Psychological factors that can worsen your obesity. It’s the talk and walk of the mind and body.
Studies have shown that a significant proportion, between 20% and 60% of individuals with obesity, particularly those with extreme obesity, suffer from psychiatric disorders. This prevalence is higher than that observed in the general population.
One area of concern is the relationship between obesity and depression. Research has indicated a relation between excess body weight and depression. Women with extreme obesity, for example, are almost five times more likely to have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year than women with average weight. This association is potentially due to societal pressures regarding thinness and female beauty standards.
Candidates for bariatric surgery also face mental health challenges, with approximately one-third reporting clinically significant symptoms of depression at the time of surgery and about 50% reporting a lifetime history of depression.
Eating disorders like binge eating is a common concern among patients seeking weight loss treatment. Many individuals report engaging in emotional eating or struggling with portion control. Still, only a tiny minority have been diagnosed with a formal eating disorder. Among those with obesity, binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder, and its presence can negatively impact weight loss efforts.
Substance Abuse – Alcohol and Smoking
Substance abuse is not a common issue among individuals seeking weight loss treatment. Still, it is more prevalent among candidates for bariatric surgery. Although active substance abuse is considered a contraindication to weight loss treatment, it is worth noting that individuals with a history of substance abuse may have developed valuable self-regulation strategies that could aid in controlling their eating habits post-surgery.
Healthcare providers must be mindful of how eating disorders, anxiety, and substance abuse can potentially affect weight loss treatment outcomes. Identifying and addressing these concerns early on can significantly improve an individual’s chances of achieving successful weight loss results and enhancing their overall health and well-being.
Mental Health Treatment
Mental health treatment has become a popular option for individuals with obesity who wish to modify their eating habits or address the emotional consequences of obesity. According to studies, approximately 50% of candidates for bariatric surgery report having a history of mental health treatment, while up to 40% report undergoing some form of therapy (such as psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy) at the time of surgery. However, psychiatric medications, particularly antipsychotics and some antidepressants, can negatively affect weight loss efforts or cause weight gain. It is currently unclear how these medications interact with different bariatric surgical procedures. Changes in medication absorption may occur after surgery due to rapid changes in body weight and fat mass.
Quality of Life and Body Image
In addition to the physical health consequences of obesity, the condition harms the health-related quality of life. Studies have shown that excess body weight is linked to decreased quality of life, as individuals often report difficulties with physical and occupational functioning.
Body image is also an essential aspect of quality of life, with body image dissatisfaction being common among individuals who are overweight, as well as among women and girls of average weight. The level of dissatisfaction is linked to the amount of excess weight a person has. Even individuals with significant weight-related health problems may still struggle with body image dissatisfaction, which can influence their decision to seek weight loss treatment.