The Connection between Depression and Eating Disorders

Most people will feel depressed at least once in their lives. Each of us will have painful and unjust things in our lives. Each of us will lose people or things that are important to us and experience unpleasant events that are beyond our control. For some, these are just the natural ups and downs of life and they have weathered with the understanding that the future will be more promising. For others, these events will trigger overwhelming feelings of despair and fear that make it practically impossible to imagine that something is different or better.

Over 19 million Americans over the age of 18 are considered clinically depressed. Depression is so common that it ranks second after heart disease and causes lost working days. Even more alarming, however, is that depression is the leading cause of suicide if left untreated.

There are certain studies that indicate that depression is always associated with an eating disorder. Both deprive a person of their happiness and self-esteem. Most often, therapists treat depression alone with medication rather than on a psychological basis and with the eating disorder. In return, the psychological community has expanded its research and study scope by focusing more attention on eating disorders and focusing on other advanced topics related to eating disorders. The desire to differentiate and understand a possible relationship between bulimia nervosa and depression has become a focus in this area.

There are currently two predominant hypotheses about the relationship between eating disorders and depression. The first hypothesis is that bulimia nervosa is an affective variant of depression. This idea arose from earlier reports of a high prevalence of clinical depression in bulimia and a high lifelong prevalence of depression in the families of these patients. However, recent studies suggest that this type of relationship between bulimia and depression is still unconfirmed. The second hypothesis states that bulimia is “a characteristic diagnostic unit with a psychopathological process that is different from that of other mental disorders”.

In addition, the results of a small study suggest that women with eating disorders who attempted suicide may have had a depressive disorder long before their eating problems began. The researchers also found that, among 27 patients with eating disorders with a history of suicide attempts, two-thirds had severe depression before the onset of the eating disorder. This is comparable to only one in 27 patients who have never attempted suicide. Women in the suicide group also developed depression and anxiety disorders at a younger age than the other women. According to the study, a significant number of people with eating disorders intentionally injure themselves or attempt to commit suicide.

The results suggest that most people with eating disorders and without a history of suicide behavior may experience depression as a result of the eating disorder. But for suicides, the first and perhaps most “central” psychological problem can often be severe depression. Therefore, people with a history of eating disorders and depression may have an increased risk of suicide. This indicates that more care needs to be taken to regulate emotions and mood when treating these patients.

It’s astonishing to dive into the statistics and find out exactly how many people suffer from depression and eating disorders still seems to be a mystery to understanding. To date, scientists and researchers are trying to determine the exact causes of these eating disorders, and in particular whether it was the depression that triggered the disorder, or vice versa. It is more important to find the main trigger for depression. The helplessness and hopelessness resulting from eating disorders is enough to make a person’s mood worse. The person with the eating disorder feels helpless and feels out of control while desperately seeking control through hunger or purging.

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