Youth Blog: Depression and the Effects on Eating Habits

By Matthew Ison

Depression. Although for most, depression may be a touchy and unwanted topic, depression is a real disorder that affects millions every year. And not only the person suffering from the effects of depression, but also those close to them. The side effects may vary from person to person with depression affecting everyone both physically and mentally. One common symptom of depression can be the altered eating habits. Eating is something we must do each day in order to sustain ourselves, but depression can make the task of eating a complicated and painful one. 

Depression causes most individuals to lose energy and interest in their daily activities, and when this affects appetite, the results can vary. For some, this loss of interest results in cooking less and finding meals unappetizing on a daily basis. This can result in rapid weight loss and can lead to serious health complications if untreated. Depression can also cause what is known as “emotional eating” which results from individuals finding satisfaction from the food they digest. Typically, these “emotional eating” diets are high in sugar and fat as these chemicals respond to the part of the brain that experiences pleasure. This can result in binge eating and overeating which can lead to greater health issues later in life. The lack of proper nutrients and vitamins deprives the body and mind of the needed nutrients in order to live a healthy life. Often, to fill the gap of missing nutrients and vitamins, antidepressants and other prescribed medicines fill the void and allow the body to continue bodily functions. There is no specific diet that can help prevent depression, but eating healthy and consistently striving for a healthy lifestyle can boost your physical and mental wellbeing. 

If you or someone you know may be experiencing depression or some of its side effects, there are some options available to seek treatment. The first step involves speaking about your symptoms to someone you trust. Followed by a possible doctor’s appointment to ensure that the changed eating habits aren’t a result of a different ailment.


Following are resources for those in need and assistance in their own times of need.

NEDIC 

NEDIC provides information, resources, referrals and support to Canadians affected by eating disorders through our toll-free helpline and instant chat. Outreach and education programming focuses on the awareness and prevention of eating disorders, and is available online across Canada and in-person in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Kids Help Phone (or dial 1-800-668-6868)

Kids Help Phone provides services for those in need on issues such as suicide, COVID-19 and other related and relevant issues. Text, phone and messenger assistance is available. 

BC Government 

The BC Government has compiled a list of reliable sources that assist those in vulnerable positions. 


Personal Reflection

Mental Health has been and will continue to control a large portion of my daily life. Having known people affected by depression and their own mental health, the importance of maintaining healthy mental health cannot be stressed enough. I have personally witnessed the effects of depression on a person’s mental health, eating habits, and relationships. The importance of taking time to yourself and taking your own mental health into account is a topic that should be taken seriously. A healthy life may be hard for some dealing with existing issues and problems, but with time and effort, happiness and self-confidence will come. 

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