Does Weight Loss Improve Depression?

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Aside from the usual benefits of weight loss such as the reduction of the risk of heart disease, research  shows that it can counteract depression.

The recent Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), a research society on eating and drinking behavior, showcased new research on the promising link between weight loss and depression. After depressed patients were placed in a weight loss program, they experienced overall health improvements.

The expected changes, such as lowering the risk of heart disease and lessening the amount of cholesterol in the blood, were met. Moreover, even the attitude and emotions of the participants of the study were found to be positively affected.

Weight Loss Improves Mood in Depressed People - The Study

A group of 51 participants, composed of both men and women, were asked to follow a supervised weight loss program in order to lose excess pounds. The program that was specified included changes in lifestyle and diet. After six months, both the depressed and non-depressed patients lost weight. Those who were depressed lost eight percent of their body weight while those that were not depressed lost 11 percent.

After the program, a questionnaire was given to depressed patients to determine their state of mind. From the results of the questions, it was shown that the participants experienced an improvement in their moods and reported a lessening of the symptoms of depression. Aside from this, there was a reduction in the levels of triglycerides, which are known as risk indicators of heart disease and stroke.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Lucy Faulconbridge, said that the research that was conducted is pioneering. “This research is novel because clinically depressed individuals are not usually included in weight loss trials due to concerns that weight loss could worsen their depression.”

The results of the study were groundbreaking in that the traditional school of thought was challenged. Instead of making the depression symptoms worse, the weight loss actually benefited the moods of the depressed patients. Not only did weight loss alleviate the symptoms of depression, it also lowered the risk of heart disease and stroke, which is associated with obesity.

This highlighted the need to learn more about the physical and mental conditions of those who are overweight, a group known to be high-risk for medical problems. The researchers recommended further work in order to determine in specific terms the effects of excess of weight on psychiatric disorder patients. Further research must be done in order to discover this relationship.

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