why do we eat when we are depressed

If you binge eat, you might feel depressed about your food habits. Or perhaps those feelings make you eat more. Either way, you can get better. БPeople do fully recover - and stay well,Б says Timothy Brewerton, MD. He is the executive medical director at The Hearth Center for
in Columbia, S. C. When someone's depressed and they binge eat, it can be hard to know if one condition causes the other or if they're unrelated. It's common for people to get depressed after a binge. The good news is that there are treatments for both conditions. Sometimes, therapy for helps someone stop overeating. About half of the people who binge eat have a such as. Some people binge in an attempt to numb sad, hopeless feelings. Many of those who binge eat and aren't currently depressed have a history of. Also, you might be born with a risk for both conditions. The same genes involved in may play a role in eating and, says Cynthia Bulik, PhD. She's a distinguished professor of at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. might be linked to changes in the same chemicals that affect depression, too. If you have depression, seek treatment.


If you donБt get help, it's harder to recover from. It might also make you more likely to have a setback. "At the very least, you need a good professional evaluation," says Russell Marx, MD. He's the chief science officer for the National Eating Disorder Association. Your primary care doctor is a good place to start, although she might not have a lot of experience or. You'll likely also need to see a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or a. Working with a dietitian might also help. Not every professional has experience treating eating disorders. All who are well-trained, though, should at least be able to diagnose you and, if necessary, refer you elsewhere, says Marx. Visit the or call 800-931-2237 to find an expert in your area. The perfect breakup cure may be a pint of ice cream and a movie marathon (or just tons of booze), but new research shows that binging might start the vicious cycle of eating and then feeling depressed and then eating some more. Researchers at the University of Montreal have released a study on mice, showing the complicated relationship between food and emotion.


Past studies have shown that high-fat and high-sugar foods tend to cause a spike in dopamine, which triggers good feelings and acts as a rewards system. This dopamine spike led researchers to believe that, like drugs. University of Montreal researchers, however, have found that this reward system makes it difficult for people to get out of the cycle. Led by Dr. Stephanie Fulton, the team divided mice into a high-fat/sugar diet group, and a normal control group. After 12 weeks, the team discovered that the mice who ate more fats and sugars not only showed depression symptoms (giving up faster in a swimming test), but were also more anxious, were less likely to explore open areas, and had higher levels of corticosterone (a hormone associated with stress) than the control group. Fulton mentioned that the obese mice's tendency to become more stressed could push them back toward eating comfort foods for the spike in dopamine. "Put animals and humans in a stressful situation, and when you give them the opportunity to eat high-fat foods, it relieves their stress," she said. "In the short term it can be very relieving, but in the long term for perpetuating that vicious cycle, itвs an increase in inflammation and inducing behavior changes. " Behavior changes are also linked to a chemical change in the brain.


Fulton suspects that the influx of dopamine and high-fat foods causes the brain to secrete more molecules associated with depressive behavior. Furthermore, by the end of the 12-week cycle, the researchers found that the fatty-diet mice often had very low levels of dopamine, meaning it was more difficult for them to reach the same sense of reward. So what does it mean for the fight against obesity? "I think first and foremost we need to add mental disorders to the list of symptoms coupled with obesity," Fulton said. "We speak a lot about cancer and type 2 diabetes, but we need to recognize that it is a vicious cycle. For people who are already in that cycle, it's difficult to get out of it because it can be a lot harder to find other ways to seek rewards in different areas. " Fulton is also working on research examining how saturated fat specifically affects the emotional state of mice.

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