Unfortunately, depression and weight gain go hand in hand, particularly if you are taking depression medications. Well, okay, even when you're not on meds as most of us want to soothe with food! When someone is depressed they seek out a way to feel better. For years, food has been a method of self soothing and, sometimes, even self loathing.
So, when people are depressed often times they turn to food as a coping mechanism. With depression and weight gain often coupled together, your body becomes a victim of your own boredom, your isolation, or your lonely feelings and you eat to feel comforted if even for a short period of time.
Weight gain during depression can cause a downward spiral. Once your body is out of shape, the feelings of inadequacy and shame can become so much more pronounced that you become even more likely to eat and to feel badly about yourself. It becomes a cycle that is difficult to change or to break away from.
Weight gain is a big contributing factor as is stress. Prolonged exposure to high stress situations will result in stress related depression and weight gain as well. This can be difficult to recognize, diagnose and treat without the help of a mental health professional. When there are simply too many stressors for you to balance in your life, you are compelled to eat in order to beat the depression.
In order to feel better, many individuals will turn to food. Your body struggles to get what you need to feel more at ease. In many cases, the things that comforted you as a child, such as a lollipop or a favorite food will be what you seek out.
Foods become related to comfort hence depression and weight gain become interconnected. With the weight gain our body releases something known as cortisol and that can cause you to feel hungrier still. The weight gain causes the cortisol to be secreted, which in turn causes hunger, so you may actually even eat more than you would otherwise, increasing the problem exponentially. It really is, as the saying goes, a vicious circle.
Learning how to control these issues is something that many people can do on their own, while other will require assistance. Many people are now using techniques such as biofeedback to help them to deal with the weight gain, their stress and the depression. Some will require some additional counseling.
Exercise can help you to fight both very effectively. If you get help from a gym or other exercise program or enter into a daily exercise program with friends it can help you to fight both your weight gain and your depression. When we exercise, certain chemicals are released that actually elevate our moods. By working with exercise, with counseling, as well as with other methods such as medication you may be able to beat your depression sooner than you think.
Make sure that you get adequate rest, that you relax and try to enjoy life a little more each day. Spend at least ten minutes a day in moderate exercise, even if you don't feel like it. It will release those mood enhancing endorphins that will make you feel so much better.
If you are taking Abilify, check out my page about Abilify and weight gain.
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