Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome



Korean J Obes 2010; 19(3): 71-77

Published online September 1, 2010

Copyright © Korean Society for the Study of Obesity.

Psychiatric Approach in the Treatment of Obesity

Won Sub Kang, Jong Woo Kim*

Department of Neuropsychiatry, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University


There are some evidence to suggest that common mental disorders and obesity may be related to one another. Co-occurrence between psychiatric disorders and obesity should be taken into account during both clinical assessment and treatment of obese patients. The morbidly obese suffer the physical, psychological and social consequences of being fat. They are subject to prejudice and discrimination and should be treated with concern to help alleviate their feelings of rejection and guilt. Identification of the psychological factors associated with obesity expands our knowledge about behaviors which are crucial in order to avoid failures in the treatment of obesity. The thought process of obese patients was shown to be characterized by cognitive distortion. Dichotomous and catastrophic ways of thinking are the most frequent cognitive distortions seen in this group of patients. In order to improve the long-term outcome of treatment for obesity, it is important to understand why most people who lose weight regain it. One of the major reasons for this is caused by the neglect of cognitive factors which contribute to weight regain. Also because there is often ambiguity over the goals of treatment. The finding of dichotomous thinking as a significant predictor in weight regain implies that the modification of this all-or-nothing thinking style might enhance weight maintenance. Cognitive-behavioral treatment will minimize the problem of weight regain by addressing psychological obstacles leading to the acquisition of, and long-term adherence to, effective weight-control behavior.

Keywords: Psychiatric disorders, obesity, psychological factor