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Does Anxiety Cause Obesity?

While anxiety and obesity are two completely different medical disorders, anxiety has the potential to affect weight gain. In fact, the emotional and psychological stress of anxiety may lead to physical behaviors that increase weight. Sacramento home care providers believe the following information will help family members understand the correlation between obesity and anxiety.

Hormone Levels

People who live with anxiety or stress have increased levels of the hormone cortisol circulating throughout their bloodstreams. Cortisol contributes to abdominal fat storage. The longer someone experiences anxiety the more fat accumulates. 

Lack of Physical Activity

The stress that comes with anxiety disorders drains the body physically. When experiencing generalized fatigue, individuals are understandably less active. A reduction in physical activity while consuming the same amount of calories naturally leads to weight gain. 

Comfort Foods

Many people turn to favorite snack foods when trying to cope with anxiety or depression. Eating these satisfying but unhealthy foods releases the “feel good” neurotransmitters in the brain, which temporarily eliminates the emotional and psychological symptoms of anxiety. However, making a habit of this self-soothing behavior leads to excessive weight gain. 

Prescription Medications

Ativan, Xanax, Zoloft and other anti-anxiety prescription medications used to treat the disorder have a variety of side effects that include weight gain. Some report doubling their weight while taking the medications. The calming effects of the formulations can cause drowsiness, which leads to inactivity and obesity. Certain preparations also stimulate the appetite, which leads to cravings for unhealthy foods. Some people even experience weight gain without changing their eating or exercise habits. By altering brain chemistry, neurotransmitters inhibited or released affect the central nervous system in ways that can also change the rate of metabolism. 

Anxiety/Obesity Cycle

For many reasons, anxiety may lead to obesity. However, the opposite can also be true. After gaining an excessive amount of weight, people often become depressed and develop low self-esteem. Anxiety increases when fad diets and other ill-advised behaviors fail to produce satisfactory results. 

Help your senior loved one manage anxiety in a healthy manner by calling Sacramento Home Care Assistance at 916.706.0169. We provide reliable live-in and hourly home care Sacramento seniors need to maintain active lifestyles. Our trusted caregivers encourage seniors to maintain healthy diet, daily exercise and social ties to boost overall wellbeing. Remember to schedule a complimentary consultation when you call today.