According to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry (1995), 50 percent of people with an eating disorder also meet the criteria for depression. What isn’t for certain is whether some people suffering from depression are more prone to develop an eating disorder or whether people suffering from an eating disorder are prone to develop depression due to loss of nutrients and poor health.
Eating disorders may include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, or other eating disorders. People suffering from anorexia nervosa severely control their diet to the point of starvation. Studies show that suicide is 50 percent more likely among people suffering from anorexia than someone without an eating disorder.
Binge eating, the most common eating disorder in the U.S., affects approximately 3 percent of adult Americans. Further, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, reports that nearly half of all patients suffering from binge eating have a history of depression.
People with anorexia or bulimia often feel as if they are too fat, not pretty enough, or simply not good enough. People with a binge eating disorder are often overweight or even obese and feel negative and depressed about how they look. They use food to control their lives. After binge eating they may feel guilty or ashamed, deepening their depression.
A vicious cycle of depression and the eating disorder get wrapped together and the person suffering soon feels lost and out of control, each disorder building on the other. The best course of action is to treat the disorders together under the care of the same medical team. An eating disorder treatment center specializing in a dual diagnostic approach to treat the symptoms as well as the underlying causes of the eating disorder and the depression offers the most comprehensive and successful treatment programs. The underlying cause of both disorders can stem from an earlier trauma or traumas causing stress and anxiety and leading to the disorders as a means to cope with the cause. With a dual diagnostic approach, the medical team can use high-tech neuro and biofeedback scans to map brain function down to the chemical level to determine the trigger or triggers of the depression and eating disorder. This, combined with a holistic, integrated approach that addresses the needs and function of the body as a whole–physical, emotional, psychological, and neurological–ensures a well-rounded treatment program for a full recovery from both the eating disorder and the depression. The cycle of pain, guilt, and depression can be broken once and for all.