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Eating Disorders


How Obesity Can Weigh on Your Mind

Posted Friday 28 December 2018 09:46 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

obesity and mental health

We’re often warned about the physical impact of obesity, but what about the emotional toll it can take?

Obesity continues to be a huge issue for UK healthcare. In fact, 62% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.[1] This is a serious concern, as obesity be a factor in many serious health concerns like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

However, the consequences of living with obesity can also be emotional as well as physical. We’re here to explore the ways obesity and mental wellbeing can interact.

Is obesity a mental health issue?

It’s important to establish that there is no direct causal link between mental health and obesity. The reason this is important to state is that there is often a stigma attached to overweight people that they are ‘slower’ or less intelligent than thinner people. This caricature holds no basis in truth.

Instead, we’re going to explore how mental health and obesity can impact each other in ways shown by research and statistics. Can mental health conditions make obesity more likely, and can being obese increase your chances of experiencing mental health concerns?

Eating disorders

Mental health can impact our weight at both ends of the spectrum, as evidenced by conditions like anorexia. Over the last four decades, the number of eating disorders has escalated hugely both in the UK and worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 1.6 million people struggling with an eating disorder in the UK.[2]

On the surface, eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia represent the opposite problem to obesity; causing sufferers to become extremely underweight rather than overweight. However, they do highlight a key connection between dietary habits and mental health.

This connection also presents itself in habits like binge eating, which is often a key cause of obesity. Binge eating compels people to consume huge quantities of food in a short period of time. Unlike other conditions like bulimia, sufferers rarely purge themselves afterwards. However, feelings of shame, guilt and even depression are common.

Obesity as a symptom: a vicious cycle

hamburger and chipsAlthough we cannot assume that just because someone is obese that they must be living with mental health concerns, obesity can be a symptom of psychological factors. For example, stress is one of the most common mental health concerns in the UK. According to the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 report, 74% of people reported feeling so stressed in the last year that they were unable to cope. What’s more, 46% reported that they ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress.[3]

Conditions like anxiety, stress and depression can lead to the use of food as a comfort or coping mechanism. They can also have a detrimental effect on motivation when it comes to activities like exercise and cooking healthy meals. As such, your likelihood of becoming obese rises with the appearance of these conditions. This can then create a vicious cycle, as being obese can reduce your motivation even further and make you feel more anxious or depressed.

If you’re struggling to lose weight, start the new year off right with safe and effective weight loss medication from Express Pharmacy. Both Xenical and Mysimba can help support you on your weight loss journey and meet your goals in a healthy way. And for further support, contact our team today. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our online Live Chat service.


Eating Disorders Under the Microscope

Posted Monday 26 February 2018 09:15 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

In the UK alone, there are over 1.6 million people estimated to be directly affected by an eating disorder. Of this 1.6 million, 11% are male and 89% are female, and 14-25 year olds are the group most affected by eating disorders.

Conditions like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are common and serious issues in the UK.

On average, 149 weeks go by before someone experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder seeks help. This equates to almost three years, 37 months or 1,043 days during which they suffer in silence.

There are up to 18 new cases of bulimia per 100,000 people every year in the UK, and around 1 in 100 women aged between 15 and 30 is affected by anorexia.

Anorexia & Bulimia

Although both conditions are more common in young women, anorexia and bulimia can affect men and women of any age. Anorexia usually involves sufferers trying to keep their weight as low as possible by not eating enough food or by exercising too much. Bulimia sufferers tend to go through periods of eating a lot of food in a short amount of time and then forcing themselves to be sick, use laxatives or do excessive exercise (or a combination of all three) in an effort to stop themselves gaining weight.

Both of these conditions can be recognised by severe weight loss, fear of putting on weight and being very critical of weight and body shape — to the point where sufferers believe they are overweight despite being a healthy weight or underweight. Both disorders are also often accompanied by mood changes, including feeling very tense, tired, anxious and acting secretively.

Sufferers may miss meals or avoid certain foods they see as fattening, and will often have an unusually low Body Mass Index (BMI) and/or be smaller and thinner than expected for their age. They may resort to medications to fuel their condition.

Both anorexia and bulimia can manifest themselves in a variety of physical conditions, and not just through a loss of weight. Sufferers may also experience dry skin, dizziness or even hair loss. Some sufferers of anorexia can even experience unwanted facial hair.

Migraines are also common in individuals with eating disorders. One study by Neurology Reviews found that 84% of participants with anorexia suffered migraines, as did 74% of bulimia sufferers.

Find out more about effective migraine treatment from Express Pharmacy.

Recovery

Recovery from an eating disorder can be a difficult and long process, and is sometimes something sufferers must battle for the rest of their lives. It’s hugely important that if you suspect you may be experiencing eating disorder symptoms, you consult your GP as soon as possible. From there, you’ll be given help and support. Your GP will ask you questions about your eating habits and overall wellbeing and they will be able to refer you to a specialist who can help you with a tailored treatment plan and therapy program.

For help, support and treatment for a variety of health concerns, contact Express Pharmacy. Call the team today on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet live chat service.

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