Do Psychotropics Affect Weight Loss?


A Common Issue

Many people  have  mentioned their use of prescription,  psychotropic drugs as a reason that they are overweight and/or can’t lose weight. While this can happen, there are strategies for coping with this side effect of what is sometimes necessary medication.

Everyone’s Health Is Important

While the percentage of people who are obese has skyrocketed in recent years, the percentage of severely mentally ill people who are obese is even higher, at approximately 60%. (1) While most of our readers may not fall into this category, there are doubtless, some who do. There are also many who are treated with the same or similar drugs who may not consider themselves to be in this category. I am addressing the medications involved and their impact on weight. Where you fall on this spectrum is irrelevant except for your suffering. Your physical health is critical to your overall well-being and weight affects your health. There is a delicate balancing act involved in administering and receiving psychotropics that may affect your weight. The methods of weight control in this special scenario are unique and we in NO WAY advise discontinuation of these necessary medications. We do not pretend to be doctors. Always discuss medications with your physician. Due to a possible bias against the mentally ill, this issue is not discussed very often in weight management scenarios, however it is absolutely necessary if we are going to try to help the world to be healthy. Many people fit in this category.

Danger Zone

There are anti-psychotics that can increase blood sugar and it’s mandatory to monitor your blood sugar on a regular basis if your physician indicates that your medication may be one of those. In some cases, medications have to be discontinued and others prescribed. These drugs are known to contribute to weight gain.

Some mood stabilizers can contribute to weight gain and some also affect thyroid function. Always return for prescribed lab work and other treatments that monitor the biochemical environment of your mind and body.

The appalling truth is that high cholesterol (69%), metabolic syndrome (63%), hypertension (58%) and type 2 diabetes (15%) are higher in this population of mental illness. In turn, you have a shorter lifespan, so weight management is even more critical to the health and well-being of this population. The most common cause of death in this group is heart disease, just as in the general population but these patients have an even higher percentage of heart disease. If you are in this group, please address your physical health. Your life will be so much better, and quite possibly longer, if you do.

Poor Choices

There are various factors that affect the weight of the mentally ill including genetics, medications and lifestyle.  We seek only to intervene in the lifestyle area. Mentally ill patients smoke more, are less physically active and have poor dietary practices compared to the general population. These are factors that can be controlled by the patient by deciding to be healthy. Take control where you can. This is an area that’s all your choices, make them good.


There are interventions that only your doctor can oversee such as switching medications and adjunctive therapies to lessen the weight gain effect of drugs that are known to contribute to an increased BMI but there are lifestyle choices that you can make that will make a difference. These strategies work for everyone. Agreeably, your progress may be slower but if you do nothing to halt this process, your health will almost certainly suffer if your weight continues to climb.

Talk To Someone

Cognitive behavioral therapy with a good therapist is a good tool to learn how to implement healthy changes.

Get Some Help With Your Nutrition and Wellness

Nutrition counseling and combined nutritional and exercise programs delivered to individuals and groups have shown to reduce body weight in patients taking psychotropic medications and in patients with preexisting psychotropic-induced weight gain.The data indicates that these benefits may be maintained for up to 2-3 months after this intervention and that weight may be further reduced even after counseling. (1) At David’s Way we want to educate you and send you on your way. We do not want you dependent on us, so according to this finding, that’s entirely possible. Spend some time learning how to be healthy and carry it with you forever. It becomes your normal life and will benefit you as long as you live.


If your doctor has prescribed a nutritional program for you, take responsibility and follow it. If you don’t know how many calories to eat, use the Calorie Counter Pro on the “Menu” tab here on the blog. Go to the Homepage and you will see the “Menu” button. Activity is great, but get your nutrition fixed quickly and then you may want to work into working out, with your doctor’s permission. Eating better and moving more works for everyone, although it works at a different pace in everyone. Be patient and “Trust The Process.” (David Yochim)


Mentally ill patients on these drugs that are known to cause weight gain are met with a unique situation. You must first make the decision to seek treatment for your mental illness and then you must make another decision, to be as physically healthy as you possibly can be.  Being physically healthy will help to ease the burden of your mental illness. If you are strong and healthy you will be much better equipped to handle your mental illness on a daily basis. There will be much less to distract you from improving your life. If we can be of help with your Nutrition and Wellness initiative, we are here. The light is always on at .  Always get your doctor’s approval before beginning any nutrition, wellness or exercise program.




7 Comments Add yours

  1. David Yochim says:

    Note to our readers, I want to emphasize we are not doctors. If you have been prescribed a medication which you feel is not helpful to your weight management, then please, by all means communicate with your physician.

    It is also critical for anyone with a ongoing health care issue to inform us if you have nutrition and or fitness questions. This is for the protection of both you and we at David’s Way. Questions or concerns can be addressed privately through our contact link. We will always honor HIPAA compliance for everyone.

  2. Your post is very inspiring and motivating. Love reading these kind of stuff.

    If you can also visit my Youtube videos

    Have a great day!

    1. David Yochim says:

      Thank you for reading and your comment. Best of luck on your YouTube channel. Follow my blog, we are a great source of information.

    2. Brenda Sue says:

      Thank you, Claire! Keep up the good work! You never know who you may help.

    3. David Yochim says:

      Claire, after seeing what you are doing with your you tube channel, you might consider getting people to check my blog out. We go at weight loss and management on a whole person approach where we work on fitness, stress relief besides our nutritional approach to over all health. Brenda Sue and myself are both AFPA certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultants.

  3. I find this article very reductionist in it’s message. The relationship between psychotropic medications, weight, metabolic syndrome and lifestyle are much more complex than suggested here.

    1. David Yochim says:

      Hi, thank you for reading and commenting. All comments and questions are always most welcome.

      Of course these issues are complex, however, for the scope of our audience we are intentionally not delving into every little nook and cranny of the issues. This article was to give people hope that their weight and health can be managed while on psychotropics. It was never intended to be an in depth resource for students such as yourself. If you have any specific points of contention, please comment or ask further questions as all respectful comments and questions are most welcome.

Comments and questions are most welcome!

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