Are Depression and Obesity linked to each other?

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If you have been battling either depression or obesity, you know for certain that there is some link between the two. As you attempt to begin your weight loss journey, it is important to better understand the link between both depression and obesity to ensure you can manage your mental health and weight loss moving forward. 

First and foremost, it must be noted that there is a definitive connection between both Obesity and Depression. While it is unknown which of the two starts the vicious cycle, there is consensus that having obesity can increase your risk for depression, and vice versa. Therefore, it is clear we must focus on both the diseases above, as your weight loss goals will be more easily met with a healthy body and a healthy mind!

Who came first, the chicken or the egg?

We’ve all spent hours sitting at the dinner table discussing this question… but to no avail! We may never know who came first, but what truly matters is that both exist and they are definitely related. 

The same can be said about depression and obesity. While we don’t know which of the two begins the vicious cycle, we know that once you are diagnosed with either depression or obesity you are at an increased risk for the other. 

So, how do we go about trying to identify and treat both coexisting conditions? 

Well, the first thing to be said is that honesty with your doctor goes a long way. While oftentimes it is difficult to discuss both mental health and challenges with one’s weight, it’s important that your doctors be up to date on all the health difficulties in your life. 

Let’s dive into some FAQs regarding obesity and depression!

Does stress play a factor in my battle with depression and/or obesity?

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Stress, as always, plays a factor in both the battle against depression and obesity. In regard to depression, chronic stress and anxiety have been widely studied as they can be a cause for poor mental health. Additionally, stress can make someone turn to food as a potential coping mechanism, leading to significant weight gain and even obesity. 

Therefore, especially if you are at risk for depression or obesity, it’s highly important to manage your stress levels in your everyday life.

Is it possible our current treatment options perpetuate the problem?

As many of us know, current treatment options for depression mainly consist of antidepressants. Oftentimes, these antidepressants can cause significant weight gain. 

Additionally, some of the treatments for obesity can lead to emotional ups and downs, eventually leading to depression. 

Therefore, it’s important to work with a team of experts to help manage your mental health and physical health. By working together with your doctors, you will be able to find a solution that helps treat both your depression and obesity.

How do you know if your treatment is helping or hurting?

When it comes to treating both obesity and depression, there is a need to be aware of radical changes that can drastically affect your health. Below we will list a few “red flag” symptoms, which if you do experience you should contact your doctor. 

Red flag symptoms:

  • Sudden weight gain
  • Constant feeling of being tired
  • Inability to get up from bed or leave the house
  • A complete loss of interest in normally enjoyed activities
  • Changes in sleep patterns

If you do experience any of these red flag symptoms, reach out to your doctor in order to discuss alternate treatment options.

How can I reduce my risk?

Reduce my risk of Obesity

While it may seem like you need to combat two completely different diseases, the prevention strategies for both depression and obesity in fact overlap. For example, some of the best tips to lower your risk of both include: staying active, engaging with your support system, and following the directives of your doctors / trained professionals.

First, let’s discuss staying active. Exercising is an incredible way to boost and release depression fighting endorphins in your system. By doing so, you’re improving your mental health, while also working on your physical activity levels due to exercise. Research has shown that by exercising just once a week you can have drastic benefits towards fighting depression. 

Here is a guide with some tips and tricks for staying active: 

When it comes to working with a support system, you can reap amazing benefits to help prevent both obesity and depression. In terms of depression, having someone to talk to in a therapeutic sense can make all the difference. Therefore, don’t be shy! If you have friends or family who you can talk to, utilize them. If you feel alone, ask someone to be there for you. It’s these small steps that can truly make a life changing difference. 

In regard to combating obesity, working with your support system can help you reach incredible goals. Whether it be finding a workout partner, or even having your family help you transition your household to healthier foods, your support system is key to meeting your weight loss goals!

Learn more about the benefits of utilizing your support system:

Lastly, following the advice of your doctors and trained health professionals is key to decreasing your risk and preventing both depression and obesity. Whether you have been prescribed medication, diet modification, or other suggested treatment options, being open and honest with your trained health professionals is key to preventing poor health. By working together with experts in the field, you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle in no time!

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