Obesity and Mental Health: Are They Linked?

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Obesity has a major effect on mental health along with its adverse effects on physical health. It is also a global epidemic and the fifth-largest cause of death around the globe. The scale of this era monitors more than just body weight. Hence, it is critical to recognise and manage the negative effects of obesity on mental health. The realisation to end this pattern comes with knowing the relation between obesity and poor mental health. Let’s explore the link between obesity and mental health.

Disorders associated with Obesity

Anxiety disorders are predominant in people who are on the heavier side; this phenomenon often corresponds to weight discrimination. Increased hazards to mental health are a result of the stigma, discrimination, health issues, and low self-esteem that obesity causes. Societal hardships, discrimination, and public scrutiny cause numerous mental disorders. Let’s talk a little about these disorders and understand the link between obesity and mental health.

Anxiety

Obesity affects mental health and most of the people with obesity are more likely to experience anxiety. Weight discrimination plays a significant role in adding to this anxiety. This often stems from stigma and judgement in young minds. The fear of bullies and judgements causes panic and unsettling feelings inside them. Therefore, resulting in low self-esteem, they find it even harder to connect with their peers.

Depression

Obesity and mental disorders like depression frequently coexist. Due to their fear of judgement, these kids often isolate themselves. Thus, causing major depression and a negative self-perception. Depression and obesity are similar to the example of chicken and egg. The question of who came first doesn’t exist in general but in individual cases. Excessive weight gain causes depression and antidepressants cause weight gain. 

Bipolar Disorder

The link between bipolar disorder and weight remains unclear, but individuals with bipolar disorder may turn to food as a coping mechanism. Medications used to treat bipolar disorder, such as certain mood stabilisers, can lead to increased appetite and weight gain.

Eating Disorders

People on weight loss diets are always on the verge of developing eating disorders. The hyperfocus on weight loss and restrictive dieting increases the risk of developing eating disorders. Up to 52% of individuals in weight loss programs may develop compulsive eating disorder. Usually, people in weight loss programmes are very conscious about their diet. Whenever these people have a breakdown, they turn to compulsive eating which leads to disorders. Medications used to manage mental health issues may also contribute to weight gain.

Addressing Obesity and Mental Health Disorders

There is a holistic approach to manage both of these issues together and simultaneously. Let’s discuss a few of them.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Regular exercise is always the best way to lead a healthy lifestyle. It becomes vital for both physical and mental well-being. It reduces the risk of numerous deadly diseases like high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and Type-2 diabetes. For mental health, it helps you to build a routine and function your brain properly.

Quality Sleep is the Key

Sleep is the most important part of our body’s growth and development. Lack of sleep restricts your body to rest and recover from daily activities. It has a negative impact on your physical and emotional well-being. It also affects metabolism causing weight gain. If you have any kind of sleep disorder or find it hard to sleep, seek medical help on priority.

Manage Stress Effectively

As we discussed above, stress is the key factor in both of these health conditions. Find healthy ways to cope with your stress rather than putting it off and suppressing it. Meditation and regular exercise tone down your stress levels and make you productive. Stress majorly pushes people into eating unhealthy and eventually leading to eating disorders.
Obesity and mental health have a complex connection in which each has an impact on the other. While mental health issues may lead to weight gain, obesity also puts mental health in jeopardy. It is necessary to recognise this relationship to take a comprehensive approach to physical and mental well-being. People are able to move towards a balanced and meaningful life by dealing with societal stigma, encouraging healthy behaviours, and getting mental health support when necessary.

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