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Donna Hill Howes, RN, Family Medicine, answeredWomen who have depression often also have eating disorders, including bulimia and anorexia.
Young women are most vulnerable to development of an eating disorder, especially when they engage in activities that emphasize the importance of being thin or achieving an ideal body weight through compulsive exercise or persistent dieting. Perfectionism and negative self-perception are common stepping stones to full-blown eating disorders. Because of the need to be perfect, they may also feel sad, hopeless, guilty and worthless; lose interest in things they used to enjoy; and lack energy or the ability to concentrate their attention to do things they normally would. They may also feel nervous, tense, anxious, worried, irritable, distracted and restless, and experience sleep disturbances.
People with eating disorders commonly display mood disturbances consistent with depression and anxiety disorder. Major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are the most common psychiatric conditions in people with eating disorders. It is commonly thought that anxiety disorders may precede the onset of an eating disorder, and depression persists after intervention and recovery. Interestingly, higher rates of eating disorders have also been linked to eating alone at an early age and having less than five family meals per week.