Prior eating disorders linked to long-term depression risk for mothers

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A history of eating disorders and body image concerns before or during pregnancy are associated with future depressive symptoms among mothers, finds a new UCL-led study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

"We found that women who have had an at any point before childbirth, even if it was years earlier in adolescence, were more likely to experience during pregnancy and up to 18 years after the birth of their child," said the study's lead author Dr. Francesca Solmi (UCL Psychiatry).

"This finding suggests that many people with eating might not fully recover since we know that eating disorders and depression often happen at the same time."

The researchers used data from the 'Children of the 90s' cohort study, including 9,276 women.

Previous studies had suggested that depressive symptoms among mothers with eating disorders might improve after the perinatal period, but those studies didn't have such a long follow-up time to confirm that the increased risk of depressive symptoms does in fact persist for women who have had an eating disorder.

The research team found that women who had ever had anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa experienced more depressive symptoms over an 18-year follow-up than those who had never had an eating disorder.

"Depressive symptoms in mothers have been shown to be associated with a number of negative outcomes for their children, such as emotional and behavioural problems. It is therefore important, to identify and treat eating disorders early, as these could be one potential cause of the depressive symptoms," said Dr. Solmi.

"We should also identify pregnant women with an eating disorder, so that they can be provided with mental health support. This could benefit both mother and child in the long run."

Dr. Abigail Easter, one of the authors of the paper who has developed to help identify eating disorders in pregnancy, added: "There is a need for more training for practitioners and midwives on how to recognise eating disorders in pregnancy, which could help to reduce the long-term impact of mental ill-health."

Current guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that use a questionnaire to identify depressive symptoms in . The current study supports the value of this, as well as for identifying eating disorders.

"There's a lot of stigma around both depression and eating disorders, so many people might not feel comfortable talking about it or seeking help. Assessment of mental illness in pregnancy, as , could help pick up on signs of depression and/or eating disorders at this crucial stage of life," said first author Yu Wei Chua, who began the study at UCL before moving over to the University of Strathclyde.


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Journal information: British Journal of Psychiatry

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May 14, 2019
"This finding suggests that many people with eating disorders might not fully recover since we know that eating disorders and depression often happen at the same time."

-And this may be yet more evidence that eating disorders are another mechanism to LIMIT THE BIRTHRATE. The 'body image' that sufferers prefer is the prepubescent one.

A most substantial result of these disorders is the cessation of ovulation. Whether epigenetically-induced or present within the female herself, the perception of overcrowding may trigger such drastic behaviors in order to prevent fertility.

Chronic overgrowth is the result of technology, of eliminating natural attritive elements. It has been with us since before we were homo sapiens. Other conditions such as homosexuality, infanticide, postpartum depression, or bullying/rites of passage may be indications of ways of limiting growth in order to maintain the health of the tribe.

May 14, 2019
If this is indeed the case, hormone treatments or perhaps the removal of reproductive organs may be effective treatments. It might even be that a change in environment would alter the perception of overcrowding.

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