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Belly weight gain


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#1 frog

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 11:34 AM

I've been really worried about abdominal weight gain. Over a few months, I gained ten pounds, and it all seems to be around my belly. I can no longer wear size 14 pants, but even many 16's don't do up. The stupid thing is that when I can get a size 16 to do up, it looks like a diaper on me because my bum and legs have not gotten bigger. It's like my stomach is a sixteen or eighteen but the rest of me is a 14 or even a 12. I have a size 12 bikini that still fits, except that my huge belly sticks out in between the top and bottom. I hate this. I feel fat and ugly. I'm very angry, because I can't see how it couldn't be drugs, with such a strange pattern of gain.

The weight gain took place between November and January. At the time, I was on the following:
lamotrigine (150 mg)
Seroquel (250-300 mg)
valproic acid (1000 mg)
Celexa (20 mg)

I was also quite inactive, because I was really depressed. Still, if I'd gained weight normally, I would think it would have been better distributed.

Now I'm on Seroquel (250) and lamotrigine (150) and although it's been a few weeks since I came off the other two drugs, I still have that extra fat. Otherwise I'm stable - I cut out all dessert and junk, though I wasn't eating much of it to begin with. I think I have quite a healthy diet.

I used to be on Seroquel, lamotrigine, Wellbutrin and zopiclone for over a year, and had no weight gain. I could get away with dessert, too.

I feel very ugly and misshapen right now. Does anyone have any thoughts about what drug(s) could have done this to me? Do I need to try to get off of Seroquel too in order to lose that belly fat? I feel really desperate. I don't want to look this way my whole life, and I don't want to end up with diabetes or heart disease.
frog

dx: Bipolar 1
rx: lamotrigine (225 mg)


#2 rowen

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 02:04 PM

That is bizarre. Depakote can cause weight gain, but like you mentioned, it seems like the weight would be evenly distributed.

What are your hormones looking like? Are you approaching menopause? I ask because some women start to have weight gain patterns more similar to that of a man when they get older.

In the meantime, you might find that men's pants fit better. That or you can pay your friendly neighborhood tailor a visit.

Edited by jenesaisquois, 04 February 2009 - 02:04 PM.

I have been every flavor of Bipolar, and have now come back to Mood Disorder NOS. Heh. Also, OCD and working on AvPD
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Old meds - Lexapro, Remeron, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta/Seroquel, Abilify, Geodon/Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata/Klonopin

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#3 sorrel

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 03:03 PM

Probably the Seroquel.

"[link=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16808551?ordinalpos=6&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportP
anel.Pubmed_RVDocSum" target="_blank]serious adverse effects such as metabolic syndrome, which includes increased visceral adiposity, hyperglycaemia, hypertension and dyslipidaemia induced by SGAs, are more frequent in females[/link]."

visceral adiposity = belly fat
SGAs = second generation antipsychotics


eta: exercise is a good way to guard against this.

Edited by sorrel, 04 February 2009 - 03:22 PM.





#4 olga

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 03:30 PM

I think that there are also a couple of patterns for weight gain. Some women put in on in their thighs and butts (pears) and some women put it on in the belly (apples). You're right to be concerned about it for health reasons. I agree with Sorrel that exercise is probably going to be the way to tighten up and reduce the tummy.

You're doing a good thing, cutting out the junk food and snacks. Pay particular attention to carbs---a lot of people here seem to really go for the carbs on Seroquel.

Since you've been inactive for a while, it might be a good thing to start with a program of walking every day. If you can get your metabolism to work a little better, it will be easier to get rid of the tummy.

It's very discouraging, I know. I hope you can get your extra weight off in a healthy way.

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#5 frog

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 07:19 PM

I think that there are also a couple of patterns for weight gain. Some women put in on in their thighs and butts (pears) and some women put it on in the belly (apples). You're right to be concerned about it for health reasons. I agree with Sorrel that exercise is probably going to be the way to tighten up and reduce the tummy.


But I've always been a pear. And if a medication is screwing up my metabolism, I don't see how exercise will help. I know people who exercise a ton and can't lose weight on their meds. Plus, Seroquel makes me overheat easily, and I sometimes get dizzy.
frog

dx: Bipolar 1
rx: lamotrigine (225 mg)

#6 AirMarshall

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 09:30 PM

I think that there are also a couple of patterns for weight gain. Some women put in on in their thighs and butts (pears) and some women put it on in the belly (apples). You're right to be concerned about it for health reasons. I agree with Sorrel that exercise is probably going to be the way to tighten up and reduce the tummy.


