Effect Of Fasting On Mental Health According To A Psychiatrist

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When I was a kid, my mother wouldn’t allow us to skip our meals.  She made sure that we took this matter seriously because she wanted us to have a sound and active mind, especially when in school. Growing up with this discipline when it comes to eating, I gained too much weight. and it has become a problem.    

Becoming overweight caused me to be depressed, so I started talking to a psychiatrist and then a BetterHelp counselor. One thing he suggested was to try fasting.  I was very hesitant about it at first, but after giving it a lot of thought, I finally tried, and I loved the results.  

Since fasting is difficult for most people, even if it proved to be effective, it might not be a long-term solution to weight control. Edward Abramson Ph.D.

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Now, I no longer consider my mother’s teaching about having regular meals, and I even recommend fasting to some friends.  I consciously avoided food by doing fasting in order to lose weight and I found out that it was effective and what surprised me was I didn’t experience brain fog despite not eating, and my mood improved.   


Fasting Is More Than Just Spiritual Practice  

Fasting is an ancient practice for health and spiritual purposes.  From the time of Hippocrates, fasting has been a method used to treat many diseases, and religions also use the method of fasting to help believers open up to higher spiritual consciousness.  But many are doubting its effectivity since not eating is believed to cause a person to experience mental fogginess with a feeling of food craving.    


Types Of Fasting 

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There are many various types of fasting, and the most practiced are  

  • Intermittent Fasting – holding back from eating every other day for a period.  
  • Therapeutic Fasting – abstaining from food for two days to a few weeks, consuming 200 to 500 calories a day  
  • Calorie Restriction – involves consuming 30 to 40 percent fewer calories than usually taken each day for a prolonged period 

 When you practice intermittent fasting, you designate regular, specific times to eat nothing or to consume very few calories. When your body goes into a fasting mode, your digestive system quiets. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.

Many Good Effects Of Fasting For Our Brain   

Mental fogginess, change in mood, stress, and headaches are just some of the short-term side effects of fasting, but in the long run, there are many advantageous effects of fasting that might surprise you.    


As time goes by, the body releases chemicals in order to protect the brain from the harmful effects of not eating, especially by the time when food scarcity occurs.  Such chemicals will put you in a good mood, showing that your body has adapted even to the point of starvation.  These chemicals are also responsible for your body’s “fight and flight” response.  After some time, your body will automatically kick off stress with the boost in your feel-good and protective chemicals.   


Therapeutic fasting improves depression symptoms after just a few days.  Even feelings of anxiety on chronic pain patients improve through therapeutic fasting.  The logic behind this is not known yet but can be associated with the release of endorphins 48 hours after fasting.  It is the same as athletes’ increased endorphins that gives them a good feeling after a stressful event.   

Headaches and migraines are alleviated with fasting as it boosts the levels of serotonin in the brain.   It is somewhat thought to prove that therapeutic fasting is effective in reducing migraine headache attacks and is shown to be efficacious.   

Studies even show that therapeutic fasting lessens the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.   

There is no one size fits all way of staying fit and healthy.  

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Eating not just healthily and regularly is believed to be essential to a person’s overall well-being.  Starving ourselves, abstaining from food consumption on certain periods of time helps our brain to function actively as opposed to old beliefs.    

 I had always believed it was healthy to eat frequent, small meals to keep your metabolism going. But it turns out it’s healthy to give all the systems involved in metabolism a break because when they have a chance to rest, they can repair themselves and even ward off possible maladies. — Liz Swan Ph.D.

The habit of skipping meals is not always harmful.   In fact, there are many good effects of fasting on our mental health according to a psychiatrist, and I believe that is so as I started to lose weight when I started breaking the rules of not skipping meals.  Besides my weight loss, staying focused became easier. I was also able to accomplish tasks faster and I had become more active.   


It may have a good effect on me but I’m not telling that the same will be the effect on everyone.   Better ask a psychiatrist first before trying any form of fasting and be sure to have your health checked by your doctor to see if fasting is for you.