Which comes first?
A March 2010 review of 15 studies, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, linked obesity to a greater risk of developing depression - and vice versa.
Do people gain weight because they are depressed? Or do they become depressed because of the excess pounds they are carrying? No one knows.
“It’s a chicken and the egg phenomenon,” says psychologist Leslie Heinberg, PhD. But we do know that depression has lots of symptoms that can worsen obesity - appetite disturbances, lack of energy, lack of motivation to do things.”
In 2009, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham reported that depressed people tend to gain weight faster than people who aren't depressed.
Depression, of course, comes with its own set of risk factors, including suicide, social isolation, drug and alcohol addiction, and anxiety.
Eating Yourself Blue
“Some foods, especially foods with high sugar and/or fat content, make you feel better, if only briefly,” says psychiatrist James Gordon, MD. “That good feeling makes you want to eat more, which in turn makes you feel bad about yourself,” Gordon says. “That leads to deeper depression, and more eating, and greater amounts of weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle.” Getting out of that cycle can be a real challenge. “When you are depressed, it is much harder to get out of bed, much less pay attention to what you are eating.
If You Move, You Lose - Pounds and Depression
Treating depression -talk therapy and medication, exercise, a healthy eating.
Walking- small victories equal positive thoughts.
Exercise is a key part of treating overweight and depression, in part because it allows patients to play an active role in caring for themselves. Exercise is great for treating mild to moderate depression, as well as being helpful for severe depression. People feel good about doing things for themselves.
Writers Contributions: Wed MD, L.Fletcher, MAMFT, James Gordon, MD, Leslie Heinberg, PHD.