Anorexia and Depression - Discussion

What is the link between anorexia and depression?

Anorexia is a condition where people starve themselves in an attempt to lose weight. It is almost as if people suffering from anorexia are obsessed with weight loss and cannot shift their focus from weight issues. In their constant zest to lose weight, they eat less or starve themselves and indulge in over exercising or other physical activities.

An anorexic ultimately gets caught in a vicious cycle of starving in order to lose weight and feeling guilty every time he or she eats, leading them to starve more in an attempt to make up for what they have eaten. Ultimately, this creates a serious imbalance both physiologically and psychologically, mainly because the body is deprived of essential nutrients and the mind is constantly under tremendous stress regarding eating habits and weight issues.

This kind of imbalance often results in depression because the mind is restless, leading people to feel exhausted, stressed, and ultimately leads to changes in sleeping patterns and further fatigue and frustration; the link between anorexia and depression has thus begun. All of this contributes heavily to being depressed, and people end up hating themselves and often contemplate suicide, as they are not able to come to terms with who they are and their physical appearance.

Some of the classic symptoms demonstrated by people suffering from anorexia and depression include the following:

  • Extreme self-hatred or self-loathing expressed by punishing self by starving, and straining the body through vigorous amounts of exercise and physical activity.
  • Low levels of self confidence and self esteem, expressed in the form of the inability to share their feelings and emotions with friends and family.
  • Unexplainable crying spells resulting from feeling guilty for having eaten or overeating.
  • Lack of sleep stemming from a stressed mind and body.
  • Often talk about ending their lives as they see no purpose in living.

Under the above circumstances of anorexia and depression, it is extremely important for friends and family to first instill a sense of confidence and self nurturing habit in such individuals. Nurturing and taking care of one’s health should become of prime importance, since they have a tendency to neglect the same.

Girls often tend to suffer more from anorexia when compared to boys, mainly because there is a lot of self-inflicted and peer-inflicted pressure on weight loss and appearing a certain way, in order to be accepted by friends and peers. Stray comments made by associates at school or college is often taken seriously and, in an attempt to lose weight and overcome gaining weight, teen girls end up starving themselves, over exercising, smoking, abusing drugs etc, which drives the mind and body to lose its balance, possibly resulting in anorexia and depression.

Obsessing about weight all the time makes them neglect all other important issues and, no matter how much weight they lose, they are never happy, and they reach a point where there is ultimately only skin and bones. At this point of anorexia and depression, they would have lost all perspective and sunk deep into depression, because the mind and body are not able to keep pace with each other, and this imbalance creates both psychological and physiological problems for them.

Sometimes, in between the starving spells, teens often end up binging and gaining all the lost weight and more; again, this will create severe disturbances in their minds and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness creep in, resulting in them contemplating suicide. Inability to focus on health and obsessing about the superficial aspects of life like physical appearance and looks often take over and create depression and other psychological problems in these people.

Lots of love and affection showered on them by friends and family will certainly help them overcome their fear, lack of appreciation for who they are, imaginary shortcomings in their lives, etc. Ultimately, coming to terms with who they are and how they are will help them overcome this serious condition of anorexia depression.

It is, however, very important for people around to help them find their true purpose in life and to focus on something very positive, where they can make a niche for themselves and gain tremendous amounts of self confidence and self esteem. They will have to learn to make up for their so-called “inadequate physical appearance” in some other form so that they are accepted by peers and colleagues.

Once they begin to shine in the chosen field and are appreciated by everyone, the importance given to physical attributes will reduce and they will learn to bring about a healthy balance between eating, exercising, working and / or studying.

Psychotherapy, especially cognitive therapy is found to be very effective in treating people suffering from anorexia and depression, because this will provide them with an outlet to release all the pent up frustration, guilt, and feelings of remorse and self hatred. Once this is out of their system, they will experience a certain amount of lightness and will become open to suggestions. And when encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle and concentrate on the various other talents and strengths they are blessed with, they will then learn to shift their focus from weight to other issues and slowly recover from both anorexia and depression.

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