Mental Health Counseling and Obesity

Obesity has strong connections with mental illness. In fact, adults with depression are 60% more likely to be obese than those without. Anxiety, eating disorders, and stress can all contribute to obesity; contrary to popular opinion – it is not simply a question of willpower.

Woman in white shirt sits with psychiatrist discussing her excess weight in relation to her mental health struggles at the Mental Health Center at Destination Hope.

Fighting Obesity with Mental Health Counseling

Identifying the source of extreme weight gain can be linked to a number of factors, including medication, mental health, injury, ingrained habits, and a lack of nutritional knowledge. Mental health counseling can get to the core of what is causing obesity. Without understanding why a person is overweight, the path of treatment is not always clear. Someone who has gained weight due to medication should have a different treatment plan than someone who is living with an eating disorder or someone who has experienced trauma and eats to cope.

How Mental Health Counseling Can Help

If you are obese, you are already aware of it. The point of mental health counseling is not to acknowledge the problem, but to help you understand how you can change it. A mental health professional paired with a nutritionist can set up a series of achievable goals that focus on your particular situation. This may include nutritional advice, weekly exercise, and talk therapy to address the underlying causes like depression or anxiety. Many people who manage to lose weight through diet and exercise may find that the weight returns because they have not yet dealt with the internal triggers that lead to weight gain.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders encompass more than anorexia nervosa. There is actually an entire range of mental health disorders related to eating, including binge eating disorder, bulimia, or a combination of several disorders. Eating disorders may co-occur with depression or anxiety, and mental health counseling can be very important in devising an appropriate treatment plan. An eating disorder is complicated and includes emotional issues as well as habitual behaviors with food or exercise. Binge eating disorder, which can cause obesity, is not just about food. Over-eating is a symptom of something deeper that can be difficult to resolve on your own.

Insurance Coverage

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is an epidemic in the United States. It can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and other medical conditions. As part of the Affordable Care Act, many insurances cover mental health counseling as part of intensive behavioral therapy for obesity. This includes screenings, nutritional assessments, and counseling. You can also talk to your insurance company about what their coverage plan includes regarding obesity counseling.

As with other mental health or substance abuse disorders, overcoming obesity cannot be achieved without a commitment from the client. Obesity and mental health disorders cannot be changed overnight, but with time and patience, you will see results.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness, please call us. At Mental Health Center, we are committed to a patient-center approach to mental health treatment. Working together with all of our patients, we promise to find a treatment plan that best fits your condition – giving you the resources necessary to live a happier, healthier life.

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