Just as depression can cause poor sleep and mood swings, it can also lead to changes in your diet. But everyone is affected by depression differently, and this is especially true when it comes to food.
Some people may begin to overeat, while others may forget or skip meals entirely. With the help of a specialist, you can learn to manage comfort eating or loss of appetite.
At Genesis Psychiatric Solutions, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Ifeanyi Olele can talk to you about eating difficulties associated with depression and help you reestablish healthy eating habits.
Depression and diet
As you certainly know, you require food every day to survive, and your experiences surrounding what you eat and how you eat it have a massive impact on your mood and mental health.
If your mood is consistently low due to depression, you might turn to food for comfort or turn away from it wherever possible.
You’ve heard that depression leads to weight gain, but is it really true?
There’s a grain of truth to the concept of comfort eating. Good food makes you feel better, so you naturally seek out a hearty meal after a long day. But if these meals are consistently large or unhealthy, you could be caught in a cycle of depressive overeating.
Depression and anxiety have both been linked to loss of appetite, as well as fatigue. If you’re too tired or stressed to make meals, you’re more likely to skip them to sleep or to eat whatever is easiest to prepare.
This depression food trap not only makes you feel more exhausted, but also contributes to other symptoms like brain fog.
Not everyone experiences one behavior or the other. You might go days without appetite before binge-eating and overindulging in junk food, or you might overeat and spend days punishing yourself by fasting as a result.
If you have a feeling your eating habits are unhealthy, they probably are. Learning to recognize how depression affects your diet is the first step to eating better, and mental health treatment can help you feel better, too.
When to consult a specialist
Once you’ve determined how your depression manifests in your diet, you can learn to manage your meals appropriately.
If you have a tendency to eat for comfort, you might limit things like junk food and snacks in the house. If you suffer from loss of appetite or fatigue, preparing meals beforehand and eating things you enjoy can encourage you to eat more.
Improving your diet and staying hydrated can work wonders for your mood. You’ll feel more energized, and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day can prevent emotional highs and lows.
But overeating and loss of appetite are often just symptoms of a deeper issue. If you’ve been struggling with depression, our team at Genesis Psychiatric Solutions can help. Schedule an appointment by calling the location closest to you, or request a consultation online.
We have offices in Fairfax and Alexandria, Virginia, as well as Washington, DC.
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