May 11, 2021

Psychology Behind Obesity

Obesity, which has become a worldwide health problem, increasingly affects many people. Today, one-third of the adult population is obese. Obesity, defined as excessive chronic fat storage, is caused by the evolution of humans to store excess energy as fat. Obesity, one of the most easily diagnosed health problems, is one of the most challenging conditions to treat due to genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.

Obesity, which is not a psychiatric eating disorder, is accepted as a food addiction by some psychiatrists and psychologists. Today, the role of sociocultural influences has an important place in obesity. Life and consumption habits that neglect exercise is among the practical factors in the onset of obesity.


The Link Between Obesity and Psychology

The connection of obesity with psychology includes its relations with stress, anxiety, and depression. When we are under intense pressure and feel bad, sugary and fatty foods can solace us. Depression, one of the most important psychiatric disorders, is closely related to obesity.

It is also known that obese people experience psychological problems such as depression and personality disorders more frequently. Psychiatric diseases such as mood disorders and eating disorders are also seen at a higher rate in obese than other individuals.

Obese people are more sensitive to internal and external stimuli than normal-weight people. Pleasing food taste is used to prevent anxiety, anger, boredom, and depression because it reduces emotional tension. Social pressures for weight loss, depression, and low self-esteem are the main reasons why obese people have very negative psychology.


Obesity Decreases Self-esteem

Studies examining the relationship between obesity and psychopathology have found that obese patients have lower self-esteem, depression, anxiety disorders, sexual dysfunctions, sleep disorders, and personality disorders in obese patients compared to those with average body weight. Studies are showing that there is a linear relationship between obesity and decreased self-worth.


Social Avoidance

Obesity patients can isolate themselves from society in order to avoid negative behaviors and judgments. A person who has to spend a lot of time with himself due to isolation reinforces his negative body perception towards himself. At this point, the obese patient may experience stress, anxiety, and depression along with negative emotions. The person who tries to cope with these situations and does not communicate with the environment may have to take shelter to eat again as a relaxation method. The person who is not supported by his close environment and society and who is more judged in the process begins to live an even more isolated life and gain more weight.



The triangle of social pressures for obese people to lose weight, dissatisfaction with their body, and dieting significantly affect their psychology.


They have feelings of:

  • Dislike their bodies
  • Feeling seen as ugly by other people
  • Finding their bodies strange


These factors cause an increase in the psychological problems of people who are obese. Therefore, in the diagnosis and treatment of obesity, the psychological aspect of obesity should not be neglected. Psychological risks and character traits should be analyzed with a detailed psychiatric examination after a comprehensive physical examination, hormonal tests.