Obesity and Mental Health
It’s not just your pizza or fries that are welcoming the extra kilos.
It can be your mental health that is making you obese!
Did you know?
People who are overweight have a 55% higher lifetime risk of developing mental health problems. At the same time, depressed people also have a 58% increased risk of obesity.
Obesity and mental health disorders are frequently co-occurring. Obesity may contribute to the development of certain mental health issues in some people, whereas mental health issues may lead to weight gain in others.
But the question is how?
How can obesity cause mental health problems? Let’s be clear.
There are a variety of practical and societal factors that can lead to mental health issues for patients living with obesity. These include:
Quality of life:
Overweight people often suffer from physical and mental disorders. Being physically unable to do things they enjoy can lead to social isolation, loneliness, and increased difficulty coping with life's challenges. Chronic pain on its own has been related to depression.
Weight bias and discrimination:
One of the biggest challenges for those battling weight issues is society’s negative attitudes toward obesity. These unfavourable misperceptions can lead to biased behaviour, affecting a person's self-esteem and the quality of healthcare they receive.
Poor body image:
People may internalise society's stigma against obesity, making them feel uncomfortable about their weight and dissatisfied with their appearance. People who are overweight may be anxious about being judged for their looks. These can have an impact on a person's mental health.
Obesity-related health problems can also have a negative impact on mental health. Excess body fat and poor eating habits, according to research, increase inflammatory indicators. This increased inflammation can lead to a higher risk of developing depression.
Therefore, obese and overweight people are more likely to suffer from mental health problems.
Now the concern is- Can mental health problems cause obesity, too?
The connection between obesity and mental health issues is not a one-way link. While it’s clear that excess weight can have a negative impact on a person's mental health, it’s also true that psychological health disorders can influence a person's weight. Here are some examples of how:
- Chronic stress, depression, anxiety as well as mental health conditions like bipolar disorder might also make poor dietary choices, which in turn can cause weight gain.
- Serotonin deficiency, which has been associated to depression, disturbed sleep, and anxiety, has been connected to carbohydrate cravings and weight gain. In other words, persons who are deficient in serotonin may self-medicate through food.
- People who are depressed may lack the desire to exercise or to do any other activities. Leading a sedentary lifestyle might lead to weight problems.
Speak up to a therapist and come back to normal life.
Lifestyle changes for physical and mental health
Physical and mental health are strongly linked. You can improve these areas of life by making certain lifestyle changes.
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Practice good sleep hygiene
- Exercise about 3 hours a week
- Release stress
- Practice mindful eating by taking a few deep and intentional breaths before your meal
We all deserve good health and happiness. A well-balanced, holistic treatment plan can help you improve your mood and also empower you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Be healthy and stay active for a better life!