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A new way to look at obesity: what are the causes, the effects and the treatment?

We are used to tackling obesity from the viewpoint of health and nutrition. We tend to forget that psychological factors play a key role in the prevalence of this disease too.

What is obesity?

According to the World Health Organization, which is known persons obese as those who have a body mass index that is greater than 30 kg per square meter.

The World Health Organization also confirmed that obesity will become the first and only cause of death on the planet by 2020 ... That is because the phenomenon of physical and psychological health problems.

It also attributed the increase in obesity rates to changes in dietary habits and lack of exercise and physical activity as well as the jobs that are full of psychological pressure, and fired at this stage name "nutrition transition", where increased consumption of fast food (the main cause of obesity) in addition to the increased work pressure and lack of exercise.

Obesity: psychological causes and results.

  • Can you consider obesity a psychological disorder?

Scientists dismissed the possibility of considering obesity a psychiatric disorder that according to (The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) there are specific criteria that must be met in the case to be classified as a disorder. Mental disorders are the situations and behaviors associated with abnormal mental impairment of mental functions.

Obesity has a genetic, anatomical, physiological and environmental causes. These causes directly affect the brain's ability to regulate nutritional behavior. It is the brain’s job to decide whether the desire to eat is based on hunger or satiety, or other factors, but in the case of obesity, the brain's decision is also linked to other operations occur in other parts of the body.

For example, recent studies have shown how the bacteria found in the intestines affects the minerals and vitamins absorption process and also the process of producing energy from food. The amount of these bacteria vary based on the difference between the people. Thus, it can be for two people eating the same amount of food but differ in the amount of calories that they end up gaining from the food.

  • Moods and psychological causes of obesity.

There are many psychological disorders that may cause obesity or weight gain, such as overeating and bulimia disorder (an eating disorders. A person eats very large amounts of food in a very short period of time, and then resort to all attempts to get rid of this food by throwing up, working out compulsively, or using laxatives. It may not cause obesity, but with the passage of time it leads to weight gain. These mental illnesses have causes and cures.

What concerns us here is the psychological state of mind that makes us want to eat too much, For many people, eating it is "fun". When they feel despair or frustration, they rush to eat large amounts of food to get themselves to feel happy, but that happiness does not last long. First, there are psychological reasons to this short lived happiness; too much sugar in the blood leads to the transformation of the mood from good to bad, and the other reason is obesity, because eating too much based on the mood actually leads to obesity ,and thus a person becomes trapped in vicious loop of frustration and superficial comfort.

According to (The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders) there are a lot of misconceptions about dietary behaviors that lead to obesity, such as eating unconsciously, and this is what happens to many of those who eat the food to feel better, or eat small meals (snacks) with high calories or eat heavy meals at night!

  • Psychological effects of obesity:

In a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It was found that depression is found more in people with obesity.

Another Swedish study found that the likelihood of depression grows by 3-4 times in obese people compared to people who have the ideal weight. In addition to that, they suffer from many eating disorders as mentioned previously.

  • Can we consider psychotherapy and motivational speeches to be part of treatment of obesity?

Of course! An American institution that deals with obesity and the treatment uses motivational speeches as part of its system for the treatment of obesity. Motivational sessions are held weekly in addition to diet and exercise plans. Most of these people have recorded a positive improvement in their weight loss journey after having these sessions.

Psychotherapy and motivational speeches can make an excellent add-on to your of a weight-loss system. Adding some relaxation exercises and yoga to unload the negative energy and reduce psychological problems will also be of great help.

Revised by:
Doaa El Borai
A pharmacist from Gaza, I have passion for the field of nutrition. I am particularly interested in human psychology and its effect on our dietary habits and general well-being. I have taken online classes on health and nutrition. Moreover, I own Facebook pages with thousands of followers where I talk about pharmaceutics and medications. You can find the links to those pages here below: The world of pharmacy: fb.com/The.World.of.Pharmacy Pharmacists and Doctors Online: fb.com/togreaterhealth/ Professional Pharmacists of Palestine Facebook Group: fb.com.com/groups/402564766614108/