Steroids, weight and mood

Can steroids, even at quite a low dose and for quite a short time, make you depressed?

Also, how soon, at how low a dose, can they make you start putting on weight?

I've been taking 5mg for a couple of months, I guess, and am feeling quite depressed. Which is most out of character. There could be external reasons for that as well, but it would be good to know if the steroids could be at least partially responsible.

And I've put on a pound or two - which may not sound like much but I'm only little (71/4 stone or thereabouts) so one or two pounds make a noticeable difference! And I can't shift the blighters!

7 Replies

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  • Steroids do make you feel depressed, even the slightest dose and you will gain weight. I had been onsteriods for 20 odd years on a dose of 10mg reducing to 5mg and managed ok with it until I had a flare and ,my dosage was increased to 100mg per day. I my face and body expanded within the first week and has carried on regardless since. I have gained an extra 2 stone, my face is puffy and there were times when I know I ate for the sake of it. Steriods have been reduced now to 5mg but now I have to lose the weight, very hard to shift and I have been trying for years and still no luck.

  • Yes steroids can definitely be responsible for causing depression and even suicidal thoughts as I found out this Summer when I'd only been taking 10mg for 2 weeks. It's important that you mention this to your GP and definitely phone a professional if the depression gets any worse and you have any suicidal thoughts. You will be weaned off them. Good luck and take care xx

  • Hi Coppermob,

    I found the case could be variable for different ppl. I am taking 24mg/day (Methylprednisolone) but I haven't gained any weight. I think my mood is normal too. But I do pay attention on my diet, to make sure enough nutrition but not in quantity. Sleeping tight is important for me to have a good mood.

  • I had to come off my steroids and some other meds too because of side effects, I know the steroids made me depressed and I gained loads of weight, am now battling to get it off again, seem to go on a lot easier than it is to get off.

  • Thank you for your comments People. I guess for the time being I have to put up with being depressed about being depressed by the steroids as well as depressed about other things (useless medics, poorly elderly cat, no work coming in .....). I have to slowly decrease the steroids anyway and am waiting for interventions that hopefully will obviate the need for the steroids. It will pass .....

  • Don't be disheartened this happened to me I became very down and suicidal on 5mg a day so gradually reduced them and stopped over a period of time. I had tried methotrexate and another tablet but nothing agreed as couldn't handle the side effects. The doc put me on cell pet or mycophenalate I didn't think this was helping til I forget the odd one and I feel some pain so must be doing something! After battling nausea I am now on 1mg. It is hard babe to keep positive it's took me 7 years but have finally accepted the fact things aren't going to get any better than they are now and no other meds i can try as been through them all! Just thankful i have brilliant pain relief meds! If you need a chat just say. Take care xx

  • I am on 5mg of steriods - lost over a stone but still can't shift the 10lb to get back to my normal weight. I am only 5ft 2 - and weigh 11 stone 3. The extra weight is around my stomach and hips> i have been told by the rhemu nurses that steroids also hold onto fluid and they feel that this is the case with me. My eating habits are not aggressive due to this and i follow a mediterean diet which helps. yes I have the odd treat! My BMI has come down since March from 28.7 to 25.4 so I am happy with this. I have never had a wash board stomach - but i would love not having it looking like i am 4 or 5 months preggers lol!

    Depression - i get low with worry sometimes about this condition - but i try to keep active and working part time helps!

    Lulabelle x

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