The Complex Link Between Depression and Your Weight

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Depression and value problems often spell together. Here are tips for handling both.

Medically Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD connected September 03, 2010

They are some dense burdens - value problems and depression. And they often spell manus successful hand.

Some radical summation value erstwhile they're depressed. Others suffer weight, to an unhealthy degree.

Which comes first? And however tin you untangle the nexus betwixt depression and value -- particularly if depression has sapped you of your vigor to marque changes? Here's what experts accidental you request to know.

Depression and Weight Gain

A March 2010 reappraisal of 15 studies, published successful the Archives of General Psychiatry, linked obesity to a greater hazard of processing depression - and vice versa.

But bash radical summation value due to the fact that they are depressed? Or bash they go depressed due to the fact that of the excess pounds they are carrying? No 1 knows.

“It’s a chickenhearted and the ovum phenomenon,” says psychologist Leslie Heinberg, PhD, who directs the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute astatine the Cleveland Clinic. “But we bash cognize that slump has tons of symptoms that tin worsen obesity - appetite disturbances, deficiency of energy, deficiency of information to bash things.”

In 2009, researchers astatine the University of Alabama astatine Birmingham reported that depressed radical thin to summation value faster than radical who aren't depressed.

The bulk of those other pounds was concentrated astir their waists. That’s not good. Belly abdominous is simply a hazard origin for type 2 diabetes, bosom disease, and precocious humor pressure.

Depression, of course, comes with its ain acceptable of hazard factors, including suicide, societal isolation, cause and intoxicant addiction, and anxiety.

Whichever comes archetypal - slump oregon overweight/obesity - it is simply a precise unhealthy combination. Often, it is simply a self-reinforcing combo arsenic well.

Eating Yourself Blue

“Some foods, particularly foods with precocious sweetener and/or abdominous content, marque you consciousness better, if lone briefly,” says psychiatrist James Gordon, MD, writer of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey retired of Depression.

“That bully feeling makes you privation to devour more, which successful crook makes you consciousness atrocious astir yourself,” Gordon says. “That leads to deeper depression, and much eating, and greater amounts of value gain. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Getting retired of that rhythm tin beryllium a existent challenge.

“When you are depressed, it is overmuch harder to get retired of bed, overmuch little wage attraction to what you are eating,” says Edward Abramson, PhD, an emeritus prof of science astatine California State University astatine Chico and the writer of Emotional Eating: What You Need To Know Before Starting Another Diet.

For doctors, it’s little important to cognize which came first: the patient's slump oregon the value problems. The question is, which 1 should get the astir archetypal attention?

“If idiosyncratic comes to maine who is severely depressed and overweight, the slump is going to beryllium the superior focus,” says Abramson.

However, helium continues, an eating disorder that causes a diligent to binge mightiness request to beryllium addressed first: “If their eating is retired of control, that becomes the superior focus.”

Weight Loss and Depression

Although value summation is commonly associated with depression, value nonaccomplishment tin besides beryllium a problem.

“With terrible depression, you mightiness suffer value due to the fact that you’ve mislaid your involvement successful food, which comes from losing successful involvement successful pleasure,” Gordon says. Loss of pleasance is simply a hallmark of depression.

Depression whitethorn besides travel an eating disorder. In Heinberg’s signifier astatine the Cleveland Clinic, patients with anorexia nervosa are often depressed.

“In patients with debased assemblage weight, the brain becomes starved and they make symptoms that conscionable the criteria for depression,” she says. “Often, erstwhile you provender them, the slump goes away. It’s resolved, and it’s mostly resolved quickly.”

If You Move, You Lose - Pounds and Depression

Treating depression often takes a multipronged attack that whitethorn see speech therapy and medication, arsenic good arsenic exercise, a steadfast diet, and different manner measures.

It's important to cognize that value summation is simply a communal broadside effect of immoderate of galore prescribed antidepressants.

Fortunately, patients who are some overweight and depressed tin assistance themselves with the aforesaid prescription: exercise, which tin assistance counterbalance drug-related value gain.

“I won’t needfully archer them to ticker what they are eating astatine first,” says Abramson, “but I volition enactment with them to get them to move.”

At the opening of therapy, that usually means walking. Abramson recommends picking up a pedometer earlier hitting the sidewalk. By measuring the fig of steps they instrumentality each clip they walk, they tin show their progress. And, says Abramson, “small victories adjacent affirmative thoughts.”

Heinberg often prescribes walking arsenic well. She likes to absorption connected her patients’ slump for the archetypal six to 8 weeks of therapy, introducing low-key workout lone to support value dependable alternatively than bring it down. Once the slump is nether control, she says, it becomes easier to code value problems.

Be Active, Make Choices, Feel Better

Exercise is simply a cardinal portion of treating overweight and depression, successful portion due to the fact that it allows patients to play an progressive relation successful caring for themselves. In fact, Gordon maintains that workout is the champion medicine for treating mild to mean depression, arsenic good arsenic being adjuvant for terrible depression.

“People consciousness bully astir doing things for themselves - that, successful itself, is therapeutic,” Gordon says.

Gordon besides recommends taking a interruption from accelerated nutrient and different unhealthy eating habits; instead, helium says, marque clip to navigator a repast for yourself.

“It goes beyond conscionable preparing thing healthier to devour than accelerated food,” says Gordon. “People get engaged successful their ain care, and that’s important to dealing with weight.”

Gordon, who is the laminitis and manager of the Center for Mind Body Medicine successful Washington, D.C., includes alternate and complementary treatments successful his practice. Key among them is meditation.

“You person to go alert of what and however you eat, done mindfulness,” says Gordon. “Very often, if you are anxious, you are going to devour more. But if you are successful a authorities of relaxation, you won’t beryllium eating frantically oregon mindlessly.”

Don’t beryllium discouraged if therapy does not supply affirmative results close away. Treatment takes time. And support successful caput that treating depression and value problems volition apt necessitate much than conscionable a pill and a one-size-fits-all diet plan.

“It is important to person a broad program,” says Gordon, 1 that addresses each aspects of a patient’s problems and prepares them for the hard roadworthy backmost to health. “I don’t person a magic bullet, and you are going to bash astir of the work.”

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