The Link Between Depression & Overeating

by Marian Bond
(Sydney, Australia)

There’s a definite connection between depression and overeating. Food equals comfort for many people who suffer from depression and eating lifts them out of their misery for awhile. The problem is that it never lasts for long and usually stacks on unwanted pounds that may even deepen the depression.

Withdrawal from friends and family is also a symptom of depression, and in a depressed person’s “aloneness,” she sometimes turns to food and gives in to cravings to forget her problems. When a person suffers from depressionbinge eating is often seen as a solution and the eating becomes uncontrollable – permeating every corner of her life.

Emotional “triggers” that sometimes begin an overeating binge can be exacerbated by depression. Smells and looks of food may be overwhelmingly tempting to a person who is depressed and frequent episodes of binge eating can take place, causing the person to lose self-confidence and withdraw from life even further.

While depression is a definite “feel bad” emotion, those who suffer from depression may associate food with feeling good and ultimately turn to it for comfort.

Chronic stress can also cause depression and lead to food binges. If you find yourself stressed out from work or other issues and overeating because of it, there are several ways to combat the issues.

One way to relieve stress is through aerobic exercise. Along with the exercise, you’ll also get the added benefit of burning calories you ingested while overeating. Exercise will improve feelings of depression by manufacturing endorphins, which scientists have proven increase a sense of well-being.

There is both good news and bad about medical treatments for depression – the medication will probably lessen or completely get rid of feelings of depression, but the same medication can cause weight gain.

If you’re thinking of taking an anti-depressant, first talk it over with your doctor and research the side effects of the recommended medication. Sometimes an anti-depressant can be used for a short period of time during an especially difficult situation to alleviate depressed feelings.

Notice certain actions that you may exhibit when you’re overeating such as cramming huge amounts of food in your mouth as fast as you can, planning ahead for alone time when you can engage in bingeing and if you feel sad and drained of energy when the bingeing is over.

These are signs that depression may be the cause of your eating disorder. Take a close look at your life and try to see where you can reduce stress and gain control of your eating habits.

Sometimes, you can easily figure out the path you need to take – but if you can’t, see your physician who may refer you to a specialist who deals with all types of eating disorders on a daily basis.

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Updated: June 10, 2013 — 9:16 am

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