It becomes even more so when another complicated illness takes hold at once, as challenging as it will be to treat depression. Studies have demonstrated a strong link exists between depression and eating disorders. And the link is as complicated as the two illnesses: They may develop in once, or one can result in the other.
Depression and Eating Disorders: Understanding The Link
Like depression, eating disorders are complicated illnesses. As well as the eating behavior, there will also be underlying emotional issues.
The situation may start because of the emphasis our society puts on being model- or movie star-delightful. Too often women judge themselves by how close they come to that ideal. Adolescents or young women specifically start dieting seriously, in the hope of reaching what they think is the best body. Because they often have a poor self-image and feel they cannot be too skinny, the dieting routine goes to extremes.
“There is no one cause of an eating disorder; rather, it’s distinguished by a preoccupation with food as well as a distortion of body image,” says Basheer Lotfi-Fard, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatry guy in the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University and Children’s Memorial Hospital, in Chicago. The manner patients see themselves is distorted, and they could get increasingly more emotionally trapped in their failure to reach the ideal they’ve set for themselves. Depression and anxiety become part of the picture.
The other can be certainly triggered by one condition, although depression and eating disorders are two separate illnesses. All in all, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that up to 75 percent of those having an eating disorder also have problems with depression or anxiety.
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders
The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, or extreme dieting occasionally to the point of starvation, and bulimia nervosa, of binging followed by forced vomiting busts. Some signs of these include:
- Bulimia. People with bulimia spend lots of time in the bathroom with the water running (to camouflage the sound of vomiting) and may follow severe diets, however may eat a whole lot at times, and could frequently use laxatives to “purge.” Bulimics may be at a standard weight for their age and height.
- Anorexia nervosa. On the other hand, the anorexia nervosa sufferer could be emaciated, weighing significantly less than normal, and may mention missing her period (her body has ceased menstruating, a side effect). Often described as high achievers, these patients really demonstrate signals of low self esteem and whine being too high when it can be obviously below regular.
Treating Eating Disorders and Depression: A Complete Approach
Because of the complicated nature of the two illnesses, individualized treatment plans that address the unique issues of each and every patient have the top results; the eating disorder and also the melancholy, stress, or substance abuse that’s sometimes a factor all really can be medicated concurrently. An approach that was psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral treatment is often used to improve the behaviors related to each eating disorder.
For anorexia in particular, emphasis must be on getting the patient to get weight along with change her eating habits and her thinking about her body image and food; there might be physical states caused by the anorexia that need to be treated as well, including organ damage. As Dr. Lotfi Fard notes, “Early treatment is imperative, as the annual mortality rate of young women with anorexia is 12 times higher than the general residents.”
Based on the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, a complete medical team might include a mental health therapist, a nutritionist, and also a doctor. Therapies may require medication, including to target the melancholy antidepressants and some other psychological variables that led to the eating disorder.
Many patients are effectively treated for the ailments, particularly when the conditions are identified early on. If you’re worried about a family member with the eating disorder and depression, do not hesitate to seek help. Ask your doctor or pediatrician for a referral to a psychiatrist or child shrink.