Obesity: Dangerous to More Than Just Your Physical Health
Medical and healthcare professionals now agree that mental illness and obesity are closely related. The mental and emotional side effects that follow from obesity are just as detrimental as the long-term health repercussions. Treatment must focus on the underlying mental issues that cause, and stem from, obesity, rather than solely on only weight loss. An effective weight loss treatment program such as wilderness therapy which encompasses both body and mind is typically the best approach to consider.
Suffering from obesity causes an individual to be more susceptible to developing related mental health problems because many of the underlying factors are the same. Those who suffer from obesity have an increased 30% risk of having a mental illness. Mental illness increases the risk of obesity by two to three times. More dangerously, a person diagnosed with a serious mental illness has an increased risk of almost 40% of dying from an obesity related issue, like diabetes or coronary heart disease.
The mental health outcomes related to obesity can be more dangerous than the long-term medical problems that arise.
Being overweight comes with a range of emotional issues that bring about mental illness. Specifically, obesity can lead to depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and many other problems.
The emotional side effects of obesity include:
- Low self esteem
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of desire to be physically active
- Feelings of isolation
- Impulses to cause self harm
The connection between mental illness and obesity can be a vicious cycle.
Obesity and mental illness relate to each another in the way that they both contribute to, and result from, the other. Depression is linked to weight gain, which can lower self-esteem, in turn increasing feelings of depression and continuing the cycle. Just as obesity can worsen the symptoms associated with depression, treating obesity is a preventative measure against depression. The same is true in the other direction. The side effects of depression are contributors to obesity, but treating depression is a preventative measure against obesity. Thus, any treatment of obesity that focuses solely on weight loss and does not address this connection will not have long-term success.
A successful treatment program must look at treating the underlying emotional issues associated with obesity.
The mind and body work in tandem, and the healthy management of one must include the other. Wilderness therapy is a multi-dimensional approach to treatment that addresses the underlying obesity issues through a combination of physical activity, holistic nutrition and therapy. The all-at-once approach to treating physical and mental issues at the same time is significantly more successful because the positive changes made to the mind impact the body, and visa versa.
The elements of wilderness therapy work together to produce positive results in a peer supported environment. In wilderness therapy, weight loss and physical health improvements are the outcomes of improved mental health. Improved mental health is also an outcome of the outdoor physical activity that comes with an adventure-based program. The wilderness setting lends itself to a multi-dimensional therapeutic approach because of the kind of environment that it is. It offers comprehensive and effective solutions to treating obesity and mental health by recognizing that the two are closely related, and by educating participants on ways to manage both issues together moving forward.
Wilderness therapy is an effective weight loss treatment program and encompasses treatment for both the body and the mind. Call Rites of Passage Wilderness at (800)794-0980 to learn more.