Relationship Between Mood Disorders and Obesity

Relationship Between Mood Disorders and Obesity

Yes, there is a connection between having a mood disorder and obesity.  Both health conditions feed off of one another.  Obesity affects the part of your brain that regulates your mood.  When you are depressed you usually have low energy and motivation.  This promotes less activity and the consequence is weight gain. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 44 percent of adults with depression are obese.  This shows that this is a common occurrence that has many ways to treat and learn how to control. 

When you are depressed you are more likely to make poor food choices and overeat because you are emotionally compromised.  Because you are unable to process your negative emotional state in a healthy way you avoid exercising and self medicate your depression with food. 

The short answer is that obesity causes depression and depression causes obesity.  By understanding this relationship you can better learn to treat both conditions and learn coping skills.

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What is Obesity and Depression?

Obesity is having a 20 percent greater than ideal body weight for a specific height.  Another way to define obesity is having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30.  According to recent studies, one-third of the U.S. population is affected by obesity. 

Depression has two main components.  One is your mood, which affects your cognitive functions and your autonomic system, which directly controls your bodily functions, especially sleep and appetite.  When you have a consistently low mood and dramatic changes to your sleeping and eating habits you may be diagnosed as depressed. 

Relationship Between Mood Disorders and Obesity

Obesity Diagnosed, are you at Risk for Depression?

There are usually many emotional issues related to obesity.  According to a 2010 study, it was discovered that people who are obese have a 55 percent greater risk of developing depression over the course of their life than people who are not obese.  This indicates there is a correlation between having excessive weight and mood disorders.  The common emotions experienced with obese adults are:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Despondent
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor body image
  • Social isolation

Another reason why your negative thoughts and feelings increase in obese adults is due to the increased physical limitations with decreased health.  Common health-related issues that obese adults encounter are:

  • Joint pain
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Poor Blood Circulation
  • Mental Clarity and Memory issues
Taking the stairs, Relationship Between Mood Disorders and Obesity

What role does Stress play in this dynamic?

Stress plays a key role in both anxiety and depression.  Chronic stress and anxiety enhance your depressive symptoms and increases disordered eating patterns.  Using food as a mechanism to cope with negative emotions is an unhealthy habit that leads to eventual obesity. 

Medical practitioners use stress-reducing tools to treat depression and obesity.  Gaining a grasp on your emotions helps you navigate your food choices and learn to change your thinking patterns when making food choices.   

Relationship Between Mood Disorders and Obesity 1Visit Trusted Nutrition for an informative article that discusses more useful mindfulness techniques that will reduce and manage your stress-related symptoms. 

unable to get our of bed, Relationship Between Mood Disorders and Obesity

What causes the relationship between obesity and depression?

There is no clear answer as to why the cycle begins, but there are certain experiences that promote an increased likelihood of developing depressive symptoms and having obesity.  Some experiences that both depressed and obese adults share is unresolved trauma that usually occurred in childhood.  Many adults suffered from neglect, abuse, or the death of a loved one, which leads to depressive episodes or weight gain. 

There are many ways medical professionals can treat both disorders.  The typical approach combines both psychiatric medications with counseling.  By tackling both brain chemistry and mental health you can incorporate healthy foods and activities to reduce both disorders. 

Relationship Between Mood Disorders and Obesity 2

Ways to Treat your Obesity and Depression:

The common approach to treating obesity and depression is tackling both your mental and physical health in a holistic approach.  Your entire lifestyle must be altered to reduce both symptoms of the disorders.  Having a well-balanced diet and regular exercise is a great way to improve your physical and mental conditions. 

Having a protein fueled breakfast to help you think clearly, concentrate better, and increase your energy.  This decreases your likelihood of overeating later in the day.  Exercising releases your natural endorphins, which make you feel good and move better. 

You can also learn how to practice mindful eating.  Mindful eating is when you think and reflect upon whether you are genuinely hungry or eating for another reason.  When you eat too quickly you have a greater chance of overeating and gaining unnecessary weight. 

Along with building a more healthy life for you includes having a strong supportive network.  Having a consistent support system helps you overcome any mental or physical blocks to your health goals.  By reaching a healthier weight you will improve your quality of life, improve your mood, increase your self-esteem, and have a more positive attitude towards your life.  

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