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How Social Anxiety May Contribute to Obesity and Morbid Obesity

By Fernando Garcia on March 28, 2016

A man's stomachHere at Tijuana Bariatrics, we offer safe and state-of-the-art obesity treatment, but we know there's more to weight loss than just a surgery. Losing weight and keeping that weight off means total wellness, physically and mentally.

We know that a number of mood and anxiety disorders are linked to obesity. It's with that in mind that we want to consider how social anxiety disorder (SAD) and obesity may be connected.

Understanding Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a type of social phobia that is characterized by an intense fear of social situations and social interaction. Many times these fears are the result of the person perceiving heightened scrutiny from others.

Social anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder that people face. It is estimated that around 12 percent of American adults suffer from SAD.

Signs and Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

The most common signs of social anxiety disorder (SAD) include the following:

  • Nervousness while in social situations
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Blushing
  • Tense muscles
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea

A combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors can cause social anxiety disorder to occur.

How Social Anxiety (SAD) and Obesity Are Linked

The links between social anxiety disorder (SAD) and obesity are many.

Some people who are obese may suffer from heightened social anxiety disorder due to their weight, with an increased feeling that they are being observed and judged while eating or simply interacting with others.

Others may use food as a coping mechanism for their social anxiety disorder, eating more than they usually would in order to address the intense feelings of anxiety that they have.

Obesity Is Tied to Many Other Psychiatric Disorders

Studies have found that there is a major link between obesity and depression, which again functions as a two-way street. Given how the mind can affect the body and vice versa, it should not be surprising that weight, moods, and wellness are linked in a number of ways.

How Weight Loss Surgery Can Help

Weight loss surgery procedures such as the gastric bypass, the gastric sleeve, and gastric banding all help people lose weight safely and quickly by limiting the amount of calories that are consumed and/or absorbed by the body.

As a person loses weight, he or she will not only experience better general health. They will also tend to feel heightened self-esteem and self-confidence, helping them address various anxiety issues in life as they move forward.

Weight Loss and Wellness on Multiple Levels

As part of recovery from weight loss surgery, many patients seek assistance from therapists and counselors to address anxiety disorders and issues with self-esteem. There is no shame in this, and it can be helpful to speak with someone who will not judge you but simply offer understanding and coping strategies for the problems you face.

This focus on physical health as well as mental health is a crucial part of lasting wellness, and it's one that all of us believe in. Weight loss surgery is just one important step in moving your life in a better direction.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Fernando Garcia

For more information about the causes of obesity and how our team can help you achieve a more ideal weight, be sure to contact our weight loss surgery practice today. The team at Tijuana Bariatrics is committed to total wellness, patient safety, and excellent results.

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Dr. Garcia is awesome. I chose bariatrics vertical sleeve surgery. I've lost 85 lbs. since January 2017. No complications... I regret not doing this years ago. Debbie M.

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