Changes In Appetite May Be An Early Warning Sign Of Depression

Changes In Appetite May Be An Early Warning Sign Of Depression
Depression May Affect People's Appetite: Let Us Understand How

Changes in a person's appetite may either be a warning sign of being depressed or a sign of an upcoming depressive episode.

Written by Kinkini Gupta |Updated : September 24, 2023 10:31 PM IST

Depression brings a lot of changes in the body and mind. Every person reacts to it in different ways. Some may stop doing the activities that they used to love; some people start to rely on alcohol or substance to feel better. Similarly, depression also has an impact on appetite. According to Mayo Clinic, changes in appetite are very common in people battling depression.

It can affect you in two ways. You will either start binge eating even if you are not hungry or stop eating altogether. As a result, you might end up gaining or losing a lot of weight during this period. Experts also say that changes in a person's appetite can also be a sign of being depressed or of an upcoming depressive episode. As per a study published by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, people diagnosed with clinical depression tend to experience an increase in their appetite. This is mostly because some people eat to avoid negative emotions. They literally eat their way through sadness.

Changes In Appetite May Be An Early Warning Sign Of Depression

You may think, what harm could eating a little more than usual or a little less than usual could do? The answer is a lot! We depend on the right kind of food and the right amount of food for good health. We maintain a balance between them so that we can live longer and live healthier. Both eating more and eating less can make you very ill.

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One of the reasons why these appetite changes occur in people during depression is Anhedonia. This is a mental state due to which people feel less pleasure from certain things in life that used to make them happy. Just like people stop doing things that they used to love, they also might stop eating because they feel de-motivated, hollow and empty. This is the explanation behind loss of appetite. Another study published in 2023 in the Journal, Psychiatry Research Communications revealed that depression leads to a significant reduction in executive functioning. This means that, people might have reduced attention span, memory and problem solving ability when they are depressed. This also leads to a reduction in appetite.

Why Do People Binge Eat During Depression?

Typically, people battling depression eat very less food. This is one symptom that any body may be able to notice. But, some other people might cope with depression by eating more. The explanation behind it is simple, it is like stress eating. When people feel anxious and stressed, they eat. Similarly, when people are depressed, the only thing keeping them alive is the food in front of them. It is a way of escaping reality. Some people might even find brief moments of happiness through eating.