Here’s How Treating Obesity and Depression at the Same Time Can Help

Everybody cares so much about their health. That is why we all want to do our best to ensure we are obesity-free because it is a chronic disease that, if not quickly treated, can lead to many negative effects. No questionable argument can be laid that obesity is not strongly linked with stroke, heart disease, a disease of the bones and joints, and cardiovascular disease. If left untreated, depression can have very serious — and sometimes long-time negative effects on humans. It has been linked with so many suicides committed, inability to control the excessive intake of alcohol and drugs, poor school performance, unsocial and destructive behavior, inability to sleep or have enough sleep. Also, depression plays a key role in appetite. Depression can be associated with overeating, the inability to choose what food to eat; thus, a deskbound lifestyle. This eventually leads to obesity. When this occurs, the individual is more likely to develop obesity-related problems — such as type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, however hard it is to live a healthy lifestyle, treating obesity and depression at the same time has been proven possible and this can help you live a normal and healthy lifestyle without having to worry more than is necessary. This article is based on a 12-month study conducted on March 5, 2019, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association led by Dr. Ju Ma, professor of medicine in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.
In the study, researchers placed patients under proper examination when they used behavioral weight-loss treatment and problem-solving therapy alongside needed antidepressant medication to eliminate obesity and depression in the patients. Among the more than 400 patients enrolled by the researchers, half took part in the behavioral weight-loss program along with the problem-solving therapy medication for depression. The other half was placed under the usual treatment — which they received from their regular medical doctors.    Participants involved in the integrated care program (behavioral weight-loss program) were placed under careful examination by a health coach for 12 months. In the first six months, the group underwent nine counseling sessions and was asked to watch 11 videos on how to improve their healthy lifestyle. They also had face-to-face and telephone sessions with their health coach. The other half group — those individuals who received treatment from their usual medical experts didn’t receive any treatments. After 12 months of intensive and comprehensive study, the first group experienced modest weight loss and decline in the severity of their obesity than the other group which did not experience any weight loss.  Also, patients in the first group experienced a decline in Body Mass Index (BMI), from 36.7 to 35.9; while participants in the second group did not experience any changes in their BMI. Participants in the first group were also reported to have a decline in their severity of depression scores, from 1.5 to 1.1; while those of the latter group experienced a slight change, from 1.5 to 1.4. Although the study saw a mammoth change — positive effects on obesity and depression — the researchers say they aren’t really sure if this change will translate to or benefit those with similar health problems.  Nevertheless, the lead author referred to this new study as a milestone which will help in the field of medicine and the treatment of obesity and depression altogether. Ma said: “Treatments exist that are effective at treating obesity and depression separately, but none that address both conditions in concert, which is a critical unmet need because of the high prevalence of obesity and depression together. While the demonstrated improvements in obesity and depression among participants receiving the integrated therapy were modest, the study represents a step forward because it points to an effective, practical way to integrate fragmented obesity and depression care into one combined therapy.”

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