Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain
Patients with bipolar disorder cycle between periods of depression and
mania. During depressive states, patients experience sadness and low
energy levels. They may also think of suicide. During manic states,
patients with the disorder experience extreme happiness and excitement, and
they also have increased energy. When manic, they may engage in
risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex and spending large sums of
money. Unfortunately, patients with bipolar disorder may also find themselves
gaining weight. In 2009, scientists for the journal Psychiatry Research analyzed eating behaviors among patients with
bipolar disorder and found that 18 percent of them met criteria for binge
eating disorder, whereas no subjects in a control group met these criteria.
Compared to those in the control group, patients with bipolar disorder had
significantly higher body mass indexes and waist circumferences.
A 2015 study in the Australian
& New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry analyzed eating patterns among
individuals with bipolar disorder. Study results showed that individuals
with bipolar disorder struggled with feelings of hunger and difficulty with
healthy eating. The authors concluded that these eating patterns may explain
the high rates of obesity associated with bipolar disorder.
Because bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses are associated with
obesity and weight gain, it is vital that you and your doctor discuss any
concerns involving your mental health. If you feel that you are struggling
with a mental health condition, your doctor can recommend an appropriate course
of treatment, such as counseling or medication, and the two of you can work
together to monitor your eating and exercise habits to ensure that you maintain
a healthy weight.