We often hear about the multiple physical complications that can manifest with Obesity. While these complications are indeed serious, it’s also important to understand the psychological effects that can occur as well. Countless sources have found a strong link between Obesity and Depression. This link works both ways; Obesity can lead to depression, and depression can lead to obesity. So what causes this link in specific?
One major circumstance that can lead to depression developing is bullying. As harsh as it is, some people tend to pick on others who may not be an ideal body type regardless of how it may affect the person they are targeting. This is oftentimes a root from where depression can grow from. This situation also tends to make a vicious cycle, where someone may experience bullying and turn to an unhealthy coping mechanism that can reinforce the prevalence of the disease.
Another thing that many of us may not realize is that people suffering from obesity may have their relationships negatively impacted as well. Sometimes when people are looking into bettering themselves, loved ones may not like the change simply because it involves a person in their life starting something new and unfamiliar. For example, a partner may not be a fan of their loved one choosing to buy healthy groceries for the house and spending less time with them in order to work out. This can cause a disconnect in relationships which can ultimately lead to feelings of depression. Check out our blog post “ Weight-Loss with a partner” to learn more.
Chronic stress is another factor that may result in depression appearing when dealing with obesity. Whether it be due to struggles with managing weight or even other things such as work or school, stress in day to day life can translate into depression. Stress can cause unhealthy coping mechanisms and create the vicious cycle mentioned earlier. Surprisingly, some medications may also be to blame. Many stress and depression medications have listed weight gain as a common side effect. Also, some weight loss therapies may result in occasional emotional ups and downs. Both of these issues can of course then worsen either obesity or depression.
Thankfully, there's a lot that one can do to both treat depression and minimize their risk. We go more into detail in our blog post “6 Mindful Ways To Manage Stress” about how to specifically handle the stress in your life. It’s also important to reach out to outside help when in a bad place, whether that be a loved one or a professional. Always know that there is someone who will be more than willing to offer support.
Engstrom, D. (2007). Obesity and Depression. Retrieved from Obesity Action Coalition: https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/obesity-and-depression/
Holland, K. (2018, May 11). Are Obesity and Depression Related? And 9 Other FAQs. Retrieved from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/obesity-and-depression