We know more about depression than ever before, but because the condition takes many forms depending on the person, a list of possible symptoms like the following is often used:
- Lower quality of life
- Lack of interest in, and withdrawal from, usual activities
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions
- Insomnia or excessive sleep
- Stomach aches and digestive problems
- Sexual dysfunction
Thoughts of death, suicide, or self-mutilation
Depression and obesity
Research tells us that depression and obesity are closely linked, but their relationship is a two-way street: Obesity can lead to depression, and those suffering from depressive disorders are at risk for obesity.
The inter-relationship between the conditions is complex and involves physiological, psychological, and psychosocial aspects. However, it is clear that reducing weight helps in overcoming depressive tendencies that may arise from social stigmatization that obese individuals have to face. Depressed and obese individuals can experience chronic stress and may exhibit a dysfunctional response to the situation; the response being to gorge themselves with food; particularly comfort food that is often very high on calories. Also researchers conjecture that depression can lead to a weight gain because of the antidepressant medication interfering with the normal functioning of the endocrine system.
Bariatric surgery is proven to help individuals lose weight, and patients who are both obese and depressive benefit from this surgery. Bariatric surgery is not a direct treatment for depression, but its positive effect is documented by improvement in post-surgery markers of depression.
Enhanced self-esteem following bariatric surgery and necessary lifestyle changes have been shown to help patients suffering from depression. However, continued medication is required to keep the disorder at bay. Because depression is also associated with diabetes, one of the co-morbidities related with obesity, bariatric surgery to curb obesity is a worthwhile treatment procedure.