How Depression Influences Eating Habits

When some people think about depression, they might envision a classic sad face or an individual with a morose expression. These images could stem from the common perception that people with depression are “always sad.” They may often form mental pictures based on their preconceived notions of what depression entails.

Unfortunately, the general understanding of depression may often be limited due to a lack of education on the topic and our society’s reluctance to discuss emotions openly. Many fail to realize that depression is much more than just continuous sadness. One of the things depression can negatively affect is your diet.

Depression And Overeating

woman eating

Depression is a tricky beast, as it can affect your eating habits in two ways. Either of these situations can harm your body. You may gain extra weight if you start using food as a self-soothing method.

Overeating to make yourself feel better is only a temporary solution. Unfortunately, the aftereffects of this temporary solution could cause long-term issues. Weight gain can lead to issues such as high blood pressure, a higher chance of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and, ironically, depression. 

Those who use food as a way to cope may also tend to reach for “comfort foods.” Everyone’s idea of comfort foods is different, but if they are unhealthy, this will only worsen things.

Depression And Undereating 

Or you may go in the entirely opposite direction. Your depression may be wearing you down so much that you get physically sick whenever you try to eat, and so you avoid food altogether.  This drastic loss of appetite is surprisingly common in people suffering from depression. If you are on this side of the spectrum and have trouble eating while going through depression, you may also face some new health concerns.

Undereating can lead to developmental problems, infertility, and an increased risk of malnutrition. Your bones can become weaker, you can develop anemia, and your immune system can also be weakened. To avoid these health risks that come with undereating, you should try to get a little something down whenever you can. Even easier things to consume, like soup and smoothies, can go a long way.

What Can I Do About My Depression?

Is your depression so bad that it is regularly affecting your eating habits? If so, you really should consider seeking a depression therapist. Some people try to rid themselves of depression on their own. When depression starts affecting your nutrition, however, this is risky. Whether it is due to the social stigma surrounding depression or your family’s stance on mental health, no one should try to cure their depression on their own. 

You can easily find a reputable depression therapist in your area through a quick Internet search or even get a referral from your doctor. If you think you will need one, be sure to check that this therapist will take your insurance or has a payment plan.

Depression is a condition that a trained professional should treat. Depression therapists have to study their craft for years to get where they are. They know all about the different types of depression, how they may affect you (including your eating habits), and what can be done to manage the condition’s symptoms and whatever else those symptoms may cause. You deserve to put your mental health in the same trained hands that you would for your physical health.

Depression is not something to take lightly, go through alone, or try to treat by yourself.  If you would like to learn more about depression and how it affects your eating habits, feel free to contact me