Anxiety disorder can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, shape or size. However, there are researches that are pointing towards a connection between obesity and mental health problems.A study by Australian researchers concluded that there is a correlation between obesity and mental health. This study, published by the Australian Health Review, was conducted on more than a thousand volunteers. The obese participants mostly aged 45 and above had reported that emotional problems had a significant effect on their daily working life and social activities. This group of people also showed very low serenity levels, and was less calm compared to those who were smaller in size. This indicates that obese people are more likely to suffer from psychological issues compared to their skinny counterparts.
Generally, people who are obese tend to have a poor self image due to their physical condition. Obesity is definitely linked to many health problems. Obese people may not be able to participate in many physical fitness activities which require speed and agility compared to thinner people. So, it is not surprising how physical problems have an effect on mental health. When a person is labeled as obese, automatically this poor self image will result in lower self esteem, thus causing negatives conditions such as depression.
While some studies say that people who are obese tend to develop panic attacks and other mental health related problems, there are others who say that it really is the other way round. There are studies that indicate people who have mental health problems tend to become obese. The rationale is simple; people who are undergoing depression or mental disorders will not be feeling good about themselves. They tend to be less physically active, and overeat. Therefore, they will be the least motivated to work out, or make a trip to the gym. They tend not to be focused on their physical health, thus making them prone to grow obese.
The debate of whether it was the egg or chicken that came first can go on and on, but there is growing evidence that reveal the link between treatments for anxiety and obesity. Medicine that is used to treat mental health problems have come to be labeled as contributors to a number of obesity cases. The British Journal of Psychiatry published a study in 2009 showing that anxiety causes obesity, not vice versa. This study went further to show that medicine was the cause of obesity, not overeating. According to this study, the culprit was psychotropic medication.
In 2010, findings published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research further confirmed the previous studies. This study revealed that there exists a significant relationship between mood disorders and obesity. According to this study, antidepressant and antipsychotic medications were strongly linked to treatments of anxiety disorder. The study went on to make known that antidepressants and antipsychotics were the significant predictors of obesity.
Research and findings definitely flood us with information about the link between anxiety disorder and obesity. However, depression-obesity experts warn us to be careful while interpreting data. This is because medication is prescribed to patients with mental health conditions for a reason, and sometimes there may not be another alternative medication for the particular condition. It could cause more harm to the patient to switch medication and discontinue use of a certain drug just because of the fear of obesity. It is true that certain medications for mood disorders have a high link to obesity, but it does not mean it should be completely done away with.
The best way to combat the problem of obesity with anxiety disorder, whichever way it is linked, is for the person to join a weight management program. Whatever medication is prescribed to treat a particular condition, physical exercise will only do well for the body overall, in promoting both physical and mental health. So, ultimately, moderation is the key – to take a holistic approach to life without neglecting one part or the other.