Besides the adverse effects of obesity on health, obese people suffer from mental health and social problems. This sentence sums it up: “Every day the fat woman dies a series of small deaths” — Bovey Shelley.
These people are always conscious of their excess weight and feel like they are adversely different from others. They are psychologically upset and feel socially outcast and an object of fun.
Emotional Effects of Obesity
Obesity has a certain effect on the mental bearing of these heavy people and they are rather reluctant to be active socially. They often face ridicule and advice from people about them being overweight.
Obese people often perceive themselves as an object of fun and ridicule. They view themselves as physically unattractive and responses from the opposite sex too, are never encouraging.
They do not get the same treatment from others at home or in the workplace. Participating in recreational activities or games is a rare occasion for obese people. This brings about a change in their mental status, which can range from anxiety to depression to suicidal tendencies.
The psychological effects, besides anxiety, can include a feeling of low self-esteem, which can lead to more serious disorders such as major depression. Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can then develop.
Why obese people are subjects of ridicule is not difficult to understand. Today’s culture adores young, slim, and toned bodies.
Obese people are, therefore, looked down upon. Constant disdain from friends and colleagues at school, workplace, or even family can chronically disturb a mind, especially during childhood.
Over time, once this feeling crosses the mental threshold, depression starts creeping in. The person yearns for emotional comfort. He doesn’t get it in socializing or in the sport.
He ultimately passes his hours of stress in eating, which offers him a ready and easy source of mental comfort. This adds to his weight, which makes many people feel still worse about themselves leading to more eating and additional weight gain.
A vicious cycle develops from which it becomes challenging to move out. Obesity and the accompanying depression tend to trigger and persuade each other.
Women are more prone to having an unhealthy BMI and becoming obese. Obese women are also more prone to depression than men are. Therefore, they are more at risk of falling into this obesity-depression cycle trap. Frequent thoughts of suicide are also seen more in women though more depressed men die of suicide than women.
Stress precipitates depression, which can worsen your eating habits. The stress can be due to a sudden stressful event such as the loss of a family member, difficulties in a close relationship, losing a job, or due to a serious medical condition such as cancer.
Before long, these eating habits tend to continue and become difficult to control. This is called binge eating, which is commonly associated with obesity and is also one of the prominent symptoms of depression.
A study found that 51 percent of obese people with binge eating behavior had a history of depression.
Social Effects of Obesity
Today and for long, society appreciates slimness, trimness, and fitness. Overweight and obesity are looked upon with disdain and the obese person becomes a subject of ridicule at school, college, place of work, and at social gatherings.
At school, the obese child becomes an object of ridicule and is constantly bullied knowing how children are. They can be quite nasty. This has a deep impact on the delicate young mind of the obese child.
He stays isolated and remains absent from school at the slightest opportunity. Obese children miss school more than children with a healthy weight do. To make matters worse, their performance is also reduced, which adds to their feeling low.
According to the Cornell University Department of Policy Analysis and Management, obese children often show poor social skills as compared to normal-weight children.
Adults too, face a similar situation at the place of work. All this treatment is noticed and the individual develops an inferiority complex and low self-esteem. He tends to stay alone.
You will find that obese children and adults do not like to socialize and take part in any physical activity.
Besides addressing your eating and lifestyle habits, the long-term solution is to address the emotional disorder of depression with medical help.