Free Press Journal

Binge eating may trigger depression



New Delhi: Next time you munch on that mouth-watering pizza with extra cheese or enjoy a king-size burger with French fries and soft drink, remember that too much of junk food can not only add extra kilos around your belly but may lead you to depression, warn experts. Binge eating episodes lead to obesity which, in turn, causes depression owing to weight stigma, poor self-esteem and reduced mobility reports IANS.

On the other side, depression may also lead to obesity as such people tend to engage in “emotional binge eating” to deal with the pain of rejection, have poor sleep patterns and turn into couch potatoes.

“Some people especially suffering with atypical depression tend to eat more, sometimes in binge pattern. Owing to increased eating, there is weight gain which leads to further exacerbation of depressive symptoms, explains Ashish Kumar Mittal, MD psychiatry from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“In such people, eating relieves stress for brief duration by providing distraction from disturbing thoughts,” he says.

A typical depression is a subtype of major depression that involves increased appetite or weight gain, sleepiness or excessive sleep, marked fatigue or weakness, mood swings and a feeling of rejection.

“The most common cause of depression is neurotransmitter (a substance in the body that carries a signal from one nerve cell to another) imbalance in the brain, especially involving serotonin and norepinephrine,” Mittal told IANS.

Increased appetite or weight gain, sleeplessness or excessive sleep, fatigue or weakness and anxiety are general symptoms of depression.

“Psychologically or biologically, it is believed that eating leads to a release of certain chemicals which lead to satisfaction or relaxation. We do have patients who binge eat because of depression,” adds Dr Manish Jain, senior consultant (psychiatrist) from BLK super speciality hospital in the capital.

Experts feel that women suffer a great deal more than men on this front owing to biological and psychological factors. A typical depression is seen two to three times more commonly in women than in men.