Answered by Lynda Liu on Friday, December 4, 2009
Antidepressants, such as Zoloft or Prozac, may lift your mood, but they can also put a damper on your athletic ability, says Steven Hobfoll, Ph.D., director of the Applied Psychology Center at Kent State University. It shouldn't be a problem if you're just on the treadmill or jogging, but if you're playing competitively—in a league or at a local club—the medication can take the edge off your drive. "These drugs tranquilize you and make you feel calmer, so when you want to get up for the point, you can't get yourself excited about it," says Hobfoll. When Hobfoll's patients complain that antidepressants are interfering with their game, he has them work with a physician to time their dosages so that they have the least effect when participating in competitive sports. According to Joan Price, a spokesperson for the Olympic Drug Reference Line, antidepressants are prohibited by some international federations, "particularly in those sports that would be enhanced by the use of a sedative, such as archery," says Price. "But they are not prohibited in sports such as track & field, weightlifting, or cycling."