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What Causes Depression Weight Gain?

By Tess C. Taylor
Updated May 17, 2024
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Several common problems cause weight gain in depression patients. Depression affects more than just mood, and it can influence the metabolism, alter sleeping and eating patterns, increase appetite, and cause aches and pains that make it difficult to get proper exercise. In addition, those who treat depression with medication often notice a slight weight gain caused by the side effects of anti-depression drugs. Scientists still do not fully understand all the reasons for this, but there is a high incidence of obesity among those who suffer from recurring bouts of depression.

When a person becomes depressed, it is natural to seek comfort in things that provide temporary pleasure. For many, food becomes this relief from feelings of hopelessness and disappointment. During a state of depression, it is common to have a sporadic appetite, craving mostly carbohydrates and sweets, which offer a brief sugar rush in the system that provides short-term relief from the discomfort of depression. This self-satisfying behavior, however, only leads to feelings of guilt and depression weight gain.

A change in sleeping and eating patterns also can lead to depression weight gain. Many people who deal with depression tend to spend more time sleeping, followed by bouts of overeating as the body tries to restore lost nutrients. When eating sweets and carbohydrates combines with this factor, depression weight gain is the result. This can be prevented by eating regular meals and seeking medical treatment for sleep problems.

Depression sufferers often experience body aches, pains, and cramps that make it challenging to want to exercise. This can also lead to depression weight gain because a lack of adequate exercise makes weight gain harder to combat. As difficult as it is to manage, most doctors recommend more exercise to build up endorphins. These helpful hormones promote good feelings and build up in the bloodstream to naturally alleviate the symptoms of depression, including weight gain.

Medication prescribed by a physician to treat depression can sometimes have annoying side effects, include weight gain. Anti-depressants can alter the metabolism, making it more difficult to keep the weight off. While undergoing treatment, avoid depression weight gain by sticking to a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise.

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