Depression may lead to weight gain. And weight gain may lead to depression. It becomes a vicious cycle that could be hard to stop without help.
Certainly, increased appetite, reduced activity and weight gain can be symptoms of depression, and people with depression are more likely to binge eat and less likely to exercise regularly. Both depression and obesity have strong genetic links, so children of people with either or both problems are more predisposed to have them as well. In addition, many prescribed antidepressant medications cause weight gain as side effects.
One recent study found that overall, obese individuals have a 20 percent elevated risk of depression, and specifically for Caucasian college-educated people with obesity, the depression risk rises to as high as 44 percent. Although females with obesity have previously been found to suffer more depression, this study showed that there were no differences between sexes.
One standard measure of obesity is weighing more than 20 percent greater than the ideal body weight for a given height. Another definition is having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30. According to recent findings, approximately one third of the U.S. population is obese.
Defining depression has always been a puzzle. Many people are depressed but don’t know it. Others may seem depressed to friends but really aren’t. It seems that we all have stereotypes of what depression is, but they aren’t always accurate in reality.
One way to understand depression is to see it as consisting of two factors, or primary components. They are the psychological or “cognitive” component which affects mood, and the physical or “somatic” component which influences areas such as sleep and appetite. Viewing depression in this way sometimes helps to determine the primary cause of the problem.
A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report identified depression as “the number one cause of disability in the United States and the third largest, behind heart disease and stroke, in Europe.”
Stop and think about all the possibilities for depression to accompany obesity. To begin with, childhood obesity frequently leads to painful ridicule and exclusion from peer activities. Problems with body image, social isolation and self-esteem might easily follow. Being seriously overweight at any age is a major source of dissatisfaction, sadness and frustration. Extra pounds often cause chronic joint and extremity pain, making individuals less able to get around, enjoy life or exercise.Serious illness such as diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea can threaten or shorten life. People with excess weight are often stereotyped and discriminated against by airlines, department stores, insurance companies and even doctors.
Several recent studies have found significant improvements in depression following major weight-loss. This finding has been reported in a large group of patients after gastric restrictive procedures. Younger patients, women and those with greater excess body weight loss had the greatest improvement.
Are you ready to make a change to get healthy? Are you ready to start a doctor supervised weight loss program that really works? No shakes, no points, and no crazy exercise routines! Just a simple plan, supplements and 12 weeks are all you need to lose 10% of your current weight and change your life for the healthier!
To learn more about our new ChiroTHIN weight loss program, click here, or call our office today at (304) 263-4927 to schedule an appointment to start the ChiroTHIN program.
Dr. Terry Chambers is a Board certified chiropractor and acupuncturist, licensed in WV, and trained to perform functional medicine.