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Can Disordered Eating Indicate Underlying Major Depression?

In today’s world, there is a never-ending stream of images and opinions concerning what and how much one should eat. While it’s convenient to have so much information at our fingertips, this abundance of opinions can lead to stress and anxiety when it comes to figuring out which habits are healthy and which are not.

Disordered eating is a form of mental illness. People who suffer from an eating disorder may also have another mental disorder, including depression. What exactly is the connection between disordered eating and depression?

What Is Disordered Eating

The term “eating disorder” refers to a category of conditions involving a disturbance in eating patterns. While there are various eating disorders, the most common ones include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and orthorexia nervosa.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia’s common signs include a refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, a distorted view of one’s size, preoccupation with food or calories, and a strong desire to be thinner. People with anorexia severely restrict their calorie intake and may also exercise excessively.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia (“binging and purging”) involves recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behavior, such as vomiting. Individuals who struggle with bulimia may also take laxatives, fast, or exercise excessively.

Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge eating disorder eat until they feel uncomfortable and may feel out of control when eating.

Orthorexia Nervosa

Orthorexia is an obsession with healthful eating. An individual with orthorexia may spend hours each day thinking about and preparing food. They may also compulsively check ingredient and nutrition labels, restrict an ever-growing number of food groups, and show an unusual interest in what others are eating.

Eating Disorders and Depression

Many people with eating disorders suffer from feelings of isolation, depression, low self-esteem, shame, and feelings of inadequacy. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), eating disorder behaviors can cause emotional distress, including depression.

Can Depression Lead to Disordered Eating?

While eating disorders can lead to emotional distress, researchers have found that emotional distress can lead to eating disorders. According to a paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, disordered eating is a maladaptive way for people to cope with their negative emotions. “Low self-esteem is linked to negative perception of one’s body and body dissatisfaction, i.e., prominent risk factors for eating disorders.”

What You Can Do Right Now

To avoid or treat the negative consequences of disordered eating patterns, it’s important to be educated about the signs and symptoms of these mental health disorders. If you or someone you know has exhibited signs of disordered eating, it’s essential to reach out for help as soon as possible. Once you’ve obtained treatment, it’s also important to seek out supportive resources. Therapy, group therapy, or online forums where you can discuss your experiences with others who have been in similar situations are all good options.

If you or someone you know has exhibited signs of disordered eating, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. With the right treatment, you can address the root of the problem and live a life free of the grips of mental illness and negative self-talk. That doesn’t mean that you have to solve your problems on your own, either. Treatment centers exist to help people with all kinds of issues, including disordered eating. Please call The Guest House at (855) 483-7800 today.