Understanding the Connection Between Depression and Eating Disorders
Studies have shown that those who are diagnosed with depression are more likely to suffer with other mental health problems as well, including eating disorders. Eating disorders can come as a result of or can be a cause of depression.
I am currently over two years into recovery from bulimia nervosa, which I struggled with alongside depression. It was one of the darkest periods of my life.
I found that between the two, my depression played a stronger role and would trigger my disordered eating. The low self-esteem and constant sense of worthlessness that were symptoms of my depression would lead to a never-ending and vicious bingeing and purging cycle.
However, every person is different and it is important to mention that there are many different types of eating disorders that are not anorexia or bulimia. Binge eating disorder, EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), selective eating disorder, orthorexia and others are all eating disorders and should be treated and accepted as any other mental illness.
People suffering with a current mental illness such as depression, bipolar or personality disorders are more likely to develop one of these eating disorders, and vice versa.
When Depression Leads to an Eating Disorder
Studies show that depression may lead to eating disorders. A person diagnosed with depression may have little to no self confidence or self-worth and may turn to dieting, binge eating or focusing and obsessing over food, further affecting their health mentally and physically.
Some also feel like they have no control over their current problems or their depression and control their eating habits to feel like they have a sense of control and stability in their lives.
Comfort eating and uncontrollable eating are common symptoms of binge eating disorder, which those with depression may develop in the attempt to find comfort from their depression. Those with bulimia may do the same for similar or different reasons but will then feel intense amounts of guilt and shame and will force themselves to vomit or engage in intense exercise regimes to compensate.