Understanding Depression: How obesity influences mental health

Why medical weight loss may help in overcoming depression

Understanding DepressionDepression is a mood disorder, a form of mental health disease that can strike anyone, male or female, at any age or any stage of life. There is no one demographic of people in Newtown who are more likely to struggle with depression than others. Depression affects the rich and the poor. It affects teenagers, and it affects people who are well into their retirement years. There is no one true cause of depression. It will develop often as a result of a compilation of factors, and the intensity and length of time that depression does happen will also depend on many of these factors.

It is as a risk-factor that obesity and depression are so intricately linked. Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for developing depression. In turn, living with depression is strongly associated with weight gain, and ultimately, obesity.

The Symptoms of Depression

Depression is much more than feelings of sadness. Individuals with depression experience severe and intense symptoms, such as:

  • Intense feelings of despair, unhappiness and sadness
  • Frustration
  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in regular activities
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Slowed bodily movements and thought processes
  • Indecisiveness
  • Easily distracted
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Frequent bouts of crying for no direct reason
  • Headaches
  • Physical bodily pain

The Link

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have conducted a series of studies to investigate the relationship between depression and obesity. By looking at results and data from the national health and nutrition examination surveys, which were conducted from 2005 to 2010, they found that as many as 43% of adults who were struggling with depression were also obese. They also found that adults who were depressed were significantly more likely to also be obese than were adults who were found to be in good mental health.

Furthermore, the researchers found that the use of antidepressant medications was actually less successful among the obese population sample. More than half of respondents who claimed to continue experiencing depression after having anti-depressant medications were obese.

The fact that there is such a strong link between depression and obesity speaks to the necessity of addressing mental health concerns during your medical weight loss program. Simply adjusting your diet and attempting to exercise more often won’t bring about the long-term changes that are needed to sustain a healthy weight level. Bringing in meditation, journaling and focusing on self-awareness as you lose weight to bring to light any mental health concerns that might have contributed to weight gain in the past is the best course of action for maintaining a healthy weight level for years to come.

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