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Obesity and Depression: What’s The Link?

Around 43% of adults with depression are obese, but how are the two medical conditions linked. Does depression lead to weight gain or does weight gain lead to depression? There is no right or wrong answer but we want to delve deeper into the link. 

Obesity and Depression

A number of studies have been done in the past about the link between obesity and depression. Why are the two connected and how do you break out of the cycle of feeling down, eating, gaining weight, feeling even more down, eating etc. It’s a dangerous and difficult loop to be in. 

It’s important to note the difference between obesity and weight gain. Everyone’s weight fluctuates due to a number of internal and external factors such as mood. However, the link between obesity and depression is much stronger than the link between generic weight gain and depression. To be medically classified as obese your BMI must be over 30.

Why Does Depression Cause Weight Gain?

Changes in moods can affect our eating habits, some people use food as a coping mechanism and overeat, whereas others stop eating and struggle to want food. 

The more depressed we are, the harder it can become to care about our eating choices or to get up and move around. For some people with depression cooking a meal isn’t something they have the mental capacity to do, so ordering a take-out or eating a processed quick food is an easier option. 

Another factor of weight gain leading to obesity in people with depression is anti-depressants. If you have been given antidepressants to treat your depression then some of the medication has side effects of weight gain. This is very common in people on medication for depression in fact an antidepressant that does not cause weight gain is rare and often depends upon the person taking it and their response to the medication, but there is no perfect answer here. 

There are some antidepressants that are less prone to cause a weight difference, but they might not be suited to you. As each person’s body metabolises things differently. You can speak with your doctor about different medications to try if your find it cause significant weight gain. 

Breaking The Cycle of Depression and Obesity

Slowly over time, you might have put on weight, but that spiralled out of your control and now you’re stuck in a cycle of depression and eating as a comfort. 

It’s hard to know whether just losing weight alone will result in being free from depression although, we have seen it happen in a number of our patients hereafter weight loss surgery. However, there are steps you can take to try and break from the cycle you are in

The first thing is speaking to a doctor, your mental health is just as important as physical health and seeking medical advice for it is important. If you have been living with obesity for a long period of time you could also be at risk of a number of health conditions, it’s always good to check your health checked by a professional. 

Try to get out of the house, this isn’t an easy fix and we know it’s difficult when you’re suffering from depression to want to do these things but a 30-minute walk a day could significantly improve both your mental and physical health.

Speak with a dietitian, eating rubbish food will make you feel rubbish, finding out what foods your body needs to feel better will make a difference in your mood. There are expert dietitians in weight loss who understand the emotional side of eating as well. 

Weight loss surgery is an option if you’re looking to seek a long term solution for weight loss. Private bariatric surgery has little to no waiting list and can help patients lose up to 80% of excess weight. However, you must research properly and speak to experts before making any decisions like this, especially if you’re taking medication for depression, your doctor would need to agree that surgery was right for you.

If you are interested in a gastric procedure such as the gastric band, gastric sleeve, gastric bypass or ESG. You can contact our expert team today and book a free consult with one of our weight loss surgeons.



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