Clinical psychologists have stated that overeating and oversleeping could be a sign of depression. They explained that these signs were the coping mechanism of people with depression, urging those with such experience and their relatives to seek prompt medical attention.
A study by Samira Rabiei et al, on the association between depression, obesity, and body composition in Iranian women, revealed that women with obesity had a high rate of severe depression.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2017, over seven million Nigerians about 3.9 per cent of the population suffered from depression. The Global Obesity Observatory reports that 9.9 per cent of Nigerian women were obese while 6.5 percent of males were obese. The experts noted that the continuation of these symptoms could lead to suicidal ideation and obesity.
The United Nations Children’s Fund noted that being overweight in children could lead to an early onset of type-2 diabetes, stigmatization, and depression, stating that it was a strong predictor of adult obesity, with serious health conditions.
A professor of Clinical Psychology at the Imo State University, Nkwam Uwaoma, stated that overeating might be a result of boredom in depressed people. He clarified that it was a symptom of depression, adding that it could further lead to oversleeping and suicidal ideation.
“If a person gets to a level of overeating, the issues that would accompany it are, one, because the individual is eating as a result of boredom, there is the likelihood of being overweight and this has its repercussions.
“This may further lead to withdrawal from other activities, if the person is employed there would be absenteeism because the only interest the person had at that point was eating, sleeping, and waking up. This would cause hypersomnia which is oversleeping and the opposite is insomnia.
“The individual would be withdrawn from physical activity with a reluctance to do anything but sit, eat, and sleep,” Uwaoma said.
The don noted that such habits could lead to a breakdown of the body system, which could cause overweight, leading to improper functioning of the internal organs and blockage of the arteries and veins, among others.
The social and physical implications were the withdrawal from normal physical activities like exercises, leading to reduced psychomotor activities.
Uwaoma added, “There will be a pronounced retardation in psychomotor activities. On the job, the individual would begin to withdraw and indulge in oversleeping, followed by the abandonment of expected responsibilities, further causing guilt which is a killer disease.
“It is at this point that the individual may want to attempt suicide when he discovers that he is becoming useless and not doing what is expected of him.
“If guilt is not properly managed it would lead to hopelessness which would be associated with helplessness and when combined the individual would move to suicidal ideation. At the end of the day, there could be an increase in aggression.”
He stated that individuals already showing signs of depression should immediately seek and be offered help.
The don urged relatives of overeating individuals not to deny them more food but to take them to the hospital for psychotherapy.