How do antidepressants affect diabetes?

I’ve struggled with major clinical depression for almost 20 years and was diagnosed T2 almost 3 years ago (I’m 44 now). It’s been about six years since I was on any antidepressants, but lately I’ve had to admit I’m sort of falling apart again and will probably start meds again when I see my doctor in January. Right now the only other thing I’m taking is 500 mg of Metformin, once a day.

So I’m looking for information about how antidepressants affect diabetes. I’ve read that some SSRIs increase insulin resistance, and that’s why people gain weight on them. I did gain about 30 lbs and had crazy carb cravings when I was taking Paxil (it’s one of the reasons I went off it). My BGs have been pretty OK, latest A1C was 5.5, and I don’t want to do anything to mess that up. But I lost my job last fall and have been dealing with that stress plus a bunch of other issues that are not going to be resolved quickly, and I can definitely feel the depression pulling me down again. (Just to be clear, this is not situational depression or “feeling bad” – I’m crying and afraid all the time, exhausted and achy, can’t concentrate, starting to be too paralyzed to take a shower or make lunch, etc. – and I don’t think it’s going to pass by itself, without some help from meds.)

Basically I’m just really scared to start the whole process of trial and error to find an antidepressant that works, without messing up my BG control. So many of them list weight gain as a side effect, and there might be other effects I don’t even know about.

What are your experiences with antidepressants? How long did it take you to find something that worked? How are you doing with it now? And how has it affected your control?

Thanks for any help.

Darn, I really wish I could help you with this. I take 75mg of Effexor/day, but I was taking it long before I was diagnosed with T2 3 years ago, so I don’t know what the effect on my weight or BG numbers are. However, I am having a very tough time losing any weight.

I hope others join in. There must be some experience out there with this. How is your doctor about taking your input? Try to make very, very clear that you don’t want something that will mess up your BG numbers.

Good luck, and let us know what you find out.

– Buffy

Thanks, both of you. I have my annual physical with my regular doctor in mid-January, and am trying to decide whether I want to ask him to prescribe something, or make a separate appointment with a psychiatrist before then. I do like my regular doc (he’s been great help with my BG control) but his specialty is internal medicine and I don’t know how much experience he has with psychiatric meds. I know regular MDs can prescribe them, I just wonder if I might be able to find the right medication faster with an actual psychiatrist. I hate the thought of mucking around with expensive drugs with awful side effects, and still not feeling any better … I guess all I can really do is just get started, and see how it goes.

Thanks again for your kind words and input.

I have tried Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa and one other that I cannot remember the name of right now. They all make me run to the restroom day and night and thus I get no sleep. They make me jittery also. I suffer worse from depression due to the side affects than when I am not on a medicaion. I am a type 1 and usually experience weight loss which for me is not a good idea. I just got on oral contracepetion to gain the 10 lbs I always gain when on these and bring back my appetite last August. Your in good company with your job loss and feelings. I read in Shape magazine that 20% of the readers who responded to their survey have said this recession has been making them feel helpless and depressed. It was interesting to see this because those were the exact words I used to describe my feelings to my therapist earlier. Those are my feelings and I have been trying hard to feel more empowered. Pushing myself to go to my yoga classes has been helping. I have bad balance and I really have to clear my mind and focus to do the standing on one foot positions like the tree pose. Some people say meditation helps but meds have been suggested to me too. I am afraid of them also.

I am sorry to hear of the reoccurance of your depression symptoms.I am a t-2 for 35 yrs and also on SSRI’s for Recurrent Depression Like you, I am concerned about my weight,my BG#‘s and the management of both of my disorders.I understand that without my Psyc meds I wouuld be in terrible mental and emotional turmoil and not adhearing to my “D” plan I would suffer and risk many systemic complications.I had to decied what to do. I chose to treat both disorders and deal with whatever the results were.I believe to treat one and not the other is a monumental mistake.I also have carb. attacks, ,peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy and gasttro paresis to mention a few.However, it is my belief that it would be in worse had I not chosen to treat both conditions. The reason for my complications were never the anti depressants and weight gain. It was my non adhearance to a proper food management regiem. For more than 35 yrs. I insisted on being a carbo-colic. That is the primary reason for my weight gain and poor health now. You are a newly diagnosed D2.I rsuggest that you treat both disorders as best as possible(see the Psychiatrist) .Ad hear to a proper diet(low,low carbs). Begin this early,I didn’t.You can greatly postpone or avoid the major effects of uncontroled “D”.Look into Dr. Richard Burstein’s Diabetic Solution. Give it a careful read. I started his program with quick results. The only problem is, I started it 35yrs. too late. Please don’ repeat my mistake. Wish the very best and may the L ord bless you and give you the strengtyh necessary to choose wisely. Please take care,Pete

I was on Effexor for many years and gained 30lbs, but man I was emotionally steady, it helped me tremendously.

