Obesity is defined as the state at which a person has excessive fat that impairs their ability to lead a healthy life. It is, at its root, a physical health issue and it can usually be remedied by physical healthcare. However, obesity has a close relationship with an individual’s mental state in that it may be caused by or can cause various psychological disorders which can make the problem worse or lead to other issues which can compound into a serious breakdown in the individual’s mental and physical health. Much research into the subject has found that the social component to obesity, stemming from the stigma associated with it is one of the root causes for its psychological effects.

The most prominent aspects of an individual who are affected by obesity are their body image, self-esteem, quality of life, mood, and disposition (over a longer time period). Conversely, treatments for obesity such as exercise often have positive effects on mental health and are also recommended as treatments for various psychological disorders. This is also why certain treatments such as camps, homeopathy, and health retreats place a greater emphasis on the care of mental health even though obesity can be treated physically. Learn more about health retreats at detox retreat NSW. People who lose weight due to internal motivation such as for their own health and wellbeing are more likely to be successful than those who do so for external reasons such as societal acceptance and relationships.


The relationship between depression and excessive body weight is well known and has been the subject of many studies. People with extreme obesity are several times more likely to suffer from depression. The social perception of obesity as undesirable as well as the issues with one’s own body image are likely to be the causes of this link. It is further linked by the fact that depressed individuals are more likely to develop obesity as a result of it due to the increased lethargy and general lack of activity than follows depression.


Having an unfavourable body image will also cause anxiety, which can be linked to certain eating disorders. Anxiety, especially social anxiety may lead people away from seeking treatment for obesity which can make the problem worse. However, unless the social anxiety is absolutely severe, it is unlikely to deter any treatment programmes or reduce their effectiveness.

Societal Stigma and Perception

Obesity, and in particular, extreme obesity is not well received in society, and even those seeking treatment are often met with excessive criticism and vitriol. This leads to people with obesity developing a disdain for society and participating less in it. This results in further detriment to their social skills, professional lives as well as personal lives. Statistics show that obese people are less likely to perform well in school, workplaces, develop relationships, or get married. While some may use these as goals to motivate themselves in their weight loss journeys, others may be highly demotivated by the fact that their lives become completely derailed due to their weight.

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