Depression is a mental disorder, but that doesn't mean that your body won't also be affected. If you're struggling with depression, seeking help from a therapist or other mental health professional can help you to manage this condition and eventually put it behind you. Doing so can not only improve your mental health, but may also boost your physical health if you've packed on the pounds as a result of your depression. Depression can lead to weight gain in a variety of ways, including the following.
Failing To Exercise
Exercise can be an effective way to relieve feelings of depression, given that your body releases "happy hormones" when you exercise that can aid in lifting your mood. Unfortunately, exercise isn't on the radar for many people with depression. Even if you know that getting up and moving would help you, the draw to remain in bed or on the couch can simply be too strong. Over time, your depression-caused sedentary lifestyle can result in you gaining weight because you aren't burning enough calories. Unfortunately, weight gain can further deepen your depression, getting you into a cycle from which you'll need professional help to escape.
Making Unhealthy Food Choices
Many people who are dealing with depression may make unhealthy food choices. Perhaps you tend to be a binge eater, loading up on high-calorie foods that might temporarily give you positive feelings because of the "high" that you get from carbohydrates. Even if you don't technically binge eat, you might constantly look to food as a way to deal with your depression — and, unfortunately, it's too often the unhealthy food choices that feel so tempting when you're unhappy. Over time, this sort of diet can also cause you to gain weight.
Turning To Alcohol
Unfortunately, those who are depressed with sometimes attempt to dull their depressed feelings with alcohol and drugs. Concerning weight gain, alcohol is especially an issue because it tends to be high in calories and carbohydrates, and if you're drinking to excess on a regular basis, your intake of calories from alcohol may be substantial. Even a few drinks a night, coupled with perhaps a large intake on the weekend, can boost your weekly calorie intake significantly enough that you're soon noticing weight gain. Ideally, you'll be able to make the step toward getting help from a depression therapist so that you can improve your mental health and your physical health.
For more information, contact establishments like Dr Kuris Counseling Centers.