The medical and psychological communities are starting to come around to a more holistic idea when viewing illnesses of the body and mind: our body and mind are not separate compartments, they have a constant connection and influence on one another. For this reason, many people now recognize that physical problems can start in the mind and problems in the mind can be influenced by physical factors. One area in which researchers find the aforementioned statement to be true is weight control. Many studies, including one published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, are establishing a link between weight control and depression. This conclusion is intuitively self-evident to many people, especially if they struggle with weight control, depression or both. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between weight control in terms of excessive weight gain and depression in order to better understand how they influence one another and how to end the unhealthy cycle.
One question many people ask when they accept that weight gain and depression go hand in hand, but like the chicken or the egg, many people wonder which one comes first? Unfortunately there is no clear answer to this one: depression and weight gain contribute to each other, but we can’t definitively decide in which direction. Weight gain can cause depression and depression can cause some to gain weight. Weight gain can lead to lower self-esteem and decreased physical functioning; enzyme and metabolic process are not functioning properly and this can affect serotonin levels and brain functioning which can cause depression. Likewise, depression can lead to a decreased physical activity, overeating and indulging in comfort foods and junk food and this can lead to gaining weight. Pinpointing where the cycle starts isn’t necessarily the key to breaking the unhealthy cycle-understanding how both contribute to each other, as mentioned above, is the way to identify unhealthy habits and find a way to create new, healthy ones.
Whether you are suffering from excessive weight gain, depression, or likely both, it is important that you seek professional help to address both issues. Resolving one issue often leads to the resolution of another. Seek a form of therapy and guidance that empowers your sense of control over your body and mind by helping you focus on building healthy habits related to eating, exercise, and mood regulation. Your body and mind are more intimately connected than you realize, and you are the driver of your body and mind. You also have more power than you realize when it comes to controlling your thoughts and habits, so take advantage of professional help that helps you take the reins of your life with strength and confidence.