Frequently Asked Questions About Depression In Individuals With Eating Problems

Eating disorders, health, and treatment are topics that frequently start with the best intentions – a longing to lose weight and manage to eat appropriately. However, those great intentions go awry for some individuals, leading to mental disorders like bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and other problems.

A boy with is navigating his laptop to search about eating problems which causes obesity.

Why some individuals are at a higher risk for eating disorders remains unclear, but studies reveal that mental health symptoms, particularly depression, are almost always a contributing factor. In another study conducted by experts at the Pittsburgh Medical Center, more than 20% of bipolar patients met the criteria for eating disorders, and over 40% had difficulty controlling the way they ate.

As many as 50% of individuals who suffer from binge eating disorder have a past medical history of depression. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases documented this. Almost 5% of adults in America are afflicted with binge eating, making it the most common type of eating disorder.

Depression also affects many people with eating disorders, including binge eating, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. Those with anorexia nervosa, in particular, struggle to consume enough food to maintain a healthy weight. The consequences can be devastating. Studies have found that individuals with anorexia nervosa are almost 50 times more likely to experience suicidal ideation and engage in self-harming behaviors than the general population.

Eating Disorders And Depression

Depression may cause eating disorders to develop, but there is also rising proof that eating disorders can lead to depression. Being extremely malnourished and emaciated, which is a typical feature of anorexia, could result in physiological alterations that negatively impact one’s mood. Depression in people diagnosed with eating disorders commonly has distinct characteristics.


Understand that depression can cause an imbalance in brain chemistry, which can lead to various changes, such as a loss of interest in food or the development of binge eating habits. However, in some instances, altering eating habits may not be as dangerous. Nevertheless, the effects of an eating disorder, such as binge eating disorder, coupled with depression, can be alarming.

Digestive Malfunction – One of the things you should pay attention to when struggling with depressive disorders and depression-related eating disorders is that the sudden change in eating patterns impacts the digestive system. Take body image concerns as an example. When the body continues to go empty for longer periods than even water gets avoided, the stomach will remain empty of essential minerals and nutrients. This can lead to nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, bloating, blocked intestines, blood sugar fluctuations, and bacterial infections. These conditions can be dangerous as they can compromise the entire immune system.

Dehydration And Malnutrition – Food restriction is dangerous because it purges out necessary minerals and nutrients in the body. If the body is not getting enough fluids, it will not function properly, and complications will arise. The damages from low nutrition and eating disorders include seizures, fatigue, kidney failure, constipation, muscle cramps, immobility, pressure ulcers, pneumonia, and a weak immune system. Note that leaving the body without water is far more dangerous than without food. However, minerals and nutrients from water and food are still essential to keep overall health. One may take specific foods that fight depression to help alleviate the mood swings they’re experiencing.

Cardiovascular Problems – Yes, depression and eating disorders can negatively impact the heart, with the most detrimental of the conditions being depression and eating disorders, such as nervosa, anorexia, and bulimia. These conditions have a lot to do with vomiting that depletes the body of electrolytes and vital minerals, such as potassium (which the heart needs to function). Research and studies show that when the body is not getting enough nutrients and calories, it starts to break down its own muscles and tissues for fuel. This process takes a lot of effort from the heart function. Though it may not instantly cause severe internal damage, there is an instance that it can still cause heart failure.

Decrease Hormone Levels – Some studies allow calorie restriction, and clinical trials and tests back up the results. However, not eating for a few days differs from not eating at all. The damage can cause a hormonal decrease, which can affect the levels of sex hormones. The possibility of estrogen and testosterone fall is higher. There’s also a risk of developing a thyroid hormone decrease. It can cause irregularities in a woman’s menstrual period and can also lead to severe consequences such as bone loss.

Brain Damages – The unattended process or patterns of dieting, starvation, fasting, and inconsistent eating is undoubtedly affecting the brain. When there’s a deprivation of the brain’s energy, it cannot properly function and concentrate. Thus, you will experience the inability to think about ideas, have difficulty distinguishing thoughts and emotions, and often struggle with memory retention. In unfortunate situations, brain damage caused by an eating disorder can lead to a series of severe mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

Here are more details regarding depression and how it does to one’s body with eating disorders and mental health.

