Psychological Effects Of Obesity

Jan 21, 2023

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, causing at least 2.8 million deaths every year as a result of being overweight. The physical consequences of being overweight are well-known, ranging from type 2 diabetes to increased risk of falls, osteoarthritis, and heart issues. However, not quite as much spotlight is given to the effects of obesity on psychology and mental or emotional health.

Recent research has revealed a complex yet significant interrelationship between obesity and psychology, with each posing treatment barriers to another. Similarly, those having both obesity and psychological problems have been requiring a treatment approach that takes both conditions into account.

We all know that our mental and psychological well-being affects all aspects of our life. In fact, achieving this mind-body connection for those with health conditions is essential to get the most therapeutic benefits of a treatment or care plan. According to an endocrinologist, some of the “invisible” burdens shouldered by many living with obesity are as follows.

Social Isolation: Those who carry excess weight are subject to physical and occupational problems, mainly due to size and chronic ailments. It can also make it physically challenging for them to do things they love, like attending fun office events, traveling, or visiting friends and family.

In the long run, this can lead to loneliness, and conditions like social isolation disorder, making it difficult to cope with life’s hardships and move or get along with people. On the other hand, social isolation is strongly linked to depression and has its own psychological risks, such as cognitive decline and stress-induced TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint).

Anxiety Disorder: This disorder is categorized by too much worry about everyday events. While it’s normal to feel worried about life and unfortunate events once in a while, an anxiety disorder can make this worry worse to the point it interferes with the productivity of your life, well-being, and healthy functioning.

Several studies have found that obesity may be strongly linked to mood and anxiety disorders and even lay the foundation for depression in the long run. It can make people rethink everything they do, both in personal and professional life, making one feel under perpetual stress as if being threatened. While it is not known what exactly causes it, one explanation is that this anxiety stems from weight discrimination or the fear of being judged for their appearance – which is perceived to not fit into modern beauty standards.

Weight Stigma: It is extremely normal for those struggling with weight issues to be subjected to weight stigma, which is society’s negative perspective on obesity. Weight stigma comes with stereotypes and attitudes that define or frame obesity as unattractive, lazy, and undisciplined. These perceptions can be widespread among family, friends, and in the workplace, leading to discriminatory behavior that affects a person’s confidence, employment opportunities, and even the quality of life they live.

In fact, it is not unusual to see people with larger bodies earn less and have fewer chances of being promoted or looked at as a person with less potential – compared to smaller body sizes. And as income insecurity is a strong predictor of mental health stability, it is natural for someone with obesity to develop psychological issues.

Weight stigma can also cause obese people to feel embarrassed about themselves and persuade them to be dissatisfied with their appearance, cultivating low self-esteem.

Eating disorders: The hyper-focus on weight loss because of the obesity pandemic, paired with restrictive eating habits, has contributed a lot to the risk of developing eating disorders. Surprisingly many weight loss experts claim that dieting to lose weight with a strict plan can carry more risks than benefits. Some research suggests that up to 52% of people classified as obese and currently under a weight loss program have a binge eating disorder.

Depression: Studies have found that obese adults had a 55% of higher risk of developing depression over their lifetime compared to people who had a healthy weight. It was also found that excess body fat and poor eating habits increase inflammatory markers leading to a higher risk of depression.

Another similar research on the relationship between obesity and depression found that having depression may lead to being overweight, mainly induced by stress eating as a coping mechanism for sadness, loss of interest in activities or hobbies, and negative feelings about oneself. Even certain medications for depression can lead to weight gain or insulin sensitivity, increasing the risk for conditions like diabetes.

Take Charge Of Your Physical And Psychological Health

At GluCare Health, we take a body-and-mind approach toward all our treatments and solution methodologies, including weight loss. As the only specialty one-stop-shop facility for endocrinology and metabolic diseases in the United Arab Emirates, our services feature significantly shorter wait times, less risk, improved care team interactions, real-time laboratory results, instant imaging, and specialty pharmacy.

Our team of specialists works closely with other specialists in ophthalmology, bariatric surgery, thyroid surgery, obstetrics, and other specialty psychological areas to provide a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and support with sustainable results.

We have also recently launched Zone. health, providing access to our obesity services across the United Arab Emirates.

Weight loss programme that is home delivered, made to suit your needsView