The obesity according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it affects more than one billion people worldwide (including 39 million children) and is associated with many other diseases. Now, a new study has revealed that obese people of any age also have a significantly higher risk of development mental disorderssuch as depression, anxiety, psychosis, nicotine addiction, and eating and personality disorders.
The research was carried out by researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and the Complexity Science Hub Vienna and also showed that women suffer from most of these diseases more often than men. Researchers analyzed data on patients admitted to hospitals in Austria between 1997 and 2014 to determine the association between hospital diagnoses of obesity and mental disorders, as well as to identify statistically significant gender differences.
The results were published in Translational psychiatry and reveal that a diagnosis of obesity significantly increases the likelihood of suffering from a wide range of mental disorders across all age groups. “From a clinical perspective, these results highlight the need to raise awareness of this issue psychiatric diagnoses in obese patients and, if necessary, to consult specialists at an early stage of diagnosis,” he stated Michael Leutnerfrom the Department of Internal Medicine II of the Medical University of Vienna and leader of the study.
The diagnosis of obesity preceded the psychiatric disorder
The study’s authors developed a new method that “allowed them to see if there were typical trends and patterns in disease occurrence,” with the goal of determining which disease “normally occurred before and after the diagnosis of obesity,” he explained Elma Dervic from the Complexity Science Hub and co-author, adding, “For all co-occurring diagnoses, with the exception of the psychosis spectrum, obesity was most likely to be the first diagnosis made prior to the manifestation of a psychiatric diagnosis.”
Rates of diagnosed depressive episodes were nearly three times higher in obese women (13.3% obese vs. 4.8% nonobese)
Alexander Kautzky, from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at MedUni Vienna and the first author, emphasized that “up until now, doctors assumed that psychopharmacological drugs were the cause of the link between mental disorders and obesity and diabetes. This may be true for schizophrenia, where we see the reverse chronological order, but our data do not support this for depression or other psychiatric diagnoses.” However, it is not yet known whether obesity directly affects mental health or whether the early stages of psychiatric disorders are not correctly identified.
Increased risk of psychiatric problems in obese women
Women showed a higher risk of developing all disorders except schizophrenia and nicotine dependence than men. For example, 16.66% of obese men are also addicted to nicotine, but only 8.58% of obese women. In the case of depression, the rate of diagnosed depressive episodes was almost three times higher in obese women (13.3% obese vs. 4.8% non-obese), while obese men were affected twice as often as those of normal weight (6.61% obese, 3 .21% non-obese).
With study findings suggesting obesity often precedes the diagnosis of serious mental disorders, researchers have revealed it is a major risk factor for health problems in children and young people and believe further investigation is urgently needed. comprehensive assessment of mental health problems in obese patients to prevent their occurrence or ensure appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
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