Title

IMPORTANCE OF ADDRESSING DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY IN OBESE PATIENTS

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Medical Science (Physician Assistant)

Department

Physician Assistant; College of Health Sciences

First Advisor

ELIZABETH MASTEN MS, PA-C

Abstract

Obesity is a serious health concern in the US, and as of 2020 was stated to have adversely affected over 40% of the population1. While obesity’s physical effects on health are better understood, the mental health effects of obesity are understood to a much lower extent, and not always addressed in healthcare. This article highlights the increased likelihood of adverse mental health effects of depression and anxiety that typically accompany uncomplicated obesity, the importance of addressing these mental health effects, findings that can indicate a mental health screening necessity, and ways to effectively treat obesity-accompanied mental health disorders.

The early diagnosis of these adverse mental health effects of obesity ensures proper care and treatment for the holistic well-being of the patient.

Depression and anxiety in an individual can be multifactorial, caused and aggravated by several different factors in a patient’s life. The article does not implicate obesity as the only cause of depression and/or anxiety in a patient, or vice-versa. Instead, the article focuses on the role of obesity and the increased likelihood of depression and anxiety in obese patients. The remainder of the article proceeds with an acknowledgment that an obese patient with depression and/ or anxiety can have other accompanying mental health conditions, physical ailments, and a multitude of factors that play a part in the overall health of the patient, but are beyond the scope of this article.

Comments

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • PA in practice will be able to recognize the effects of obesity on mental health with a focus on anxiety and depression.
  • PA will be able to screen for anxiety & depression in obese patients and provide treatment options.
  • PA will understand the importance of addressing the mental health effects of obesity.

Additional Files

SJ- Capstone PosterPpt.pdf (498 kB)

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IMPORTANCE OF ADDRESSING DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY IN OBESE PATIENTS

Obesity is a serious health concern in the US, and as of 2020 was stated to have adversely affected over 40% of the population1. While obesity’s physical effects on health are better understood, the mental health effects of obesity are understood to a much lower extent, and not always addressed in healthcare. This article highlights the increased likelihood of adverse mental health effects of depression and anxiety that typically accompany uncomplicated obesity, the importance of addressing these mental health effects, findings that can indicate a mental health screening necessity, and ways to effectively treat obesity-accompanied mental health disorders.

The early diagnosis of these adverse mental health effects of obesity ensures proper care and treatment for the holistic well-being of the patient.

Depression and anxiety in an individual can be multifactorial, caused and aggravated by several different factors in a patient’s life. The article does not implicate obesity as the only cause of depression and/or anxiety in a patient, or vice-versa. Instead, the article focuses on the role of obesity and the increased likelihood of depression and anxiety in obese patients. The remainder of the article proceeds with an acknowledgment that an obese patient with depression and/ or anxiety can have other accompanying mental health conditions, physical ailments, and a multitude of factors that play a part in the overall health of the patient, but are beyond the scope of this article.