloft cause loss of appetite? 

Yes, zoloft does make some people lose their appetite. The intensity of this side effect varies from person to person and also depends on the dose. For some people, it is so severe that they can’t even stand the smell of food. 

What does research say? 

According to a 1994 study, patients who were taking Zoloft for depression and who were overweight lost anywhere from 0.42 pounds per week to 1.06 pounds per week. One of the participants lost 69 pounds over the period of 36 weeks, because of the loss of appetite. 

People taking zoloft have suffered from a variety of side effects. Some people lose appetite and end up losing weight, some people end up gaining 10+ pounds as they can’t stop craving food. It varies hugely from person to person. 

So, it totally depends on how your body reacts to it. Every human body is different. Just like every human being reacts differently to different situations, similarly every human body reacts differently when they are exposed to medications. 

One theory suggests that SSRIs are designed to boost the levels of serotonin and allow people to feel a rewarding sensation, thus increasing mood and making people feel better. 

The problem with that is, it satiates people, as a result of which they no longer feel like doing things which naturally make them feel rewarded, like eating or engaging in sexual activities. Hence, SSRIs are associated with side effects like loss of appetite, loss of libido etc.

No theory can come up with an explanation for all possible side effects. Human body plays a major role in deciding those side effects, and as you know, the rest is covered by the drug itself.

How to increase your appetite naturally 

Following are a few natural ways to increase your appetite:

Eat your favourite foods

It’s always a pleasure to eat foods you love. Try sticking to them, for a while. This will make you want to eat food and you will enjoy it as well. Opt for meal planning so you don’t have to think what to eat and this way you can add all your favourite meals in your customised plan.

Does zoloft cause loss of appetite? (5 ways to increase your appetite)

Use Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are known to add flavour in your meals. Try to incorporate these in your food so you won’t find it bland. If you like a little heat, you can spice up your food to enjoy it as much as you can. 

When you love the taste, you tend to eat more. Carminative herbs and spices are known to help reduce bloating and flatulence. They also improve your appetite. 

Exercise

When you workout, you burn calories. The more you burn, the more your body asks you to replenish those calories. It increases your appetite. However, it takes several days to increase your appetite through exercise. You can’t make that happen overnight. 

Drink less with meals

When you drink beverages along with your meal, they tend to fill up your stomach faster. Infact, studies have shown that consuming water before meals can fill you up and make you eat less, which helps you lose weight. 

If you’re malnourished and wish to gain more calories, drink less and eat more. 

Liquid calories 

If you’re going through one of your anorexia episodes and do not even want to look at food, try liquid calories. You can try milkshakes, smoothies, protein shakes, yoghurt etc, instead of whole foods. This is just a way to drink your calories, if you don’t wish to eat them. 

Don’t skip breakfast 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives you a head-start. Never skip breakfast. A study shows that skipping breakfast can lead you to eat less throughout the day, which is the opposite of what you want. This way you will end up consuming much less amount of calories. 

Try eating in small proportions

If you suffer from zoloft induced loss of appetite, it’s best to eat small, more frequent meals as you might find it difficult to convince yourself for whole large meals. 

Start with nutritious breakfast followed by a small healthy snack after an hour or two, usually a banana or any other fruit you may like. You can also try eating a small portion of your favourite vegetables like baby carrots or cucumber etc.

Move forward to have a small portion of lunch, which should contain good sources of protein. You can also try smoothie in the evening, followed by light dinner. This way you can consume calories without filling yourself up.

Zoloft Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s Don’ts 
Take zoloft properlyAvoid missing your doseStick to the dose prescribed by your healthcare professionalRead leaflet or drug guideEat something before taking your doseReport any unusual side effect or allergic reactionDo not share your med.Do not stop cold turkeyDo not combine it with other meds unless approved by your doctorDo not dilute oral liquid preparation for later useDo not change the dose or timing without your doctor’s approval 

Other side effects of zoloft to look out for

These are the most commonly reported side effects of zoloft. Such side effects do not possess a threat and they are common in individuals. 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling angry or agitated
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to digest food
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of libido
  • Sweating/Night sweats
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Impotence
  • Inability to ejaculate

Some side effects require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Skin allergy, which could include Stevens-Johnson. You might notice red, swollen, or blistered skin, with or without fever. 
  • Allergic reactions, like rash, hives are common. It also includes wheezing, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, swallowing, or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat. Few of these symptoms indicate anaphylactic shock. 
  • It could cause low sodium levels which can result in psychological symptoms like confusion, agitation, inability to understand surroundings, memory loss etc.
  • It can cause elongation of QT interval, causing increased heartbeat or arrhythmia
  • Convulsions 
  • The inability to have an erection
  • Hypothyroidism (low thyroid gland function)
  • Bone marrow failure associated with low blood counts
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Neutropenia 
  • Abnormal behaviour/mania 
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling guilty all the time
  • Extrapyramidal symptoms

When to call your doctor

Immediately inform your healthcare provider if:

  • You’re unable to eat anything. Even if you do, you end up throwing it all up.
  • You experience unexplained weight loss
  • You notice changes in your normal physiological functions like delayed periods in women.
  • You experience nausea or diarrhoea

Prolonged loss of appetite could be a serious side effect. Reduced amount of calorie intake can make you malnourished and cause energy deprivation. This reduced amount  of energy can have a major impact on your metabolic functions. 

Conclusion 

Zoloft is associated with a lot of side effects, one of which include loss of appetite. Losing your appetite makes you consume much less calories than you should. In severe cases, it makes your body malnourished. 

In this blog, we discussed ways to boost your appetite. See what suits you best and try that out. Eating well is the key to making your body healthy. We go through a lot of fights throughout the day and our body is our shield. It’s best to keep your shield strong and healthy. 

Always make sure you take your med properly and as directed by your healthcare professional. Stopping zoloft abruptly, just to get rid of side effects, does more harm than good. If zoloft doesn’t suit you and it’s not the right choice of antidepressant for you, your doctor will taper it off.

FAQs: Zoloft loss of appetite

Is loss of appetite A side effect of SSRI?

Yes, loss of appetite is one of the side effects of zoloft. Other common side effects include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling angry or agitated
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to digest food
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of libido
  • Sweating/Night sweats
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Impotence
  • Inability to ejaculate

Why do antidepressants cause loss of appetite?

Antidepressants increase the amount of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety and mood while also controlling your appetite. In some cases, this increased amount of serotonin decreases your appetite, while in others, it generates cravings for high-carb foods like bread, pasta and desserts. 

Does Zoloft cause weight loss or weight gain?

If the medication increases your appetite and you eat more, you’ll gain weight. For some people it decreases their appetite and they lose. 

It’s not the medication itself, it’s how your body reacts to it. If you continue to eat as you were before taking the meds, your weight might not change at all. 

When do Zoloft side effects go away?

Side effects begin to subside in 3 to 4 weeks, as your body becomes used to it. Your body takes time to adjust with the drug. Once it does, your side effects begin to fade away

Does Zoloft increase appetite? 

In some people, zoloft increases appetite and sugar cravings. This results in weight gain. There are a few things you can do to manage your weight:

  • Do not give in to emotional eating.
  • Add fruits, vegies, whole grains, fibres and lean protein in your diet.
  • Focus on exercise, especially yoga. Your brain releases happy chemicals in your body when you workout.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
  • Sleep for at least 8 hours.

Does your brain go back to normal after antidepressants?

Yes, your brain does go back to its normal state after antidepressants but the time taken by your brain to fully heal depends on how long you’ve been taking the meds. For long-term antidepressant users, it can take up to 6 to 9 months for your brain to entirely recover. 

References 

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