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Depression And Weight Loss
Depression is a mental health disorder which mostly affects a person’s mood and their emotional and mental state of being but in some cases also has physical manifestations and symptoms. A person may experience aches and pains, a decline in their energy levels, difficulty sleeping, strange stomach and digestive disorders, or shifts in their appetite. Appetite change due to depression is one of the most common symptoms of the disorder.
Sometimes, people who struggle with depression end up feeling much more hungry especially while going through a tough time and end up indulging in something known as emotional eating. While this occurs commonly, there is another side to how depression affects appetite in which it causes a lack of hunger and not wanting to eat anything. A lack of appetite caused due to depression may ultimately result in accidental weight loss also known as ‘depression weight loss’. It's possible that some individuals may see this depression weight loss as a beneficial side effect, but losing weight quickly or to a severe level might put your health in jeopardy. It is also possible for it to leave you with even less energy, which may make it much more challenging for you to deal with the other symptoms of depression. Let’s understand the link between depression and weight loss better.
Table of Contents
Reasons Of Weight Loss Due To Depression
There are various reasons or causes that link depression and weight loss, let’s take a look at some of those.
Depression tends to cause overpowering moodiness like, unexplained feelings of sadness and loneliness, hopelessness, numbness and disinterest. These shifts in moods replace your normal range of emotions and consume your brainpower or energy making it hard to concentrate on regular daily tasks like working, getting ready in the morning, cleaning or/and even eating. Depression causes a loss of interest in activities you’d usually enjoy and causes weariness and problems making decisions. Also know about diabetes mood swings.
Depression causes weight loss due to these reasons as well:
- Not wanting to make the effort to cook or make yourself a meal
- If you don't feel like eating, you may not care what or when you eat, causing you to skip meals since food isn't a priority.
- Being unable to figure out what you want to eat and ultimately getting frustrated with indecisiveness and not eating at all.
Depression has physical symptoms such as nausea and stomach aches which may make you not want to eat further, causing you to lose weight. Hunger might be masked by fatigue and poor energy. After a long day, you may feel like collapsing into bed. You may eat easy, no-prep meals yet still lack the stamina to complete them. Depression also causes psychomotor agitation leading to constant activity and calorie burning, which can be another cause of depression related weight loss.
Sometimes, medication for depression might also result in certain appetite changes. During the initial several months of usage, certain antidepressants may induce weight loss. Antidepressants may cause weight loss due to diminished appetite or gastrointestinal side effects such nausea and diarrhea.
Neurological changes among people with depression may also cause appetite loss and lead to weight loss. Depression is typically accompanied by anxiety, eating problems, or sorrow. The best way to solve depression related appetite issues is to consult a doctor and get counseling. Also know about depression and diabetes.
Also read about benefits of dates for diabetes
Tips For Healthy Weight Management
While depression and weight loss is closely related, it is something that can be overcome by taking the right measures. Regaining weight may make you feel more energized, easing depressive symptoms. Here are a few ways in which you can maintain and manage your weight loss caused due to depression.
Prioritize health and nutrition
Weight loss may be beneficial in certain cases, but it's not for everyone. Accepting your body as it is may enhance your self-concept, attitude, and viewpoint. You are more than your size and shape. Instead of focusing on how your body changes, explore different foods and activities that make you feel good. Mindful and intuitive eating will help you pick meals that will give you an energy boost and elevate your mood as well.
Make little changes
Depression makes it difficult to accomplish daily tasks like cooking and food preparation, making it hard to adopt new eating habits after reducing weight. Start with little changes to ensure you get enough nourishment until you're ready for larger ones. Start by stocking your kitchen with healthy, easy-to-grab snacks and go grocery shopping with a friend or family member to make this process more fun and encouraging. Start small with meals that are easy to make even if they include pre packaged stuff. Don't obsess about healthy eating. It's better to eat something than nothing, and pampering yourself is absolutely fine.
Talk to loved ones
Weight loss due to depression can cause a massive dip in energy and willingness to do something hence even making a small meal might also seem like a difficult task. In this case, go to your loved ones and ask for help by voicing out your concerns. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to asking for assistance.
You can ask them for the following things without feeling afraid of burdening them:
- assistance with shopping or meal ordering
- delivering a dinner once or twice a week
- help with meal preparation and cooking
- reminder to eat regularly
- dining together a couple evenings a week
Exercise isn't simply for weight reduction. Regular exercise boosts energy, releases happy hormones and brain performance. Stretching, yoga, and walking might increase your appetite. If you're feeling up to it, take a stroll in your favorite park to elevate your mood and take a friend along to make it better. Also know about the best exercise for type 2 diabetes.
Get professional help
When many methods fail to improve depression or weight loss, seek professional treatment. Depression treatment may improve physical symptoms including fatigue, appetite loss, and weight gain or reduction. Helpful treatments include counseling or a combination of therapy and medication, but a mental health specialist may help you decide. Consult your doctor or psychiatrist if your depression medication causes hunger and weight changes. Your health is worth the time and effort to find a treatment that cures symptoms without negative effects. A nutritionist or dietitian can help you create a personalized food plan.
Changes in appetite as well as weight can have an impact on mood and energy levels, making it more difficult to manage the symptoms of depression. A therapist may give assistance and support in improving your mood, which may, in turn, help you restore your appetite. If you continue to battle with depression-related weight loss, seeing a therapist may be able to help you regain your appetite and deal with depression overall.
What is considered rapid weight loss?
It's difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when unexpected weight loss raises medical issues. But most medical professionals concur that if you lose more than 5% of your body weight in 6 to 12 months, especially if you're an older adult, a medical review is necessary.
How much weight loss is a cause for concern in a month?
Unexplained weight loss should be a cause for concern when your diet and workout schedule is unchanged. In this case, losing anything close to 4-5 kgs a month is concerning and you must consult a doctor immediately. If weight loss is caused due to loss of appetite it might be a sign of an underlying health condition which should be checked out.
Why am I losing weight but eating more?
Losing weight inexplicably can be a cause for concern. Even when they are eating properly, some people nonetheless manage to lose weight. Cachexia is the term for this condition. Cachexia is a condition in which the body is unable to absorb all of the fat, protein, and carbohydrates from the food that it consumes. Additionally, you could be burning calories at a higher rate than usual. It's best to consult a doctor if this is the case.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.