Why Eating More (Or Less) Maybe A Sign Of Depression?

Why Eating More (Or Less) Maybe A Sign Of Depression?

Last Reviewed : 12/14/2020
Why Eating More (Or Less) Maybe A Sign Of Depression?

Your eating habits tell a lot about the state of your mental wellbeing.

Depressed people pay less attention to what and how much they eat and often use food to soothe stress, which often leads to uncontrolled weight gain. Depression can also lead to weight loss.

So why do some depressed people eat more than they should, and others less than they need to?

Depression and weight gain

When you are depressed, it is common to binge eat as a way to lift your mood. The result is you end up with too many calories than you can burn because you will have likely also lost the motivation to exercise.

All that excess energy converts to fat, meaning extra weight than you should carry. A weight gain of more than 5 percent is a sign of possible depression.

Excessive weight gain will lead to obesity, which comes with many negative implications for your health. Obese people are susceptible to cardiovascular disorders, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and many other chronic diseases.

Chronically stressed people also tend to struggle with sleeplessness. A negative consequence of this is you may choose to occupy and soothe yourself with junk foods and snacks when you should be sleeping. That again leads to weight gain.

Depression and weight loss

Chronic stress can cause you to lose interest in food. Or it can take away time you would normally use to prepare food. Without nutritious cooked meals, you eventually start to lose weight.

Just as too much weight has adverse health effects, so does rapid weight loss. If you lose too much weight too quickly, your body is starved of the energy it needs for essential tasks.

Without adequate energy, you are also less active than you should and get dehydrated pretty quickly. Instead of losing fat, you end up losing muscle. As a result, your vitality falls to the point you struggle with standard physical activities.

Underweight people also face a 12 to 25 percent risk of gallstones, not to mention malnutrition, which has its own scary effects such as hair loss and extreme fatigue.



  • Block JP, He Y, Zaslavsky AM, Ding L, Ayanian JZ. Psychosocial Stress and Change in Weight Among US Adults. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2009;170(2):181-192. doi:10.1093/aje/kwp104.



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