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What you eat impacts your mood and a study published in the October 2015 issue of the journal “Nutritional Neuroscience” found that there was a very strong correlation between vegetarian and vegan diets and an overall happier mood with less stress, anxiety and depression. The findings, which are not conclusive, are the opposite of previous findings, which found greater feelings of stress, anxiety and depression in herbivores.
Read more here:
http://www.veggieboards.com/articles/can-vegetarianism-decrease-depression-and-anxiety/

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i think this needs way more research. it's a nice thought, but i doubt it's correct. many vegans i know suffer from both anxiety and depression. i think that's a major issue with empaths.
 

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i think this needs way more research. it's a nice thought, but i doubt it's correct. many vegans i know suffer from both anxiety and depression. i think that's a major issue with empaths.

Your evidence is anecdotal, not based on rigorous research.
 
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Your evidence is anecdotal, not based on rigorous research.
Much of what we cite on here is based on our personal experience, not on "rigorous research." That's the nature of discussion boards.

Based on the article itself, it doesn't appear to be based on rigorous research either. For example, the participants appear to have been self selected. Further, it's unclear what kind of "diet" sites they came from. If they came from sites focused on health and healthy eating, the results aren't surprising. (All other things being equal, someone who eats a healthy diet and gets an appropriate amount of sleep and exercise will be in a healthier mental/emotional state than someone who does not.) Seventh Day Adventists, for example, appear (based on rigorous research) to be an above average healthy population, in terms of both physical and mental health. However, their emphasis on veg*nism is based on their religion's emphasis on health, not on compassion for animals.

If the study participants came from veg*n sites, then I do find the results surprising, since, based on my experiences on veg*n discussion boards, I would say that depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other mental health issues are more strongly represented among veg*ns (at least among veg*ns active on veg*n boards) than they are among the population as a whole. IOW, I agree with unovegan that empathy is a quality that can make one vulnerable to depression, anxiety, etc.
 

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Much of what we cite on here is based on our personal experience, not on "rigorous research." That's the nature of discussion boards.

Based on the article itself, it doesn't appear to be based on rigorous research either. For example, the participants appear to have been self selected. Further, it's unclear what kind of "diet" sites they came from. If they came from sites focused on health and healthy eating, the results aren't surprising. (All other things being equal, someone who eats a healthy diet and gets an appropriate amount of sleep and exercise will be in a healthier mental/emotional state than someone who does not.) Seventh Day Adventists, for example, appear (based on rigorous research) to be an above average healthy population, in terms of both physical and mental health. However, their emphasis on veg*nism is based on their religion's emphasis on health, not on compassion for animals.

If the study participants came from veg*n sites, then I do find the results surprising, since, based on my experiences on veg*n discussion boards, I would say that depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other mental health issues are more strongly represented among veg*ns (at least among veg*ns active on veg*n boards) than they are among the population as a whole. IOW, I agree with unovegan that empathy is a quality that can make one vulnerable to depression, anxiety, etc.
good points.
 

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It's not that I agree with the OP's cited study, which concludes that vegetarians are less depressed. I'm just advising that, as always, we make broad conclusions based on the weight of peer-reviewed studies, not on individual experience, anecdotes, or claims made on forums.

At least one peer-reviewed study has, in fact, concluded that vegetarianism is associated with an increased prevalence of depression, anxiety, and somatoform disorders. However, this study doesn't conclude that vegetarianism causes these disorders. Rather, this study concludes that people who already suffer from these disorders are more likely to choose a vegetarian diet.

Quoting from this study:

"Vegetarians displayed elevated prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders. Due to the matching procedure, the findings cannot be explained by socio-demographic characteristics of vegetarians (e.g. higher rates of females, predominant residency in urban areas, high proportion of singles). The analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the adoption of the vegetarian diet tends to follow the onset of mental disorders." {underlining mine}

Link to this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466124
 

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Not in my case. It is difficult to have to explain myself and justify my choise to others. Many omnivores take great offence when they learn of my diet. This is very socially limiting. Also from the other side are the vegetarians/vegans who tell me that I have not gone far enough. For example "that avocado that you bought funds the cartels in mexico" or "you have not particpated in any animal shelters".
 

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Perhaps people who are living an authentic life in accordance with their deeply held beliefs and values are less depressed. If you are passionate about animals then eating them will be creating a lot of internal conflict. That in turn can lead to depression. I would say that I turned to vegetarianism while I was depressed and became less depressed while a vegetarian - but my recovery was due to medication and therapy.

Depression is a highly individual illness and can have myriad root causes. As a result medication, therapy & lifestyle all make some impact but you often end up having to deploy a combination of all these to see any improvement.
 

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I personally think that it's dangerous to push any diet as a means to treat a disorder that is not directly related to food consumption (like high cholesterol). I understand that there are some issues that cause people not to trust everything the medical community says, but it's still dangerous to expect lifestyle changes to cure everything without medical attention.

Cutting meat out of my diet has helped me with health issues - but in terms of things like weight and food sensitivities where there are clear and logical connections.

And like others have said, I know from personal experience that vegans and vegetarians are not exempt from mental health issues. :(
 

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This study left out all sorts of scenarios (in order of least to most ridiculous):

Perhaps people with MH issues are more sensitive and empathetic and this leads to becoming a veg*an.

Perhaps people who are veg*an are more concerned about their health, more likely to see a doctor, and are more likely to be diagnosed with a MH problem.

Perhaps Veg*ism DOES cause MH issues, but the veg*ns in this study are just so fixated on preserving the image of veg*ism that they lie about it to make it seem like they have no MH issues, thus biasing the study

Perhaps introverts are more likely to become veg*an because they are "in their head more", and perhaps introversion makes people more susceptible to MH issues?

Perhaps veg*ns are less likely to live in the country, which can either cause or alleviate depression, depending on the person.

Perhaps veg*ns are more likely to be atheists, and atheists are less likely to have an MH issue?

Perhaps veg*ns are more likely to be hippies, which means they are more likely to burn patchouli and it's really the "aromatherapeutic properties and positive energy" of patchouli, not the veg diet, that causes people to have fewer MH problems.

Perhaps veg*ns take more time to cook their food, which causes them not to go outside as much, which causes them to not inhale the illuminati/space-alien chemtrail fumes, which cause anxiety in an elaborate conspiring plot to instate a reptilian emperor.

For a scientific study to be taken seriously, it has to leave out ALL other factors except the one that that's being tested. Now of course, factoring out the illuminati is not at the top of the priority list of most researchers, so this rule needs to be taken within reason. Doing this is medicine is unreasonably hard, which causes a lot of contradicting studies, which is why you see "Blueberries are healthy" on one tabloid and "Blueberries will cause cancer" on another.
 

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i think this needs way more research. it's a nice thought, but i doubt it's correct. many vegans i know suffer from both anxiety and depression. i think that's a major issue with empaths.
Maybe vegans are just wired to be more sensitive in the first place (which is why we make the change) and then once they've done that, the continued awareness of the horrors that 'our friends' are living and dying with, is too much to take. The result is ongoing anxiety and depression. I know that while I would never go back, my mood levels are at about a 3 (out of 10) pretty much all the time.
 
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