I have been practicing in Burke, Virginia for 32 years and I have never seen more patients suffering from depression symptoms than in the year 2020. The Covid pandemic is clearly the major reason why this has occurred.
Depression is usually brought on by a combination of internal neurochemical imbalances causing a predisposition to depressive episodes plus environmental triggers that exacerbate the mood changes. The environmental triggers can include physical problems, divorce/relationship issues, work related problems etc. The pandemic and the associated school changes, work issues, financial concerns, lockdowns from “escaping” on vacations and many other environmental issues that have occurred are major triggers for depression.
Weight gain will occur due to several reasons: The human body will often turn to “treatments” for mood issues and high caloric carbohydrate containing foods/snacks will at times provide an immediate gratification. More consumption of alcohol may occur as the depressed person seeks relief from anxiety and perhaps more sleep to escape the pervasive negative thoughts that ruminate in the brain. Additionally, depression often will compel the affected person to stay in bed or remain in sedentary positions as opposed to getting out for exercise.
Trying to address the weight situation without attention to the depression will likely produce a not so successful outcome. I implore everyone to take stock of their own level of happiness (or sadness) and if you feel that depression is present, please seek medical help. If you do not have your own primary care doctor, I am happy to help you.
Depression and other mood disorders should not be hidden due to societal stigmas. 2020 has been an incredibly stressful year and we must try our best to maximize our physical and psychological states to thrive and move forward to a much better future.