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By visualizing happy thoughts, our brain gets flooded with positive signals, thereby making us feel better. So, focus on positive thinking to lead a healthier life.

Becoming anxious beyond normal limits for no obvious reasons, is an anxiety disorder. It is estimated that around 40 million people residing in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders in a year. An effective form of treatment, recommended by doctors, involves use of anxiety medications. These medications relieve stress and give a feeling of relaxation. There are few side effects associated with the intake of anxiety medications, and one of them is weight gain. However, not all drugs prescribed for anxiety disorders cause significant weight gain. Some of them are given below:

Venlafaxine (Effexor)
This is an antidepressant that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety disorder. Effexor tries to restore chemical balances in the brain, that helps to relieve anxiety disorders. With Effexor, weight gain is a rarity and the percentage of people who have reported increase in weight is very less (about 1%). On the contrary, the most common side effect associated with Effexor is weight loss. In case weight gain is observed with Effexor, a simple way to combat this infrequent problem is to reduce calorie intake by having a fiber rich diet. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and prefer lean meat and fish instead of saturated fats.

Paroxetine (Paxil)
Paxil usually does not cause weight gain, and has been approved to treat different types of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder. Weight gain with Paroxetine is very uncommon and this has been proven through clinical studies. Extensive research was done before approving this medicine for anxiety. In a study conducted by experts, more than thousand people suffering from this mental illness were given Paxil. It was found that only 2-3% people noticed weight gain.

Buspirone (BuSpar)
Before any medicine is legalized for any illness, clinical trials are conducted for possible side effects. It was observed that weight gain as a side effect was noticed in less than 1 percent of patients. Thus, one can definitely say that weight gain due to BuSpar is a rare phenomenon.

Clonazepam (Klonopin)
This is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs referred to as benzodiazepines. Commonly recommended for people with panic disorder problems, weight change is not a bothersome side effect. Again, studies reveal the same statistics, weight gain is reported in approximately 1 in 1000 people.

Ativan (Lorazepam)
Although there may be a few side effects associated with the use of Ativan, surprisingly, research did not detect any weight gain among people who were taking this medicine. So, it is very unlikely that Ativan prescribed for anxiety disorders will lead to weight gain. However, this anxiety medication provides short-term relief.

Antidepressants
Antidepressants are often used to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). There are different types of antidepressants but the one that have shown to be effective to improve GAD symptoms without causing any side effects like weight gain are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs affect the neurochemical serotonin that is involved in regulating the mood. This chemical found in the brain assists neurons to communicate with each other. Deficiency of serotonin has been associated with anxiety disorders, panic attacks and low self-esteem. SSRIs boost mood by increasing serotonin level in the brain. This is achieved by hindering the reabsorption (re-uptake) of serotonin in the brain. Some of the SSRIs that have proved beneficial in uplifting mood without adding pounds to your existing weight are given below:
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Citalopram (Cipramil)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
Anxiety drugs that do not cause significant weight gain are Escitalopram (Lexapro) and Sertraline (Zoloft). Although these medications may provide considerable relief from the distressing anxiety symptoms, other side effects such as nausea and weakness have been experienced by patients. So it would be wise to consult a doctor before using these anxiety drugs.

People have an annoying habit of remembering things they shouldn't. ~ Christopher Paolini

A point to note here is that simply taking the antianxiety drugs won't help to cure your mental illness, unless you change your thought process. Remember, our body reacts to the way we think. Therefore, try to be in a positive frame of mind and steer clear of thoughts that are a source of stress and anxiety. Meditate, listen to popular music, play an instrument like guitar or do anything that keeps you away from anxious feelings. In fact, once you tune your mind to think positively, you won't require any medications and the question of weight gain would not arise.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.