But I've always been a pear. And if a medication is screwing up my metabolism, I don't see how exercise will help. I know people who exercise a ton and can't lose weight on their meds. Plus, Seroquel makes me overheat easily, and I sometimes get dizzy.

There is only one way to lose weight: burn more calories than you eat! You can restrict your intake, but that only goes so far, and most people can't keep that up in a sustained way. The other way is to exercise. The secret that makes exercise really work is that with time you increase your basal metabolic rate which burns more calories 24/7.

While Sorrel has quoted a very specialized case about abdominal weight gain, it is not normally possible to either selectively gain or lose weight on a specific part of ones body. Accept that your body has put weight on the abdomen. That is just your body type. Accept that you will have to use a combination of smarter eating and excercise to stop weight gain and to lose it. Sorry. It is unlikely that you can simply cut out a med and solve your problem either. Better to be stable and working out, than unstable and thinner.

Walking is a great way to get started again being active.

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#7 grousemouse

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 10:14 PM

good ol' slurroquel could well be the culprit. i gained about 45 pounds on it - mostly from carb binging at nighttime (er, that's binge-ing, not bing-ing. i don't go around emitting periodic 'bings'). but now i'm off it and in the space of four weeks have dropped ten pounds. i had stopped binging a couple of weeks before i started tapering and have been off the seroquel for two weeks now.

good luck,

grouse.

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#8 SunshineOutside

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 12:21 AM

In the meantime, is there a Lane Bryant store in your area. They have pants by Right Fit and your size is based the shape of your body. I have three pairs because they make me look slimmer.

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#9 sorrel

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 01:07 AM

And if a medication is screwing up my metabolism, I don't see how exercise will help.


The way in which it is "screwing up your metabolism" is by increasing the likelihood of insulin resistance.
Exercise is the ENEMY of insulin resistance -- the primary way of preventing and curing it. Given enough exercise, it eventually becomes impossible to develop insulin resistance.

Diseases associated with insulin resistance -- PCOS, Cushing's Disease, etc -- pretty much universally involve preferential accumulation of belly fat.

Of course, there are other reasons meds can lead to weight gain (cravings, etc) and there are obviously plenty of non-med reasons for weight gain. But exercise, obviously, is a good tactic for all of them.




#10 fluffybirdie

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 11:05 AM

I've had that too! I gained about 20 lbs last fall. From the back I look fine and fron the front/side I look pregnant. I'm trying to work it off on the treadmill. In the meantime, if you like cute sweats, check out the victoria's secret site. You can buy a medium bottom: it comes only up to the belly bottom and a large matching sweatjacket to zip up over the belly. That's what I've been doing! It's hard to be down on yourself when it says "PINK" on your arse!



#11 frog

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 06:27 PM

I know a lot of people talk about the whole "better to be heavy and stable" thing, but my drugs aren't even working for me. I'm depressed and the Seroquel contributes to it. We're lowering the dose of that and increasing the lamotrigine (Lamictal), which has been a really good drug for my head.

As for accepting "my" body type, what I've been trying to say is that my whole life my body type has been a pear. This apple business is setting off huge alarm bells in my head. In the past I've always gained weight everywhere, including hips and thighs. These past few months (I started gaining this weight in November) the pattern has been different than it ever was before in my *life*.

I feel so ugly. I hate myself.

I do walk, sometimes for considerable distances. But I've been so depressed these past few months that I haven't been up to moving very much. My boyfriend is pushing me to walk with him now.

Today my doctor told me that she was worried that I was getting "too dependent on medication". Well, it's not working! I'm very very upset. At least I used to have a stable weight and feel okay about myself that way (I never thought a 14 was too huge), but now I don't even have that anymore, *and* I'm depressed, *and* my doctor is basically saying I should just work my way out of it. I feel awful, and like my life is worthless and over. The fatness is just another insult. I look at myself in the mirror and say "you're fat and ugly". And I want to do that, I hate myself so much. I've been thinking of writing hate notes to myself and reading them from time to time through the day. And all my doctor says is "it's time to start setting goals". And I hate the drugs and I hate the doctor and I hate this whole situation which has totally DEFEATED me. Before I started on the medication a few years ago, I had terrifically embarrassing episodes and did very dangerous things, but in between I could actually work. Since the meds, I have not been able to work. I tried last year, and couldn't stand what I was doing, I hated it so much, and then I injured my hands typing and for months and months couldn't use them at all until I got physiotherapy. It was a typing job (computerized "note-taking", which was basically live transcription), and I've always been a fast typist, but my hands shook and my fingers felt like lead, and I injured them. When that happened I just broke down and had to quit. First I screamed and cried at the Workers' Compensation Lady, who was very bitchy to me and told me that I couldn't get a repetitive strain injury from 2 to 3 hours per week, while I kept saying that I hurt them in their workplace. A few years ago, when I wasn't on meds, I had the same job for a year, so I think something funny was happening with my muscles, something med-related. When I injured my hands all my doctors were useless... I had to go to a Crisis Unit (bad reaction to valproic acid, which they also didn't pick up on until I insisted on not being on that drug anymore) before someone got the idea to ask my doctor to refer me to physiotherapy. So I feel very angry and frustrated and not at all empowered by the so-called mental helpers right now. Seroquel was a med that took me out of mania, and that I was left on because it slowed me down, even though I was still depressed. Lamotrigine has been the only good drug, but it's supposedly not as good at preventing mania. And now I'm getting fat. It all feels so out of control. I hate my life!!!
frog

