Obesity can cause both social and psychological issues that should be addressed.
Stigmas and bias toward people with obesity can have a serious impact on mental health. Socially, people are often isolated, and have limited friendships, romantic relationships, and professional relationships. Discrimination against people with obesity impacts students in schools, professionals and workers on the job market, and even social settings that can become painful. Psychological effects, such as, lower self-esteem, shame, guilt, and rejection lead to stress and anxiety.
This becomes a cycle that’s unhealthy both for physical and mental health, because stress increases cortisol levels in the body, and cortisol leads to weight gain. Psychological conditions such as, stress and anxiety can also cause sleeplessness, and a lack of good sleep can also cause weight gain.
People often continue to blame and berate themselves for what seems like a repeated personal failing to reach a weight loss goal or to keep weight off, not realizing that they are also fighting hormones and other physiological factors.
Even the process of losing weight or reaching a weight goal can be mentally challenging.
Because of all of these complex emotional health issues, it’s important for obesity treatment to address mental health as well as physical health.
At GOM, our programs include stress management techniques, mindfulness, and education to help with some of these issues.