Crazy People Can Lose Weight Too
Seriously now, don’t you think we’re all a bit crazy? I know that my stomach certainly didn’t make me eat all the food that resulted in being overweight. I might not be diagnosed with SMI (Serious Mental Illness) like, Schizophrenia, OCD, Panic Disorder, anxiety disorder, paranoia, serious psychotic disorders, depression, social phobia and so many more – but for most overweight people obesity is more than just physical.
Health professionals have known for some time now that diagnosed SMI patients are much less likely to respond to weight loss programs. Many factors play a role in this including various medications for depression and other SMI. Many of these medications are known to actually cause weight gain.
Good news! A research project that began in 2008 has just published their results March 21st 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Gail Daumit, M.D., M.H.S., of Johns Hopkins University, and A TEAM OF colleagues designed a comprehensive behavioural weight loss program tailored to the specific needs of people with SMI.
The study used a behavioural weight-loss intervention incorporating weight-management counselling and group exercise which reduced participant weight over a period of 18 months. In contrast to the findings in most studies of lifestyle intervention in the general population, weight loss did not peak early in the intervention group in this study population but instead progressed over the course of the trial. This finding suggests that despite substantial challenges, persons with serious mental illness are able to lose weight with a tailored intervention.
Head over to the NEJOM to check out the entire study.
In the mean time, I think this study is a glass half-full picture for the rest of us who are only slightly mentally ill – (oh look, slightly mentally ill has the same abbreviation as SMI). We can all take inspiration from this study. Weight loss is doable even for those of us who have serious mental, medical or physical challenges.