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    Includes Expert Content
    Depression & Exercise
    Maema posted:
    We hear so much about the benefits of exercise with depression. This begs the question: If a person is diagnosed with depression and taking antidepressants, do you think they're motivated to exercise? I can't seem to get it through my doctor's head that the two just doesn't mix well for me, especially when dealing with a condition that doesn't allow for normal behavior. I've been taking anti depressants for 1 year now and after trying 3 different pills, think I've finally hit on one (Effexor) that helps with the doom, gloom, agony and despair syndrome, as I like to call it. I work in the legal field which takes a great deal of mental ability and stamina so that by the time I'm home, I am just too exhausted to entertain the idea of exercising. Because of this, I have gained an obscene amount of weight. Despite the depression, I eat healthy but because I'm not exercising like I once used to the weight has come on like gang busters. But how does one exercise to combat prescription-induced weight gain? The little exercise I do might keep more weight from adding on but it does not decrease the weight gained. I'm frustrated and feel like I'm losing the battle and destined to be this way until I can come off these pills.
    Quriss responded:
    know exactly how you feel. unfortuantly for me, my chemical imbalance is "backwards", so i cant take any medication since it makes things very very bad for me. however, the good thing is that im on adderal for my adhd and that actually seems to help with everything. but at the end of my day, im a stay at home mom with a very active 2&1/2yr old and my husband is in the army, im exhausted. for other medical reasons, i have put on about 20-30lbs in a little less than a year. what i have found that works wonders for me in every aspect of my life, is doing a quick 20min routine in the morning from a website that has aobut 5 or 6 free videos. yes, that means i get up earlier than i used to, but the benefits for me are amazing. the past 2mths i havent been able to to my routines and im suffering for it (moving overseas is a huge hassel but totally worth it). i would take our dog for an easy 1hr walk on the days i just couldnt get out of bed before our son would wake up. right now we are in a tiny hotelroom and dont have a car, so about 2 days a week i have to walk to one building or another and we have to take our dog out to potty. though its not the same, at least its a little bit of exercise. so, i suggest you start out small. just a relaxing stroll a couple days a week would be a goodplace to start.

    hope something works out for you soon.
    ragu1 responded:
    I walk four to five miles each day. I have lost wieght which helps me to feel better. I am trying not to allow myself to think about things on my walk, instead I am trying to concentrate on the things around me, birds, flowers etc. that too seems to help. Good Luck
    Maema replied to Quriss's response:
    That's what I keep repeating to myself, baby steps, a little at a time is better than none. I forgot to mention that I've also been seeing a therapist throughout this process and tt's help a great deal. Then you add menopause to the mix and I can only pray about it. People tell me that I don't look my age (55) but I certainly feel more than my age. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Maema replied to ragu1's response:
    I've started doing the same thing, sitting on my balcony and seeing life around me. I also see a talk therapist which helps me to learn to shut off the mind to concentrate on other things besides myself. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Thomas L Schwartz, MD responded:
    As a clinician-researcher, I too have been complaining that we prescribe meds (almost all the ones I prescribe cause weight gain) for depression and weight gain occurs. Many docs say exercise and you posted, depression is an illness of amotivation, fatigue, poor concentration and decision would one start an exercise plan an succeed. My stance is to always promote diet and exercise. These do help depression to a mild degree. However, If a med I give you gives you side effects, it is my job to monitor it. If I detect a 5-10# weight gain (or you do), i discuss exercise again, but also suggest over the counter alli or prescription xenical. THese are FDA approved for obesity, pretty safe and promote healthy weight loss. If this fails we sometimes use the diabetes med metformin even though it is not a formal diet pill. Sometimes we add or switch to the antidepressant wellbutrin XL as it decreases appetite and weight a little. Like another post, I will sometimes use the ADHD stimulates as they can help depression (though not FDA approved) and some of them are FDA approved for weight loss.
    ragu1 replied to Thomas L Schwartz, MD's response:
    If my family doctor is assisting me with my depression and I am happy with the medication regimen and the time he takes with me, do I need to see someone else? He asked me the other day if I would consider it and I really freaked out.. I am not ready to share things with anyone else. My doctor knows me like a book and he is helping me it is just very slow. I am
    also using the Workbook about overcoming depression one step at a time. I am not sleeping and really stressed over this.I saw a professional many years ago and it was a very bad experience, I got to be so dependant on him I could barely function. Once a week was way too much. We meet monthly and sometimes it seems like a long time but I can call him if I need him. It works for me, cant I stay where I am and not feel guilty?? stressed!
    warriorgal responded:
    Dear Maema,

    I understand and sympathize with your dilemma. For a long time, I felt I was in "No Man's Land" with respect to my depression. I was treating it with meds, but alas, I gained a lot of weight IN ADDITION to the weight I gained as a result of the depression itself. Additionally, the practitioners I had at the time were mediocre. AND I worked a high-stress job as well, making the prospects for weight loss (and the immeasurable benefits derived from that) a real conundrum.

    But now I can say with caution that I am on the rebound. I switched doctors, got treated for a secondary condition that was contributing to my malaise, saw a therapist, and decided that I would have to work around my job stress to achieve the weight loss I both needed and desired.

    I won't kid you: it has taken a long time to get where I am now, and I'm not finished, yet. But I feel better, have lost some weight, and when all is said and done, will troubleshoot the depression again in order to come up with a list of
    WHAT NOT TO DO in order to minimize the risk of finding myself in such an untenable position again. What may go down as one of the worst periods in my life may in fact lead to
    one of the best.

