Tuesday, June 26

Obesity is a Brain Disorder?

I realized something last night. I've been reading a lot during the late-night hours over the last week or two, and it actually took a little while before my subconscious put a major "contradiction" together in the back of my brain and sent up a flare.

obesity /obes·i·ty
Pronunciation: ō-bē′si-tē

Psychology Today online: Obesity is a condition of having excess body weight. When an adult is more than 100 pounds overweight, they are considered morbidly obese.

The Free Dictionary: [Obesity is an] increase in body weight beyond the limitation of skeletal and physical requirements, as the result of excessive accumulation of body fat. Morbid obesity: the condition of weighing two or more times the ideal weight; so called because it is associated with many serious and life-threatening disorders.

MedicineNet.com: Obesity: Well above ones normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight. Obesity has been more precisely defined by the National Institutes of Health (the NIH) as a BMI of 30 and above. (A BMI of 30 is about 30 pounds overweight.)

OK, now we know what it "means." Of course this says nothing about cause.

But wait, here to the rescue, in the American Journal of Psychiatry, with recommendations for the coming DSM-V manual (that's the official manual of medical-psychiatry):

Issues for DSM-V: Should Obesity Be Included as a Brain Disorder?
by Nora D. Volkow, M.D. and Charles P. O’Brien, M.D., PH.D.

Their recommendation includes the following fascinating assertion:

Obesity is characterized by compulsive consumption of food and the inability to restrain from eating despite the desire to do so.

So, you're telling me that of the MYRIAD of biochemical and metabolic reasons people gain weight or do not lose it, they have narrowed it down to the fact that fat people are just "gluttons who can't control themselves"?!

Hey, I bet getting people of size accepted is going to be easier when the official psychiatric (that's medical) field has obesity classified as a BRAIN DISORDER.

Now, I can easily see classifying binge-eating, or "compulsive eating", just like anorexia and bulemia (the latter of which is just binge-eating + self-induced purging), as a psyche condition.

I just don't see how they can "smoothly slide" this ASSUMPTION of the CAUSE of "obesity" into the official records like it's a fact. Like there is no other cause or anything else to consider.

Once this is THAT official, we no longer have a medical system that 'assumes' that, we have a medical system that thinks it 'knows' that.

I assume you realize that once obesity is a brain disorder, any doctor on behalf of government-medicine or insurance-medicine can "require" you take psychiatric drugs to deal with your mental problem before anything else.




Marshmallow said...

Again, I have very little to say in response to this. Great post, yet again, made me think. Hence why I've given you a Thinking Blogger award.

Jennifer said...

Hi. My name is Jennifer. I found your blog because of a comment you made on Nicole's blog (OH.2.B.FIT). I noticed you've lost over 100 lbs. That is amazing! You honestly do give me hope. I love your latest post. Compulsive overeating is the same thing emotionally as bulemia. We have the same feelings and each disorder generally has the same root cause. I admit I used to try to make myself throw up after binges when I was a child. I never did succeed in purging. I saw an after school special on bulemia and thought it looked like a good idea. How sad is that? Both bulemia and compulsive overeating are obviously serious conditions. The difference seems to be that bulemics appear normal to the rest of society; they can hide their disorder. We morbidly obese people aren't quite so lucky.

Dreamboat said...

I was just wondering the other day why I seemed like a compulsive eater, but didn't really fit the description of one. I finally linked it up with my ADD (a symptom of which is impulse control). I do have a brain disorder. But it isn't being fat. In rare cases like mine, being fat may be connected to a brain disorder, but to assume that link is crap science.

There are far more fat people than people with AD/HD and other disorders with impulse control combined. Give me a break. Being fat is not a symptom of ADD. Impulse control is and it plays out in many ways (addiction, financial idiocy, etc). In my case, for other reasons (genetics, family history with food and eating, etc.) it plays out in food.

Sherrie said...

Frankly I am getting to the opinion that the mental health industry wants to label everything as a mental/brain disorder so they can throw more of their drugs etc at you.

Sara a.k.a "Citruskiss" said...

This annoys me to no end - this idea that somehow obesity is going to be a mental disorder. Don't get me started about the whole medicalization of being human. The 'disordering' of that which used to be just part of life.

While I recognize that eating disorders, including 'compulsive eating', are in fact emotional issues , I certainly don't think that 'obesity' can be characterized as a mental health issue.