The assumption that depressed people are also overweight may have a ring of truth to it. A new Science Daily report examines research that indicates people who are obese may also be more likely to become depressed and vice versa.
Sarah M. Markowitz, M.S. led researchers in examining this link between depression and obesity and found evidence for causal pathways from obesity to depression and depression to obesity.
This research suggests that people who are obese may be more likely to experience symptoms of depression as they view themselves as being in poor health and are dissatisfied with their appearance. This scenario proved to be especially true among women and those of high socio-economic status.
Those who experience depression are found to be more likely to be obese because of physiological changes in their hormone and immune systems that occur in depression. These people also have more difficulty in taking good care of themselves due to the symptoms and consequences of depression.
Exercise is often suggested for controlling weight, but it also plays a key role in helping depression. On the flip side, researchers suggest that dieting be avoided as it can worsen mood. Antidepressants can cause weight gain and should be carefully monitored.
For those people who are struggling with depression – whether it is directly related to their obesity or not – the compounding emotions that result from being overweight can contribute to worsening both problems.
“The treatment of depression and obesity should be integrated,” the authors suggested in the Science Daily report. “This way, healthcare providers are working together to treat both conditions, rather than each in isolation.”