A new study which analyzed the link between stress, overeating and depression came to the conclusion that overeating might cause depression. But the researchers also came with a solution.
The team of researchers from Yale University led by professor of neurobiology Ronald Duman, found that overeating is closely tied with increased risk of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
The team conducted mice trials which suggested that individuals with frequent episodes of binge eating are more stressed than the average so their risk of anxiety is also increased.
According to Duman, he effects of chronic overeating, which is also referred to as compulsive or binge eating, overlapped with those of chronic stress might lead to depression but may also be an increasingly risk factor for other chronic disorders like Type 2 diabetes.
Compulsive overeating is described as being a food addiction which makes people engage in over-consumption of unhealthy food. Being high in fats and sugars, they activate a reward system in the brains, which starts asking for more and more. The high created by compulsive overeating is similar to that created by drug abuse, even generating symptoms of withdrawal when the high-fats foods are replaced with low-fat or low-sugar food.
Researchers discovered the connection between overeating and depression by studying mice that were overfed for a long period. More exactly, scientists gave mice 6 times more food than their daily needs for a period of four months. At the end of this time, they took brain scans and analyze them. The scientists discovered that they could see signs of anxiety and depression in all the animals.
The research team has tried to find a way to decrease the risk so they tested the effects of Ketamine on mice to see if this drug has any effect in ameliorating the risk associated to binge eating, stress and depression.
They discovered that a single low dose of the drug was enough to reverse the symptoms in a very effective manner. More than that, ketamine was found to also reverse the disruption of some brain signaling pathways called mTORC, which are disrupted by both stress and depression.
However, even if the drug proved to be effective into reversing the mTORC signaling pathways and the effects of binge eating over depression, the researchers argue that further research is needed to study the long term effects that ketamine might have over the human metabolism.
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