This Article is About
obesity
mental health issue
mental health conditions
mental health problems
positive psychology
workout program
social isolation
anorexia nervosa
emotional problem
fulfilling life
Will Psychology Take A Bigger Stand In Obesity In The Near Future?
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Will Psychology Take A Bigger Stand In Obesity In the Near Future?

If you think that psychologists and the mental health profession have nothing to do with weight loss, obesity and your physical well being, you might be deluding yourself. For the most part, people do not gain weight, at least not enough weight to qualify as medically obese just because they are lazy or because they eat too much. In most if not all cases, there is an underlying mental or emotional problem that is leading to the weight problem.

Currently the industry is debating whether obesity should be considered an eating disorder, joining the others which include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. There are heated debates about that issue, with some saying that obesity is not a stand alone condition but rather a symptom of a larger, underlying issue. Those who think that obesity should be considered an eating disorder point out that it is a also listed as a medical condition, one that increases the risk for a number of other conditions. Psychologists who favor adding it to the other eating related mental health conditions point out that obese people often are at higher risk for other mental health problems like depression and social isolation.

Regardless of how obesity is viewed by psychologists, it is very clear that the industry must play a much larger role in the problem, not only after the fact but in prevention, especially in those who are at the highest risk for serious weight gain. Counseling someone because of their weight may seem strange, but many people will fail every diet or workout program that they try simply because there is a mental health issue which is keeping them from achieving their goals.

Psychologists can be beneficial to people, teaching them to use cognitive learning theories and other perspectives. Positive psychology, advocated by Dr. Martin Seligman, teaches that psychology can teach people, even those without maladaptive behaviors to live a more positive, fulfilling life by allowing them to focus on their own strengths and goals.

Mental health counselors can become a vital part of the weight loss team, especially in those who are at risk for serious consequences because of their weight, family health history and their underlying reasons for weight gain. Until those reasons are addressed and dealt with, the best diet and exercise program will be doomed to failure. A psychologist can allow the person to confront their emotional upsets and become successful with their new program.


Street Talk

This makes sense to me. Overweight kids need some kind of help for sure.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I am working on my Master's degree for exactly this reason- telling people to eat less and get more exercise is all well and good but it does not always address the reason they gained weight in the first place. In some people, it is simple laziness and gluttony but in others, there is a far more serious issue that has to be resolved before anything can be accomplished.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I am so glad there are people like you with the caring and interest to tackle stuff like this. Go get them Amie!

  
  about 7 years ago
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