Depression and Its Effects on Body Weight

By Heather Hamilton, PhD.  |  ©2024 BreakThrough!

Statistics indicate that there are well over 350 million people across the globe dealing with some level of serious depression. Depression can be characterized by excessive negative mood as well as a general inability to experience pleasure from what would otherwise be pleasurable events or activities. Depression is a powerful emotional state that can exacerbate other mental and physical health problems. Depression may result in a wide range of problems. These include trouble concentrating, problems with sleep, changes in appetite, food choices, and even metabolism. Depression is a major concern among people of all ages. Moreover, those with significant levels of depression experience a measured decrease in general interest or pleasure with many daily routine activities.

Chronic Insomnia

Depression can result in chronic insomnia or hypersomnia (daytime sleepiness despite 10 > hours of sleep). Our circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle) is affected by our emotional state and sleep behaviors. Changes in neurotransmitters (such as those brought on by depression or anxiety) affect the production, regulation, and maintenance of cortisol and melatonin. These two hormones…the stress hormone and the sleep hormone have a natural daily rhythm. Anytime we continue to produce cortisol (stress) later in the day, we are delaying the natural rise of melatonin. If we delay responding to increased cortisol levels in the morning we don’t take advantage of the increase in cortisol that is part of our natural energy cycle.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Those in a depressed state can experience feelings of worthlessness and unwarranted guilt virtually each and every day. When we feel like crap we’re generally don’t get up and run a 10K. While physical activity doesn’t significantly contribute to weight loss, it raises endorphins which can improve our mood for several hours following moderate exercise. Going for a mindful walk along a beach, park, or trail and appreciating the beauty of our surroundings can be a significant boost to our mood state.

Depression and Body Weight Problems

In addition, those dealing with varying levels of depression can easily become involved in unhealthy diets that only focus on energy-dense fast foods. These types of diets can actually exacerbate and promote the development of depressive disorders. Finally, it is important to note that ongoing psychological distress, as well as early life traumas, may contribute to late-onset obesity, Type II Diabetes, and other stress-related illnesses.

Now, Let’s BreakThrough!

The good news is that if you are struggling with depression you have options and we offer a full 16-week program that includes physical health care, nutrition, activity evaluation in addition to our program. Contact us today to learn more about our psychological programs for weight loss and wellness with a proven track record.

      We hope you have enjoyed this article from The BreakThrough! Program.

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