While researchers are unable to say whether depression leads to excess weight or if the extra pounds contribute as an underlying cause of depression, those individuals who fall into the obese classification (BMI above 30) are 50 to 150% more likely to suffer from depression than normal weight individuals. Clearly there is a close relationship between the physical and psychological manifestations that contribute to excess weight and clinical depression.
Depression Closely Linked to Body Weight
Depression is a devastating condition that can have a detrimental effect on many aspects of a person’s life. Depressed people are more likely to eat a poor diet of processed junk foods and become less physically active. The results of a study conducted at the University of Washington and reported in the journal General Hospital Psychology demonstrates that treating obese individuals for depression can have a significant impact on their weight loss efforts.
Study Confirms That Treating Depression Leads to Weight Loss
Women who demonstrated the most marked improvement of their depression symptoms were able to lose the most weight. Researchers found that 38% of the women who experienced improved mood lost 5% of their body weight, compared with only 21% in the non-treated group. The study found that depression is closely linked to decreased physical activity, and most of the weight loss was due to an increased level of exercise.
The study authors could not determine if improving depression symptoms led to greater physical activity or vice versa, but concluded, "among women with co-occurring obesity and depression, short-term improvement in depression is associated with weight loss." They suggest that depression screening should become a normal part of any permanent weight loss program.
Omega-3 Fats Used to Treat Depression
results from 15 independent studies and confirmed that Omega-3 fats are effective at improving mood and may potentially eliminate the need for many people to take antidepressant drugs. Researchers found that the Omega-3 component EPA exerts the most benefit in alleviating the symptoms of depression.
Mood disorders and clinical depression affect nearly 21 million American adults and ranks as the fourth leading cause of morbidity and death. Undoubtedly overweight and obesity are confounding factors that dramatically increase the risk of disease and untimely demise. Research confirms that improving symptoms of depression with traditional therapy and using fish oil supplementation may be the key to relief from clinical depression and successful weight loss.