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Can Chocolate Actually Help Anxiety or Depression? The Mood Affect

Chocolate As A Mood Stabilizer

Does chocolate affect our mood?

Okay, I shared a few 2010 studies on Chocolate Myth post.  Yes, chocolate and depression connections continue to be studied.  The last one I read was titled: “Too much chocolate can make men depressed, study finds” published in the UK.

Scientists found that men who consumed more than 67 grams (2.3 ounces) of sugar per day increased their risk of mood disorders by more than a fifth compared with those with an intake of less than 39.5 grams.

If you google Chocolate and Depression, you’ll find many other studies.  Here is how I see Chocolate: if someone is sad, you give them the sweet treat. Chocolate changes moods for the better.

Simple enough, but why? Why does Chocolate do what it does? It can’t just be the Telegraph’s “sugar high.”

People I know and friends I’ve talked to have very different opinions on the subject of chocolate. And eating lots of chocolate to fight depression and anxiety, does not seem to be of a high concern.  Well, except the concern of eating too much chocolate.

Let’s just review some basic symptoms:  Depression to be clear and to understand, we’re not just talking about “feeling down” or “bummed out” or in a low mood.  We are talking about a serious mood condition, a mental health issue that requires professional help.  Chocolate is not ever going to be a cure or substitute for professional help.

Chocolate And Symptoms Of Depression 

Yes, the sweet and tasty treat of chocolate is good and yummy. But can it take away the bitter taste of the serious symptoms of Depression?

  • Too little sleep or too much sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Loss or increase in appetite
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Loss of energy
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • (If you’re feeling suicidal, Please reach out to the Crisis Line. The toll-free number is: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 for support.

What is true for me is when my symptoms are at raging or more severe, I do crave something sweet.  Not necessarily chocolate, but there is something sweet with chocolate waiting to comfort me in my house or I go and buy it.

(On a personal note, I like chocolate mixed or dipped.  Chocolate and peanut butter was my stable food for a long time.)

Mental Health Humor by Chato Stewart

Chocolate can “make the world go round” and “make friends.”  Even if they just want to steal all my M & M’s and then leave.

Chocolate Myth | Old Cartoon |Marijuana Chocolate| Chocolate Mood

WAIT, Does It really HELP DEPRESSION?

Indulging in chocolate may help lift one’s mood, but a new study has found that people who eat the most chocolate have a greater likelihood of depression. – webmd

Thank you WebMD, we use Chocolate to self-medicate for depression.  I suppose self-medicating with food could not be as bad as with illicit drugs, prescription drugs or alcohol, right? Wrong!

Self-medication with food or using food (Our example here is Cholocate) comes with many of the same high risky behaviors and health choices.  (More about that topic in another blog post.)

The key point with chocolate is not going overboard or to the extremes. Balance is key. Doing so might give you more than a toothache.

Yes, it will give you a mood-boost.  But most recommend:  “chocolate guru’s” I’ve read share that you need DARK CHOCOLATE  70-85% cocoa to have health benefits.

DARK CHOCOLATE, what is it good for?

  • Powerful antioxidants, and all that good stuff that does for us.
  • Pich in minerals like Fiber, Iron, and Magnesium.
  • Flavonoid-rich to improve cognitive ability. (just say it again – FLAVONOID – you know you want to–it’s a fun word.)
  • One of highest content of polyphenols supporting health and well being.
  • Did I mention, it’s CHOCOLATE!!!

What is it in the chocolate that is giving you the boost?  There are a LOT of things in Chocolate that seems to have an effect on our mood.

I always thought it was caffeine and sugar but it may be some other chemicals found naturally in the body.

Chocolate seems to affect the brain’s level of serotonin.  Serotonin will lift you into a positive mood.

Two chemicals I want to focus on called phenethylamine PEA and Anandamide cannabinoid.

Why is phenethylamine (PEA) only found in small amounts in chocolate? This is some powerful trippy mood enhancing stuff.  What does PEA do in chocolate to help out our mood?

Phenylethylamine (PEA) — is a natural brain chemical that has the soothing effect of euphoria. It’s why you give someone you love CHOCOLATE, you want them to love you.  Phenylethylamine can give you the feeling of “the state of falling in love.” Many time the regret is later when all the chocolate is gone.

Chocolate Myth | Old Cartoon |Marijuana Chocolate| Chocolate Mood

 

 Reference
Associate News Editor, R. (2015). Chocolate Consumption May Cause Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 11, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/04/27/chocolate-consumption-may-cause-depression/13234.html

Can Chocolate Actually Help Anxiety or Depression? The Mood Affect

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels). [email protected]


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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2018). Can Chocolate Actually Help Anxiety or Depression? The Mood Affect. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 12, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/humor/2018/04/chocolate-anxiety-depression-mood/

 

Last updated: 20 Apr 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Apr 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.