Why Depression Causes Weight Gain?

There are many reasons why depression is the major cause of weight gain. Unfortunately, the media has focused on only one cause of obesity – overeating.

This is not true and overlooked other important factors pertaining to people who suffer from clinical depression and turn to food for comfort or because of a hectic lifestyle.

Depression puts people at risk of excess weight gain for various reasons.

Reasons Why Depression Causes Weight Gain

Here are some factors why depression causes weight gain:

Stress Eating

Stress eating is one of the main reasons why depression causes weight gain. When you are stressed, you tend to eat more than usual because it temporarily makes you feel better.

Depression creates stress and this encourages overeating or binge eating, even in people who do not usually eat a lot. The body responds to all kinds of cravings during depressive episodes, including food cravings.

Stress Eating

Furthermore, studies show that people who suffer from clinical depression may turn to junk food like chocolates, cookies, or ice cream when they are depressed or sad because these foods make them happy for the moment.

Hormonal Changes

Some hormones play a significant role in controlling hunger and making us feel full after eating a meal. Depression creates hormonal imbalances which lead to reduced levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. This in turn causes an intense craving for carbohydrates and fat for comfort.

Loss of Appetite

People with depression lose interest to eat food, lose their appetite, or have no desire to cook at all. This is another major depression causes weight gain factor because it does not matter if you are taking antidepressants or going through therapy sessions, your body will require nutrition to recover from depression.

Depressed people who experience loss of appetite usually eat junk food because these foods have a strong taste which helps mask depression disorder.

Side Effect of Antidepressants

Side Effect of antidepressants is one of the most common factors why people suffering from clinical depression put on weight. Most antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) stop working overtime and the person has to increase the dosage for them to continue feeling better.

This is because the overtime, the body becomes resistant to antidepressant drugs. As a result, people usually gain weight while under medication or depression treatment.

Lack of Motivation

People who are depressed get less exercise than usual. They become couch potatoes which increases their chances of gaining excess weight leading to obesity.

Losing motivation also makes it harder for these individuals to stick with an exercise program that will help them lose weight.

Less Exercise

People who are depressed get less exercise than usual. They become couch potatoes which increases their chances of gaining excess weight leading to obesity.

Losing motivation also makes it harder for these individuals to stick with an exercise program that will help them lose weight.

Lack of physical energy

People who suffer from depression lack the desire or physical energy to do anything they usually find interesting or enjoyable in life, including physical activities like sports or gym sessions.

When you are tired all the time, it is easy to put on some pounds because your body lacks the required energy levels needed for burning more calories by undertaking regular exercises and normal daily activities.

Less sleep

Furthermore, too little sleep can cause insulin resistance which paves way for increased cravings for sugary foods, higher carbohydrate intake, and weight gain.

Sleepless woman

Other effects of anti-depressants

Most antidepressants make people put on weight by stopping their bodies from breaking down carbohydrates into glucose they can be used as a source of energy.

As a result, the body has excess glucose which gets converted into fat and stored in the body.

Change in metabolism

Depression causes changes in your biological processes such as metabolism, digestion, and nutrient absorption.

According to recent studies, people with clinical depression tend to store more fats than those who are not suffering from this disorder that is why most men and women under anti-depressants put on weight.


Fatigue is another cause of weight gain in people suffering from depression. When you lack the energy, it’s hard to motivate yourself to take part in physical activities that can help keep your metabolism elevated and burn calories.

Lack of interest in hobbies, social life, and other pleasurable activities also contribute to this. When someone suffering from depression withdraws themselves from everything they used to enjoy in life which eventually leads them into isolation thus putting on more weight.

Psychological Causes

Psychological Causes for weight lossDepression treatment has not proven effective for everyone. Some people experience mood swings even after months or years of using antidepressant medications.

The body’s chemistry might change leading to side effects like major depressive disorder (MDD) relapse occurring again and again despite using anti-depressants and depressive episodes could lead to weight gain in some individuals.

People who constantly live under stress tend to feel tired all the time which leads them into sitting down most of their time rather than being physically active.


People who are constantly stressed out about something get inactive or don’t have the motivation or energy level necessary for undertaking physical activities that would help them lose weight.

Some people turn to emotional eating as a result of constantly feeling anxious, alone, and bored which have negative effects on their health leading to weight gain over time.

Growing older

Weight gain is a natural part of growing older as you age, your body requires less energy for its normal functions.

However, this process varies from one person to another, but it occurs gradually over the years especially after middle age or aging comes with hormonal changes that can affect your weight either positively or negatively depending on your lifestyle choices.

People who lead stressful lifestyles are more likely to put on extra pounds due to hormonal changes.

Other causes of weight gain

There are many other causes of obesity that aren’t listed here but they include genetics, some diseases, and change in weather or seasons that can trigger depression symptoms in an individual increasing their chances of putting on weight.

Lifestyle choices like not exercising regularly enough to burn excess calories, lack of sleep, and unhealthy dieting behaviors also contribute to weight gain over time.

People suffering from clinical depression tend to put on more weight than those who don’t because it is one of the common side effects associated with anti-depressants which affect biological processes such as metabolism thus leading them into gaining extra fat around their body parts.

Psychological issues like major depressive disorder (MDD) relapse, isolation, and negative thinking about your self-image can all contribute to obesity. As many people who go through these issues tend to feel tired most of the time which leads them to be inactive and not exercising.

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