    And so I wish you.
    Maema replied to warriorgal's response:
    I had entertained the idea of switching doctors, sort of like getting a fresh eye on things, but then again to explain all over again to someone else is daunting to say the least. Besides insurance rules have changed and now limits tests that will be covered. For instance, they won't pay for thyroid testing anymore. So I had to come out of pocket to find out that it was not the problem. I have also been seeing a therapist and who has been willing to confer with my medical doctor to ensure my care is complete. After much frustration, I have finally accepted the depression diagnosis and perhaps things will go better getting past the denial aspect. I always thought it was my extreme circumstances that was getting me down, but now that the air has cleared, I find I'm still in depression. I don't go to the doctor as much because it furthurs my frustation that there is nothing to validate my state of mind. I've had every test for all my aches and pains and all results are good. Don't get me wrong though as I'm thankful and feel extremely blessed that all tests are good, I just wanted something to validate what I am going through. So in actuality, I'm a medically healthy 55 yr old who has been in menopause for the past 6 yrs, depression for the last 1-1/2 yrs, vitamin D deficient (18) but now taking weekly doses, who has the most wonderful and supportive mate I could ever imagine, and who is expecting a second grandchild on 4/23/10 (boy) and should be happy as a lark. I find myself at times wondering why does life turn on a dime? One minute you are fine and the next minute you're not.
    Maema replied to Thomas L Schwartz, MD's response:
    Thanks for the advice Dr. Schwartz, however, but your solution seems to prescribe more pills. There's always going to be a side affect to any pill but I don't want to fall into the cycle of taking a pill to combat a pill. I am/was a die-hard against prescribed medication until got to the point where I'd try anything. My doctor once told me during my diatribe on prescribed medication that no one has ever had engraved on their tombstone that they got through life without needing a little assist. I took this to mean that it takes nothing away from me as a person and doesn't make me a weak person to need that help. My doctor has monitored my 30lb weight gain in 4 months and did more tests and then suggested diet, exercise and meeting with a nutritionist. I've always watched my diet, don't eat fried foods, pay close attention to labels regarding sodium, protein, sugars, etc. I also exercised at least 3 days a week, took daily vitamins, etc. I didn't have a weight problem before I started taking antidepressants.
    ragu1 replied to Maema's response:
    Most every antidepressant I have taken over the past ten years has caused weight gain. I am 450mg of wellbutrin and have been since Feb. No weight gain but slow progress with the depression. Truth be told I would rather have it this way. If I gain weight that just increases the depression.
    deg1254 responded:
    I, too, work in the legal field, and the stress adds up the pounds too. I am on an anti-depressant, Elavil, for chest pain. It is the only thing that has worked for me. I am a plus size woman to begin with, but I have put on about 20 lbs. since I started taking the Elavil about a year or so ago. My clothes no longer fit, and I have to buy professional clothes for my job, but don't have the money to replace my entire wardrobe. I was exercising on the Wii Fit in the evenings, and that seemed to help a bit in keeping from gaining anymore, but then I injured my knee and have not been able to do any sort of working out or walking for about a month and a half. I hate the way I look, and I'm not good at diets at all. I work 9 hours a day and run all weekend, and I don't eat any more than my friends do. If you can find some exercise that helps you with this, please let me know. I would be very interested in anything that might work. Nothing seems to have worked so far. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
    paf1952 replied to Maema's response:
    I've been reading your posts - we could be twins, almost. I have had depression for quite a while, though - and several meds cortisone, neurontin, cymbalta and another I just can't remember - caused "an obscene" weight gain for me as well. A few caused carb cravings - esp coke, bread, candy. As if depression alone isn't enough, gaining wgt on top of that more than dbls the depressive state. I was also diagnosed w/ fibromyalgia & was in bed for months w/ that & depression. Off all meds for 2 yrs - the pain is horriffic & doom & gloom depression - poor choices. About to see a Dr. to start a new plan. Really hate that. I wonder if your aches & pains might be fibromyalgia. Difficult to diagnose - & cymbalta is GREAT for it - but I gained 30# on it. The downside. I hope you find relief - and I hope we both find a surefire way to lose weight brought on by depression & the meds it takes to treat it. Best of luck, I will continue to read your posts. Oh, I am a 57 yr old female, menopause 17 yrs ago, look young for my age - but those two demons of depression/fibro make me feel like an old, old woman. Affects my thought processes. I want the old me back.
    paf1952 replied to Maema's response:
    I didn't have a weight problem before either. I was slim & trim, toned, fit. Now I am what you see in the funny Wal-mart clips on youtube. I'm heavy, unfit, flabby, and hate every bit of it. How can we get back to before? My 30# wgt gain was over a 4 mo period like you. Nothing will make it come off. Medical professionals need to get a grip on this and come up w/ solutions for thousands like us.
    miserable_sob replied to paf1952's response:
    I exercise everyday. My weight is fine because of it and my diet. It helps a little with depression. But things can still get real bad for me in the night time. The problem is we all want some kind of absolute answer about what to do to cure our lousy lives. I'm just stuck with these compromises now, especially since I don't want to take meds. Last week a car almost hit my while jogging too. That would have been the end of me most probably. I wish I did die but that would have been too painful. It was all accidental too, the car took me by surprise.

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