Without a doubt, a well-established link exists between depression and weight gain. In many cases, depression causes one to overeat. This “eating- for-comfort” phenomenon appears to occur more frequently in women than men suffering from depression.
In turn, increasing weight caused by overeating contributes to a worsening body image, which deepens the feelings of depression. Thus, a hard-to-break vicious cycle is established. The persons affected by this condition often lack the motivation to break the chain of events.
Listed below are a few measures which may help alleviate the problem:
- Stress reduction and getting sufficient sleep
- Group support (for depression as well as weight management)
- Daily light exercise (e.g., yoga, a stretch routine, etc)
- Taking a daily multivitamin supplement
- Taking a daily omega-3 supplement (very important: omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to play an essential role in improving brain function, including the correction of mood disorders)
- Increasing one’s exposure to natural light (daylight). This doesn’t mean you must stay outside, just that you should maximize the amount of natural light in your living and working space ( circumstances permitting).
- Last but not least, antidepressant medication may be required to break the depression-overeating cycle. Warning: Some of the older antidepressant medications (such as Amitriptyline), may be associated with certain side effects including weight gain. The newer antidepressant drugs (also called SSRIs), which work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain, have relatively few side effects and are less likely to impact one’s weight. Even if one medication from this group causes a person to gain weight, switching to a different agent from the same group may solve the problem.