Symptoms of Depression: Weight and Appetite Changes

August 24, 2022

Symptoms of Depression

weight and appetite changes

by Jamal Ross

Major depression is one of the most common psychologic conditions worldwide. During a lifetime, about 12% of individuals may be affected by depression worldwide. (1) The symptoms of major depression include: depressed mood, anhedonia, changes to eating habits, weight, sleep, energy level and concentration. Today, let us find out more the symptoms of weight and appetite changes.

When depressed, you may also neglect your health by eating too much or not enough. Depression can produce a ripple effect whereby your mental health affects your physical health. According to the DSM-5, changes in appetite and weight can be a symptom of depression. (2) Consumed with emotions, you may lose your desire to eat. Emotional hurt sometimes supersedes the pain of hunger, as days pass by without eating appropriately. As a result, some people with severe depression can lose a significant amount of weight.

Other the other hand, as a comfort measure, some with depression can eat more than normal or make unhealthy food choices. You may crave junk food, such as candy bars, ice cream, or potato chips. If someone struggles with making healthy food choices already, it can worsen during periods of depression. Significant weight gain therefore accompanies depression for some people.

Therefore, it is important to stop depression in its tracks by eating regularly and making conscientious food choices. Arm yourself with knowledge about which foods can improve your energy levels, such as fruits and vegetables, and which foods can cause you to feel sluggish, such as those high in carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. Remember the proverb, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15 ESV). Therefore, learn all you can about the foods you should eat to keep yourself healthy and free of disease. Rise above depression by deciding to eat a well-balanced diet. In this way, you can remain healthy and possess your promise with strength and vitality when it arrives.

1. Krishnan R. Unipolar depression in adults: Epidemiology. In: UpToDate, Solomon D. (Eds), UpToDate, Waltham, MA (Assessed July 27, 2022)
2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.)

Jamal Ross

Dr. Jamal Ross is an internist and pediatrician who possesses a passion for prayer and preventative medicine. He has worked in the fields of primary care and hospital medicine.

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