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Joseph Mitchell
Joseph Mitchell

Causes Of Weight Loss Depression

Unexplained weight loss has many causes, medical and nonmedical. Often, a combination of things results in a general decline in your health and a related weight loss. Most often, medical disorders that cause weight loss include other symptoms. Sometimes a specific cause isn't found.

causes of weight loss depression

For McIntyre, the first question is whether his patients are sleeping well. He sometimes prescribes medication if he thinks it might help. He also stresses the basics of healthy eating. Finally, he urges people to get some kind of physical activity. In his research, he has shown that people who remain active, even just by going to work, school, or volunteering in the community, have much better outcomes with anti-depression treatment.

While depression primarily affects your mood and emotional mindset, it can cause physical symptoms, too. You might notice aches and pains, a drop in your energy levels, trouble sleeping, unusual stomach and digestive issues, or changes in your appetite.

Some people living with depression end up feeling hungrier than usual or eat emotionally. Comforting foods can feel soothing and often seem to temporarily ease sadness, emptiness, and other emotional distress, especially during the long, dark months of winter.

Depression can also cause a decrease in appetite that eventually leads to unintentional weight loss. Some people might consider this a positive side effect, but sudden or extreme weight loss can put your health at risk. It can also leave you with even less energy, potentially making it more difficult to cope with other symptoms of depression.

Some evidence also suggests a potential link between malnutrition and depression. This link could help explain the fact that many people with eating disorders also have depression, though more research is needed.

When your depression medication seems a likely culprit for changes in appetite and weight, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about making changes. It may take some trial and error to find a treatment that improves symptoms without causing unwanted side effects, but your well-being is worth the time and effort.

A new study at University College London examined 1,979 overweight or obese individuals in the U.K. to investigate the effects of weight loss on both physical and mental health. Unsurprisingly, losing weight led to significant physical benefits: those in the study who lost 5% or more of their original body weight over four years exhibited a drop in blood pressure and reduced serum triglycerides, both of which lower the risk of heart disease.

Researchers and doctors also know that weight gain increases the risk of developing depression. A study published in 2010 found that obese patients were 55% more likely to develop depression, compared to patients who were not obese.(2)

Of the above medications associated with weight loss, Bupropion is the most linked to weight loss. Fluoxetine has been connected to weight loss in some cases, but may then lead to weight gain in the long term. The link between Duloxetine and weight loss is inconsistent.(9)

Not all patients who take antidepressants will gain weight. However, weight gain is a possible side effect of certain antidepressants. For patients who are looking for an alternative to antidepressants, TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) is a medication-free, noninvasive procedure that provides relief from depression symptoms without the side effects associated with antidepressants.

2. Luppino FS, de Wit LM, Bouvy PF, Stijnen T, Cuijpers P, Penninx BWJH, Zitman FG. Overweight, obesity, and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Mar;67(3):220-229. Accessed December 27, 2020.

3. Hur K, Choi JS, Zheng M, Shen J, Wrobel B. Association of alterations in smell and taste with depression in older adults. Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2018;3(2):94-99. Accessed December 28, 2020.

According to the researchers behind a 2016 study, there is evidence to suggest that people with depression may have associated suppressed interplay among the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands, which may affect the function of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

This weight loss may occur because the chronic inflammation that RA causes forces the body to use more energy. In addition, people who have RA may experience muscle loss because the inflammation in their joints keeps them from engaging in regular physical activity.

On August 6, 2014, the website PLOS One published a peer-reviewed study that cast doubt on the common belief that weight loss success leads to psychological benefits such as reduced levels of depression.

According to both the PLOS report and a press release on the ScienceDaily website, the results of the study showed a positive correlation between physical health and weight loss, but a negative correlation between mental health and weight loss:

As study author Sarah E. Jackson noted, the results in no way diminish the benefits of achieving and maintaining healthy weight. They do, though, call attention to how both clients and professionals view the weight loss experience.

Duration matters here: There's a difference between a sad day and unrelenting sadness. With depression, people have some of the symptoms "most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks," according to the NIMH.

Unintended and unexplained weight loss can occur during periods of depression and anxiety, according to the Cleveland Clinic. But exactly how does depression cause weight loss? Consider these two factors:

"When someone is experiencing depression, some people have less activity in the brain area that give hunger cues," Fuss says. That could lead to skipping meals or snacks, or generally eating less at mealtime. This reduction in calories can lead to weight loss.

That is, depression-related weight loss can happen as several symptoms manifest at once. For instance, if you're experiencing a lack of motivation and energy, plus fatigue, it might stop you from prepping a meal (or even ordering take out) or eating a snack.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, depression can also cause a person to gain weight. This can be a side effect of medications (more on that in a moment) or due to changes in lifestyle and habits.

"Comforting foods can temporarily ease those feelings of sadness or emptiness. So those who are experiencing depression may be more likely to reach for carbohydrates and foods that are sugary and sweet, which then can lead to weight gain," Fuss says. These highly processed foods trigger the rewards system in the brain, giving temporary feelings of satisfaction, Fuss says.

To support healthy habits while dealing with depression, Fuss suggests eating a well-rounded diet that includes fruit, vegetables and protein, getting adequate sleep and engaging in social activities keep you connected with friends.

Most commonly, medications used to treat depression are associated with gaining weight, per the Mayo Clinic. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most popular medication prescribed for depression. They work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.

Unexplained or unintentional weight loss can be caused by a number of conditions ranging from mild to very serious, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Consult your doctor for medical advice specific to your condition and health history.

The relation of self-reported depression to one objective and one subjective measure of physical growth: interactions with gender; BEI, bioelectrical impedance; SABS, silhouette assessment of body shape.

Results: Weight loss of 5 pounds or more occurred in 19% of subjects. Only 15% of subjects had lost 5% of body weight, and 4% had lost more than 10% of their body weight. Depression accounted for 36% of the weight loss. Other causes of anorexia included medications, psychotropic drug reduction, swallowing disorders, paranoia, dementia with apraxia, gallstones, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Increased energy utilization as a cause of weight loss was seen in two residents who wandered incessantly, one with tardive dyskinesia and one with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Dehydration was the cause of weight loss in two residents, and one resident had international weight loss for obesity. Cancer was the cause of weight loss in two residents. Four of 30 residents had more than one cause of weight loss. One of 25 tube-fed residents displayed weight loss.

Conclusions: A single cause of weight loss can be identified in most nursing home residents. Depression is the most common cause of weight loss. Psychotropic drug reduction may cause weight loss. The majority of causes of weight loss in a community nursing home are potentially treatable.

A physical examination is a crucial part of diagnosing unhealthy weight loss. Many factors can contribute to an unintentional weight loss in your loved one. Chronic health conditions can trigger weight loss in seniors, affecting metabolism and changing their eating habits. Hence, you must factor known health conditions into your investigation that may result in chemical imbalances.

Besides these conditions, there are plenty of other physical reasons people lose weight. Mobility issues may play a significant role. As a result, people with limited mobility lose more muscle mass than fat.

Older adults who suffer from depression can unintentionally lose weight. Depression makes people feel fatigued, therefore unable to care for themselves properly. It is crucial to monitor depression-related factors, such as grieving, losing independence, and experiencing chronic pain that may serve as indicators of depression.

Compared to the three issues above, social problems can be more challenging to detect. Social conditions are hard to diagnose due partly to their subtle nature and close friends and family members might not see the issues for what they are. A major contributing factor to weight loss is social isolation, where people lose track of their healthy habits due to depression and a lack of available social contacts to compare life experiences with.

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