How Depression Affects Your Eating

Updated at: Feb 24, 2012
How Depression Affects Your Eating

Understand Depression - Making unhealthy food choices, eating less and trying to empty the loneliness are some of the ways in which depression affects your eating.

Bushra Kafeel
Mental HealthWritten by: Bushra KafeelPublished at: Feb 24, 2012

Eat in depressionDepression can significantly affect your eating habits. Some people tend to enhance their food habits and the others lose their appetite over time. According to Susan Albers, a clinical psychologist at Cleveland clinic in Wooster (Ohio), a depressed person makes use of food to feel better; it can either be by overeating or by not eating enough.


Trying to fill the emptiness

You may have noticed during some days that you crave for chocolate. If you think that this is because of its darning taste, think again. New researches have come up that show a strong link between eating chocolate and being depressed.

Some people eat more to avoid uncomfortable and negative feelings such as sadness, self loathing and shame. A depressed person usually craves for carbohydrates and soothing food (such as ice cream) because these edibles elevate mood by increasing the serotonin level (a brain chemical).

High sugar food soothes your mood, but in the longer run, this comforting food can add pounds to your body weight, thus, making you more prone to serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.


Eating less

Some people eat less when they are depressed. Experts are of the view that when an individual is depressed, he or she has an almost negligible desire to eat food. Some of them often sleep through the meal’s time. As a result, a depressed person unintentionally ends up losing weight.

When you are worried, anxious or sad, food does not seem appealing. According to some people, when a person is depressed, he lacks the motivation and energy to eat. Insufficient supply of food, however, can add to your depression and make you more irritable and sensitive.


Making unhealthy food choices

Another affect of depression on eating habits of an individual is that in depression, the person ends up making unhealthy food choices. When a person is in depression, he/she never makes extra effort to purchase or prepare healthy meals. They are not worried about the nutrient level of food they are consuming, instead they eat food that is conveniently available. Common food choices of depressed persons include:


  • As mentioned before, they grab easily available food; fast food is therefore, on the top of the list of people with depression.
  • In some cases, depressed persons get into a rut of eating the same food continously. One possible reason of this behaviour is that depressed individuals face difficulty in making decisions, concentrating and memorising. Therefore, a simple task of eating a particular cereal can be so overwhelming that they end up eating the same in all the three meals. 


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