Last April 2008 I decided to wean off of it because of the weight gain and I thought I was in a good place. I so regret going off of it but I did lose all my weight gain, but then life stresses arose again and I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), via a psychologist and psychiatrist. For months I tried anything to avoid going on meds again, counseling, herbs, but nothing worked and I could barely function and only slept a few hours a night. I tried going back on the Effexor but got so sick, then I tried Zoloft, and Pristiq prescribed by my regular doc and nothing worked so she turned me over to the psychiatrist and she recommended Prozac and I am now functioning. I think when I tried to go back on the Effexor I was too far gone emotionally.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I really feel the drugs do help to regain control, but they do have their side effects. Seek professional help even though I cannot believe I had too. I feel that effexor helped more than the prozac, but when I was on effexor I was just dealing with long term diabetes now it is more than that.

I wish I was not on drugs, but I truly believe there is a chemical imbalance for some.

I was diagnosed with T1 about 4 years ago. I recently starting seeing a psych for depression and ptsd. Currently, I am on Bupoprion (wellbrutin) and insulin. Somedays things are just peachy keen and other days don’'t even feel like getting out of bed. In long run, I do feel better. As ffar as my blood sugars go, I have seen no significant changes.

Thank you all so much for your responses.

Judith: I’ve been using some of those too – most recently a supplement called HTP Calm (from Natural Balance) that has St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, passion flower, gotu kola, kava kava and B6. It did seem to help in the first month I took it, but now I’m about to run out and can’t find it again so am looking online. The label says not to take it with prescription antidepressants but since I won’t even be able to start any of those for at least several weeks I plan to keep taking it until I run out. Worst case scenario, I can mix up my own “blend” of single ingredients based on the supplement facts label.

Sarah: Glad you’ve found yoga helpful – I do too. I have also been a meditator for many years. Recently I’ve been attending some retreats and daylong programs at a local meditation center, which has been great – practicing with other people is really healing for me, especially since losing my job. I’m just not used to spending so much time alone.

Pete: Thank you for the reminder that the sooner I get this taken care of, the sooner I can start feeling better. I am usually pretty good about my diet and exercise but will admit I’ve slipped a bit with all the Christmas treats and busy-ness lately. No time like the present to get back on track and start again though, right?

Karen: I agree, with some of us it does seem to be just part of how we’re made. For me, it’s like prolonged stress flips over a switch in my brain, and then it stays flipped even after the stress ends (which it hasn’t yet, this time). Drugs seem to be the only way to “reset” things. Unless the psychiatrist suggests something different I’m hoping to try Prozac this time. My brother is an MD who also has anxiety (it runs in our family) and he recommended it as well. Have you had any side effects or weight gain with it?

Lee: Glad to hear the Welbutrin seems to be helping. Here’s wishing you more and more of those “peachy keen” days!

Thank you again, everyone, for checking in and sharing your experiences. I wish you all peace, light, happiness and health this holiday season.

No weight gain as yet, but my life issues are still very unsettled, if things even out I bet with the way I have been eating, weight might be an issue, but who knows Prozac might not cause the weight gain like the effexor did and all the findings I found out on the internet about Effexor and weight gain.

I have not researched Prozac as yet, too afraid to as I am now able to function.

I soooo understand the struggle.


Karen, many things in life are trade-offs. I hope Prozac does not result s in any weight gain. So far, as you say, it has not. The important thing is you have made a wise choice in resuming treatment fer your depression. I believe this may assist you make other wise choices concerning your diabetes. Best to you. Pete

Well still on the prozac and doing fairly well, a little weight gain, but I was getting too skinny.

Life issues are returning to normal. :slight_smile: and now I realize but not sure I can stay there, that all the worry in the world is not going to make things work out.

I believe I will stay on prozac for a while, and I think the weight gain this time is called Chicago winter.

Riding my exercise bike as I type :slight_smile: after a super low and eating until I was 234, no prozac in the world will fix the lovely D.

Glad to hear that things have turned around for you . Wish you all the very best,Pete

it has been 5 weeks since I started taking citalopram for depression when I visited the doctor I was so low and had some terrible thoughts to do with my life I have had bouts like this before but nothing like the last one the slightest thing sent me into a terrible mood I to would like to ask are any of the 13 pills I take a day along with victoza and insulin adding to my depression,I suppose being cooped up in the house all day on my own does not help trying to be positive is a real challenge but since I have been taking the anti depression pill I feel much better and more able to cope with life around me.
Who knows what tomorrow might bring I never look that far ahead

Hi there, just saw your post. Hope things are looking up for you? Just to say that I do identify with you. I have suffered with depression for several years now - which at times makes me feel suicidal. I am taking citalopram and in september this year I was finally diagnosed with T2. My A1c was 13 and my BG started at 21 and goes to HIGH. Even though I have just been diagnosed my kidneys are already working too hard and I have low levels of potassium and sodium. I am supposed to be taking metformin but I just feel too down to take them. I just struggle on each day. I do have alot of problems at the moment with my children and social services and this has just added extra stress which is slowly but surely pushing me over the edge.
I am glad though that I have found this wonderful site and this brillant group. I wish you well.