The Relationship Between Eating and Mood

Relationship Between Eating and Mood

by Ryan Rivera
Calm Clinic

A person who is depressed often manifests symptoms of anxiety. Studies have shown that these symptoms can affect the sufferer’s appetite – either increasing it or decreasing and killing it altogether. This is why a lot of sufferers are also diagnosed with an eating disorder along with their mood disorder. Treatment is often given to manage both mood and eating disorders. But why does this happen? To understand the correlation between the two, we must first understand what it is in mood disorders that affect such basic biological needs.

A depressed individual often feels agitated and restless, which are common signs of anxiety. This makes the person want to engage in an activity that will release all the heightened emotions. This also leads to an increase in appetite, making the sufferer want to eat and satisfy irrational food cravings. Most sufferers give in to the cravings.

This could either lead to a simple inability to control one’s food intake or to a more severe form of disorder called bigorexia. There are reported occurrences of muscle dysmorphia as well. This one, however, has more complicated reasons. It can stem from another disorder called body dysmorphic disorder, which leads someone to think that he or she is too skinny, even if they really aren’t. The anxiety the sufferer feels here is about not being “healthy” or strong enough, thus the craving and the need to eat.

The effect can also go the other way around. If a depressed individual also manifests symptoms of anxiety, it can lessen or totally kill the person’s appetite. This could lead to anorexia nervosa, another eating disorder that is directly correlated to anxiety. Because the person becomes overly conscious about gaining weight, eating is no longer considered important. The sufferer worries too much about getting fat that counting every calorie turns into an obsession.

If this tendency is ignored, it could turn fatal because the person could end up losing interest in food all together. The sufferer could end up not eating at all for days. If anorexia is not the accompanying disorder in depression and anxiety, it can be other eating disorders like bulimia or binge eating.

Anxiety causes the loss or increase of one’s appetite. Studies have shown that certain mood disorders coexist with eating disorders. That is why one should be careful to have not only the mood disorder diagnosed but also the accompanying eating disorder. Sufferers themselves are usually not aware of such a connection, so it is important for them to have the full support of the family or close friends. It is easier to deal with health issues when there is moral support.

It is highly recommended consulting a psychologist or psychiatrist if you suspect that a friend or family member’s eating disorder is caused by depression and anxiety, or the other way around. These professionals know how to manage both disorders effectively. Treatment and management can take the form of medicines, exercises, or therapy or a combination of either of these forms.

Ryan Rivera