Depression and Obesity

Many studies have found there is a direct correlation between depression and obesity. People who are obese are at an increased risk of becoming depressed. Similarly, people who are depressed are also at an increased risk of becoming obese, according to new studies.

Depression and obesity have found to be a two-way street. For those who are not depressed but are obese, they have a 55 percent chance of becoming depressed. On the flip side, depression increases the likelihood of those affected will become obese by 58 percent. Why is this correlation so strong? Researchers say there are many reasons for the depression and obesity link. Most recent studies say there is also a genetic link between depression and obesity. Those who are likely to be genetically predisposed to becoming obese or depressed may also be likely to take on its paired genetic issue. One of the biggest causes of depression and obesity running hand-in-hand is because of the underlying emotional issues that may link them. This is why many doctors will insist on treatment for both issues at the same time to help prevent the symptoms of either health problems from getting worse.

Depression and Obesity:

Because depression is a mental illness that affects millions of people through the United States each year, it is no surprise to see a similar correlation in the number of obese American throughout the country. While not every person who is depressed is obese and not ever person who is obese is depressed, the numbers are startling telling. Depression is a mental illness that causes children, teen and adults problems with prolonged feelings of sadness, apathy and lethargy. Depression can lead to even more serious cases of suicide or self-mutilation if left untreated. A recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health discovered that one out of four cases of obesity is associated with depression or another mood or anxiety disorder. On the reverse side, being obese not only increases the chance of experiencing a depression onset but it also increases the likelihood of the symptoms of being severe.

Causes of depression and obesity:

Aside from potential genetic links, the primary factor of the link between depression and obesity is a psychological one. According to studies, being obese can induce feelings of low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction, which is a direct risk to increase the likelihood of depression. Being depressed causes feelings of apathy, which means many who are depressed would rather get their pleasure from life from food and being lethargic than by exercising or eating healthy. These behaviors make it easy for those who are depressed to encounter that downward spiral toward obesity. Because both depression and obesity carry severe health issues, it is important to receive treatment for both problems. More importantly, it is best to try and prevent depression and obesity before they can get so far as to trigger the comparable onset of either depression or obesity, researchers say.

Treatment and Prevention for depression and obesity:

Seeking treatment when the signs first start appearing of either becoming depressed or overweight is the best way to prevent these mental and physical health issues. Be on the look out for warning signs of depression including prolonged feelings of sadness, not participating in events or activities they used to enjoy, insomnia or sleeping too much. Those who are at risk for becoming obese often find themselves steadily gaining weight and a higher body mass index (BMI). The best way to prevent these behaviors is to start an exercise and diet program. See a dietician if there is any question on what would make a healthy diet plan. Getting counseling to help treat both the depression and obesity is a helpful too because it can examine some of the emotional causes for both.  For those who find themselves depressed and obese, seeing a dietician as well as a counselor are extremely important in helping get on the path to recovery. Support groups are also a helpful tool for some who need that support to help them move on and get assistance in losing weight and becoming happier again. Support groups for depression and groups like Overeaters Anonymous are useful tools to help those who find themselves with these problems.