Are Mood Disorders and Obesity Related? A Review for the Mental Health Professional
J Clin Psychiatry 2004;65(5):634-651
© Copyright 2015 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Objective: We reviewed evidence regarding a
possible relationship between mood disorders and obesity to
better inform mental health professionals about their overlap.
Method: We performed a MEDLINE search of the
English-language literature for the years 1966-2003 using the
following terms: obesity, overweight, abdominal, central, metabolic syndrome, depression, mania, bipolar disorder, binge eating, morbidity, mortality, cardiovascular, diabetes, cortisol, hypertriglyceridemia, sympathetic, family history, stimulant, sibutramine, antiobesity, antidepressant, topiramate, and zonisamide.
We evaluated studies of obesity (and related conditions) in
persons with mood disorders and of mood disorders in persons with
obesity. We also compared studies of obesity and mood disorders
regarding phenomenology, comorbidity, family history, biology,
and pharmacologic treatment response.
Results: The most rigorous clinical
studies suggest that (1) children and adolescents with major
depressive disorder may be at increased risk for developing
overweight; (2) patients with bipolar disorder may have elevated
rates of overweight, obesity, and abdominal obesity; and (3)
obese persons seeking weight-loss treatment may have elevated
rates of depressive and bipolar disorders. The most rigorous
community studies suggest that (1) depression with atypical
symptoms in females is significantly more likely to be associated
with overweight than depression with typical symptoms; (2)
obesity is associated with major depressive disorder in females;
and (3) abdominal obesity may be associated with depressive
symptoms in females and males; but (4) most overweight and obese
persons in the community do not have mood disorders. Studies of
phenomenology, comorbidity, family history, biology, and
pharmacologic treatment response of mood disorders and obesity
show that both conditions share many similarities along all of
Conclusion: Although the overlap between mood
disorders and obesity may be coincidental, it suggests the two
conditions may be related. Clinical and theoretical implications
of this overlap are discussed, and further research is called