Obesity is one of the nation’s fastest-growing and most troubling health problems. If your weight is significantly more than what is generally considered healthy for your height, you are likely increasing your risk of many serious health conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, chronic fatigue, asthma, sleep apnea, and some forms of cancer. For women, obesity can lead reproductive system problems. Even knowing these risks and possible devastating health results, a person struggling with obesity will likely not be able to reduce their weight without addressing underlying psychological factors that have lead to their weight gain.
Psychological Issues Contributing to Obesity
Eating disorders and obesity are rarely limited to genetic factors, prolonged overeating, or a sedentary lifestyle. They usually result from a combination of psychological, environmental, behavioral, and biological factors. Issues such as abuse, neglect, low self-worth, shame, and trauma not only foreshadow the development of obesity, but they can also follow ongoing struggles to control weight. Obesity is also frequently accompanied by depression and the two often trigger and influence each other.
The Coping Cycle
An obese person often seeks temporary comfort in food when they feel distressed. This self-medicating of emotions often results in weight gains, which will reactivate the cycle, and lead to a continuous pattern of using food to cope with emotions. Unless the underlying emotions that are causing the eating are addressed, this short-term coping strategy can lead to long-term problems.
In order to make permanent lifestyle changes, one must focus on appropriate diet and exercise, but also improved stress management and decreased reliance on eating as a coping mechanism. Psychological counseling can lead to weight-loss success and improved overall health by pinpointing the underlying mental health causes. While physicians can help develop safe plans for losing weight, at Georgia Psychiatric Consultants, we focus on the emotions and experiences that have lead to the weight gain. Because every obese individual is different, everyone will have their own unique story. That is why we tailor treatments to address and support each individual’s needs. At Georgia Psychiatric Consultants we focus on a caring, empathetic approach to underlying conditions which have lead to obesity. If you would like to learn more about our treatment options or to make an appointment, please fill out our online form or call us at 678.705.8166, and a member of our staff will contact you.