Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Depression and Weight Gain

Hello Everyone:

Depression is more than just feeling “sad”. It also includes a number of other possible symptoms, including poor eating and sleeping habits, lowered self-esteem, low energy, loss of interest in activities, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, and even suicidal thoughts.

All of these symptoms create extreme emotional upset that can wreak havoc on your weight. Because depression is such a miserable experience, poor eating, laziness, and excessive sleeping often become avenues for temporary relief. Unfortunately, overeating and a lack of bodily movement can add a lot of extra pounds. These self-defeating choices then serve to increase your depression, and so the cycle goes.

The best way to not allow depression to hurt your weight is to proactively and strategically manage your depression better to elevate your mood. Obviously, the better your mood becomes, the easier it is to make better eating, sleeping, and exercise choices. Here are a 3 ideas help you better control and elevate your mood:

1) Seek psychotherapy from a qualified psychotherapist. The therapy approach best shown to minimize depression is “cognitive-behavioral therapy”. To find a helpful therapist, I suggest searching the therapist finders at: www.apa.org and www.aamft.org, and then looking up the therapist websites for more detailed information.

2) Search out and utilize quality self-help materials for depression. I recommend 2 possible workbooks: The Feeling Good Handbook by Burns and Mind Over Mood by Greenberger and Padesky. CD programs that many of my clients have found helpful include How to Love Yourself by Hay and Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. Websites with helpful material on depression include: www.psychologytoday.com and www.yapko.com/content/selfhelp/aboutdepression.aspx

3) Consider taking a supplement to minimize the depression from a biological angle. An assessment for antidepressant medication from a psychiatrist is an option. A second is to look into natural supplements such as strategic vitamins, minerals, herbs, and health foods. A good resource natural supplement information is Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Balch.

Depression is more than a risk to your weight. It can be a serious issue needing direct professional intervention. Please consider the ideas above to start. Remember, life is too short to be unhappy, let alone overweight. Think about it.

Best Wishes,

Dr. Randy

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