Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, are serious conditions on their own. Unfortunately, these disorders often develop concurrently with eating disorders, raising the risk of complications even more. For example, when a client suffers from both anorexia nervosa and depression at the same time, he or she may be less likely to seek treatment for the eating disorder because of the effects of the mood disorder. A connection between depression and binge eating disorder also exists, with clients becoming more likely to engage in binge eating if they are already dealing with depression. Because of the relationship between mood disorders like depression and eating disorders, it is important for clients with both conditions to find a treatment program that addresses these issues concurrently.
Mood Disorders and Eating Disorders: Key Statistics
According to Psychiatric Times, approximately 5 percent of people with major depressive disorder also have an eating disorder. Among females with major depressive disorder, the prevalence of eating disorders is 33 percent. Among people who have been diagnosed with eating disorders, the prevalence of mood disorders is also high. Psychiatric Times reports that approximately 42.1 percent of people with anorexia nervosa also have an eating disorder. Among people with binge-eating disorder, the prevalence of mood disorders is 46.4 percent. Perhaps most shockingly, approximately 70.7 percent of people with bulimia nervosa have a mood disorder as well.
Can Depression Cause Anorexia Nervosa?
In some cases, an eating disorder and a mood disorder are two separate issues that affect the same person and may exacerbate one another. For example, an individual who is depressed may also have low self-esteem and a negative body image that lead to the development of anorexia. Anorexia nervosa and the struggles that come with it may worsen depressive symptoms and vice versa. Although the individual has both anorexia nervosa and depression, one is not necessarily a direct result of the other.
In other cases, however, disordered eating may be a symptom of a mood disorder. For example, people who have depression may lose their appetite and develop the symptoms of anorexia nervosa as a result. Alternatively, depression and binge eating disorder may occur together if the individual binge eats as a response to his or her feelings of depression. Thus, binge eating disorder and depression frequently occur together.
Bipolar and Eating Disorders
One of the most severe mood disorders is bipolar disorder, which is characterized by alternating periods of depression and mania, which is an overactive or overly-excited state. The connection between bipolar disorder and eating disorders is more complicated than the connection between depression and eating disorders. For example, bipolar disorder may be associated with almost any type of disordered eating behavior, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge-eating disorder.
When an individual is in the manic phase of the disorder, he or she may feel very little need for food, leading to food restriction. Excessive exercise is also common among patients who are manic. Bipolar disorder and bulimia nervosa may also become associated if an individual becomes obsessed with making dramatic changes to his or her physical appearance during a period of mania. During periods of depression, anorexia nervosa or binge-eating disorder may occur.
Treating Mood Disorders and Eating Disorders
Whether an individual suffers from co-occurring bulimia nervosa and depression or bipolar disorder and anorexia nervosa, getting the right treatment is essential. The combination of a mood disorder and an eating disorder often leads to more severe symptoms and consequences than either disorder on its own. For this reason, it is important for any individual who has both types of disorders to find a treatment program that will address each of these issues.
Oliver-Pyatt Centers has significant experience treating clients who are dealing with both an eating disorder and a mood disorder. The goal of treatment is to help the client understand how these disorders interact so he or she can address each one and achieve a full recovery. We offer a variety of different types of treatment to maximize the effectiveness of the program, including medical services, psychotherapy, group therapy and more. Contact us today to learn about the treatment programs available at our facility.