dx: Bipolar 1
rx: lamotrigine (225 mg)

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:44 AM

I think that there are also a couple of patterns for weight gain. Some women put in on in their thighs and butts (pears) and some women put it on in the belly (apples). You're right to be concerned about it for health reasons. I agree with Sorrel that exercise is probably going to be the way to tighten up and reduce the tummy.


But I've always been a pear. And if a medication is screwing up my metabolism, I don't see how exercise will help. I know people who exercise a ton and can't lose weight on their meds. Plus, Seroquel makes me overheat easily, and I sometimes get dizzy.


It's probably the depakote primarily doing it, followed by seroquel. These meds cause metabolic syndrome which will cause fat to be stored around the visceral organs, resulting in an apple shape. It is a very unhealthy type of fat, and it means your body isn't using sugar / fat properly. If the meds aren't helping, drop them stat (well of course consult with your psydoc but get off of them if they do not help and are making you diabetic-insulin resistant-apple shaped).

In the mean time you can reduce the effect of the drug by following a low starch/sugar diet. Diets low in carbohydrate will minimize the symptoms associated with glucose intolerance, such as belly weight gain. Double benefit, if you do a ketogenic diet this may have mood stabilizing antidepressant properties .

#13 Amy10

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 05:31 AM

It's a horrible feeling when you hate feeling/being overweight. I sympathise that a negative self-image is the last thing you need when you have to fight to function.

I have to say that I have heard others on other forums talk about Seroquel belly. I was lucky in that switching to S'quel made me lose 10 to 14 pounds (I have gained a bit back due to Li but not too bothered now) since the last AP I was on made it impossible to shift more than seven pounds in spite of working out six times a week and being pretty careful with diet. Lamotrigine never made me fatter. Quite the opposite. I got a bit hypomanic so it made me work out like a demon.

I also had the experience of falling into a deep depression on S'quel and it is only Li that is helping a bit, combined with minimal alcohol instead of serious self-medicating with it. My psych briefly mentioned taking me off it if I stabilised well on Li. Oh god, please! I dream of a life where all I need is Li and Lamotrigine.

Exercise is key for me, though. I stay away from sweet things now and fill up with water. I try to deal with cravings and unnatural hunger by being busy.

You should really be helped with the issues regarding S'quel. I put on a lot of weight quickly on Depakote years ago, though. Also, I do remember a tendency among a couple of health professionals yrs ago of not really caring about depression as a side effect of meds or bipolar depression, as long as the mania was controlled. As a result, I suffered unnecessarily until a decent psych put me on Lamotrigine.

If I have missed anything out, please forgive me. It's first thing in the a.m and the coffee hasn't got rid of the grogginess yet.
Dx: Bipolar I

Treatment :
Lamotrigine 125mg, L-Tryptophan prn, Risperidone prn, psychotherapy, mindfulness.

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#14 Anelize

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 06:54 PM

I gained a huge amount of "belly" weight on Seroquel. I'm really glad I'm not taking it anymore.
"Be Here Now"
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#15 debiz

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 09:59 PM

I have always been obsessive about my weight--to the point of weighing myself every day. All of a sudden, over the past two months or so, I've put on at least 10 lbs. (I had to stop weighing myself because it was causing so much anxiety) and it's ALL in my belly. I look pregnant. The only med change I've had is that I started Lamictal probably about the same time the weight started showing up, but I was on Lamictal before and didn't have this side effect.

I've developed an uncontrolled craving for sugar and carbs and find myself eating five meals a day plus snacks. Every day I tell myself I wil stop TOMORROW, but then tomorrow comes and it's like I can't control myself. WTF???
~Deb

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