Mind Over Meal: Influence of Regular Therapist Visits on Eating Habits

Mental health has been gaining more awareness because of the rising number of people who deal with conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. The influence of mental health on eating habits makes it difficult for individuals to maintain their physical health. Seeing a therapist can help treat some of these issues. For example, some conditions cause individuals to lose their appetite, leading to undereating. Other conditions cause individuals to overeat constantly.

You must understand how different mental health conditions can affect your eating habits. This way, you can work toward addressing the underlying cause and improving your diet. It’s a good idea for everyone to see a therapist regularly, but there are different kinds of therapists who specialize in different mental health disorders. It’s important to find a therapist that can help with your specific issues.


Depression can lead to both undereating and overeating, from experiencing one or the other to both in the span of a few days. Some people find it hard to get out of bed and cook a healthy meal, leading to eating less. Others may turn to comfort food as a way to feel better, causing overeating and weight gain.


Anxiety causes stomach discomfort, such as feeling nervous or nauseous, leading to decreased appetite. Just like depression, others may use comfort food as a way to reduce stress or produce happier feelings.

Eating Disorders

Many people suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. These disorders involve extreme behaviors regarding food intake, body image, and weight control. Some disorders lead to overeating as a way to cope with stressors, while others cause individuals to skip meals as a way to control their environment or lose weight. Eating disorders can severely impact both mental and physical health.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often linked to eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa. Changing eating behaviors is usually a way to cope with stressful emotions or memories from traumatic events, such as car accidents or the loss of a loved one. For instance, those with purging behaviors are attempting to numb the pain and avoid reminders of the traumatic event. They also disconnect from their thoughts, feelings, and body, leading to the development of eating disorders. A therapist will usually recommend EMDR along with regular therapy visits.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is connected to eating disorders because of the need for rigid dietary rules and perfect food rituals. One example is throwing out food if there are certain ingredients, a specific number of calories, or dented packaging. When paired with an intense fear of food contamination and difficulty dealing with minor or major changes to daily life, these habits cause a restricted diet and other behaviors associated with eating disorders.

Bipolar Disorder

For those with bipolar disorder, eating habits may change to reflect their different mood states. Individuals going through a depressive episode may experience decreased appetite and weight loss, while those going through a manic episode may turn to excessive eating as a coping mechanism.

If you are having trouble meeting your physical health goals, you need to address your mental health first. The first step is to talk to a medical professional, such as a therapist who specializes in mental health disorders, about your symptoms. They can diagnose and treat your mental health condition, leading to better eating habits and increased motivation toward your goals.