T Nation

Antidepressants and Gaining


Does taking antidepressants hinder size or strength gains in any way? I don't mean by disrupting training or dieting. I mean, do they do anything to the body that makes it less efficient at building muscle and getting stronger?

I have heard they lower testosterone levels. Is that true? I'm speaking about the ssris, effexor, and cymbalta. I'm not sure which I will be prescribed, but likely one of those.


I have had absolutely no problems gaining a significant amount of muscle or getting really lean while on antidepressants. Please remove this thought from your mind from here on out. If you want it to be a barrier, it will.


I second that. Going on antidepresants was one of the best choices I have ever made for myself. It is too bad it took me so many years to get past the stigma and other mental barriers. I can't say enough good things about antidepresants.

As far as your concern, I am not only putting on muscle like crazy but loosing fat and gaining strength at the same time. Even if they were hindering me, I wouldn't care. I am happy for the first time in my life. Nothing beats that!


I third that. No problems at all. Lift hard and heavy and consume cals and you will grow.



Cortisol is considered a direct cause of chemical depression, and quite likely there is a cortisol<->depression cycle which is self perpetuating which means being depressed is likely to make you de-facto catabolic.

As for the antidepressants, they can also be catabolic.

I have gathered from David Barr that adrenaline like stimulants (which are commonly used antidepressants) are much more catabolic to fat than to muscle. I had not heard this anywhere else though.

Finally, the only thing I've read bad is that Louie Simmons (and others) believe that secreting excessive adrenaline during a workout (ie getting overly psyched up to the point of excess) would prevent muscle gains from training. Simmons says that the extreme stress of maxing out on a main lift could cause an adrenaline rush great enough to prevent muscle growth. If an antidepressant works similarly, it may have some effect, but I'd say only if you are getting to the point of being in an outright nervous "manic" state. If its merely normalizing an abnormal state of depression it should clearly be anti-catabolic aside from the "excess calories needed" factor.


Thanks for the feedback. Usually I get a ton of anti antidepressant responses when I ask questions about them. It's refreshing to hear some people respond with a positive view of them. To those of you who found them so effective, what were or are you on, or which do you think help the most. I know it's highly subjective which will work, but there must be some universals.

I'm going to see a doctor next friday. I've been on celexa, prozac, and effexor, all of which were effective, but each time I was on I fell victim to the I'm all better, I've always been better, why am I on this stuff, trap. I'm always wondering what if there is something I'm missing out on by being on this stuff, and then I go off and realize that I am not well.

I'm thinking about going back on effexor this time, but I tried going back on celexa once, after I had been off it for a while, and it didn't seem to help as much as it did the first time. It's pretty hard to know exactly how you feel in a "big picture" sense. I always know how I'm feeling in the present, but sometimes I feel like my memories of how I've felt are misleading, so I can't compare.


I've been on Paxil and I'm now on Lexapro. They both worked really well although I really like Lexapro. Don't sweat it man. You may need to be on them the rest of your life. If it works, why try to get off of them?


I'm taking Paxil.

And because I got a PM about it, in case anyone else is concerned, I am not breastfeeding while on it. I stopped breastfeeding for other reasons, before I went on the Paxil.

I understand that there are antidepresants considered safe for breastfeeding mothers, but I wouldn't personally do that. There is nothing wrong with formula, my son has done great on it, and it is far more important that a baby has a mother who can function.

A psychiatrist diagnosed me several years ago as having Dysthymnia, which is a chronic mild depression. I am also prone to major depressive episodes on top of this, and obviously was a prime candidate for post partum depression. I told myself over and over throughout my pregnancy that I would not get PPD - as if it were just an attitude problem. I ended up having to go back to the hospital a week after my son was born I was in such rough shape.


I've been taking paxil since i've been out of the Marine Corps, I take 6-12 mg daily. When I first got out I felt alright. But the ajustment to a civilain life took a toll on me. I finally swallowed my pride and admited that I had a problem and was diagnosed with postpart/depression. I've been on paxil and honestly it does help. My mom says I look healthy not all emiciated like I used to and everyday activities are alot easier to task. I have put on 40lbs (thats because I am recovering from a severe compund tib/fib fracture, but i do notice a loss in appetite and some water gain) We are taught as marines/soldiers to adapt and improvise and to suck it up, but tell you what it does help to talk about problems also a pill aint gonna help buy itself. BTW nothungs permanent.
*If anyone has any questions please PM me.