What Is The Number 1 Cause Of Depression In People With Eating Problems?

Experts suggest that depression on people with eating problems does not arise from merely having too little or too many particular brain chemicals. Instead, many potential factors cause depression, including existing medical conditions, genetic predisposition, improper mood regulation, medications taken, and stressful life situations.

What Happens To Your Body When You Are Sad?

When you are depressed, your body experiences increased pains and aches, resulting in approximately 2 of 3 individuals being diagnosed with depression. You will also most likely have a loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, and a reduced interest in sex.

What Age Group Has The Highest Rate Of Depression?

Major depression in people with eating disorders or problems is highly likely to impact individuals between 45 and 65 years old.  This range, which includes middle-aged individuals, is at the bell curve’s peak for depressive symptoms. However, those at the end of each turn, such as the very old and the very young, may be at an even heightened risk for developing severe depression.

What Is The Hardest Mental Illness To Live With?

The National Institute of Health describes borderline personality disorder or BPD as a severe mental health disorder marked by a structure of continuing instability in self-image, function, behavior, and constant mood instabilities.

Which Race Has The Highest Rate Of Depression In People With Eating Problems?

Major depression was most widespread among Hispanics, which accounted for almost 11%, followed by African Americans, nearly 9%, and finally, Whites, which accounted for almost 8%. The likelihood of depression among the older Hispanic group was more than 40% greater than among the Whites.

What Country Is The Most Suicidal?

The country reported to be the most suicidal in the world is Greenland, following its years of transformation from an isolated state to a welfare state. The male-to-female ratio is 2.99.

Which Country Has The Most Suicidal Deaths During The Year 2019?

The countries with the top suicide death rates across the globe include Russia, Lithuania, Guyana, and, finally, South Korea. Suicide rates of males are higher compared to females in a lot of countries. But predictably, Lithuania, a country with the highest suicide numbers overall, also has the highest suicide numbers for males.

How Does Race Affect Depression?

Depression and the factors related to depression were more common among individuals belonging to minority groups than Whites. Increased depression rates among these groups are most likely associated with greater health problems and lack of insurance coverage, which are factors that are open to public policy involvement.

Do Individual With Eating Problems Often Have Sadness As Well?

Which Eating Problem Is Most Likely Due To A Person Being Sad And Lonely?

What Feelings Do Individual With Eating Problems Have?


Is There A Connection Between Depression And Eating All The Time?

How Have Depression And Eating Disorders Been Linked To Imbalances?



Specialists agree that cognitive behavioral therapy and medication have distinct pros and cons. Medications can be easily taken, and their effects usually show up relatively fast.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, on the contrary, may take a longer time to see results. Most patients need about three to six months of ongoing therapy. Others require even more. But CBT provides a more reliable permanent cure.

When people suddenly stop taking their medications, they are more inclined to relapse than cognitive-behavioral therapy. It’s not surprising, though. The issue with medications is that when you don’t take them anymore, it’s gone. With CBT, you can constantly alter the way patients see themselves and their surroundings. This type of perceptual change can be particularly beneficial for people with eating disorders accompanied by depression.

Specifically for binge eating and bulimia, a combination of medications and CBT may work more efficiently. In a trial done on 30 subjects with binge eating disorder, experts at the Sacco Hospital in Italy discovered that getting both CBT and drugs like Topamax and Sertraline lost weight and decreased their bingeing behavioral patterns.

Customizing treatments for patients especially those with eating disorder is useful. Some are responsive to medications, while others are not. Still, some do well with various types of counseling, including nutritional counseling. Other people require intensive therapy to make changes in the way they perceive food and eating. Treatment is frequently a matter of hit or miss. Certainly, experts are testing a range of cognitive-behavioral therapies especially developed for eating disorders. On the other hand, maintaining a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich foods can act as food for depression, helping to reduce the risks and other mental health issues.

Seeking Help

There is no magic pill for managing eating disorders accompanied by depression. Even rigorous research program rates have dramatically dropped. Patients who have been doing well for some time often go into a period of relapse.

Still, experts agree that there are many things that we can do to manage underlying depression and change people’s mindsets about themselves and how they see food. The first and most important step is to find a mental health professional or a psychiatrist in particular who has extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with eating disorders. Consequently, a person’s success depends on his commitment to change.