Depression and Weight Gain

Depression and Weight Gain

One of the effects of depression in some sufferers is to spur them to overeat and gain weight, which leads to increased depression.  However, there is a way to pull out of this vicious cycle.

The initial connection between depression and weight gain is not as simple as it initially appears.  People do not simply eat because they are "sad".  There are several types of emotions that affect your appetite.  Some people eat more when they feel isolated, bored, or helpless, all of which are feelings associated with depression.

Stress is a major contributor to increased appetite.  This happens when your concerns are too many and/or too intense.  Your body then goes into a type of "fight or flight" response, even though you are not really in any immediate physical danger.  This response triggers the release of a host of chemicals into your system, one of them being cortisol, which gives you a bigger appetite.  This is the chemical reason why many people eat more when they are stressed or have too much work.

Insomnia, another effect of depression, can also function as a chain in the link between depression and weight gain.  The fact is that insomnia can arise from both of them, which can also create a vicious cycle.  If you are not sleeping enough, your body clock is disrupted, which can affect metabolism and eating habits, causing you to add extra poundage.

The weather may be involved, as well.  When the weather is very cold, people tend to get less exercise from walking and other outdoor activities.  It can also lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.  This happens when you get too little sunlight for a long period of time.  The results of this disorder include a bigger appetite, especially for carbohydrates.  You will also sleep more and feel very tired, which, of course, lead to a decrease in physical exercise.

How, then, can you stop your depression from making you put on weight, and making you feel even worse emotionally as well as physically?  Here are some basic tips you can try.

  1. Do regular physical exercise, and adhere to your new routine.  Exercise not only helps to keep the extra fat away, but also addresses depression, which is, for many, the root cause of why they put on weight in the first place.  Regular exercise is also one of the most sustainable ways to lose weight.  You will not have to worry so much about gaining it all back.
  2. Persuade your loved ones to support you.  Sticking to most new commitments is easier when you don't have to go it alone.  Being able to ask for help is a sign of courage, not cowardice.  This goes for both expert advice, and for the type of emotional support only friends and family can give.
  3. Check to see if any antidepressants you are taking might have something to do with your weight gain.  Approach your doctor with your concerns, and ask if something can be done.  In many cases, it can.  Most antidepressants that cause weight gain can be replaced with similar medications that do not carry that particular side effect.
  4. This tip is related to the previous one.  Interestingly, there are actually some antidepressants that can cause weight loss by giving you more energy.  Ask your doctor if you can be prescribed one of these.
  5. Once you have gotten your prescription, do not stop consulting your doctor.  If you will be taking the medication over a long period, consult your physician on regular occasions to see if any changes in dosage, or even changes in medication, might be necessary or advisable.
  6. Try to get regular sleep every day, which means that the time at which you sleep, and the amount of sleep you get, must both be of fairly similar amounts from day to day.
  7. Try to cut down on stress.  Re-examine your work patterns to see if they can be made less stressful, but no less effective.  Also, use relaxation techniques.
  8. If your weight gain suddenly accelerates, or if other drastic changes occur, try to get expert advice or help right away.
  9. Keep a journal.  Write in it about your condition, the effects of the medicine, and the progress of your weight loss.
  10. Be prepared to have to wait a little for the added pounds to go away.  Even if you implement drastic changes, such as different eating and exercise patterns, and get different medicine, it may take a while to visibly lose weight.
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1 Comment(s)

good article
By: mrs aarti 10 years ago

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