Integrated therapy treats obesity, depression


An intervention combining behavioral weight loss treatment and problem-solv­ing therapy with as-needed antidepressant medication for participants with co-oc­curring obesity and depression improved weight loss and depressive symptoms com­pared with routine physician care, according to an article. Obesity and depression com­monly occur together.

Approximately 43 percent of adults with depression are obese, and adults with obe­sity are at increased risk of experiencing de­pression. To treat both conditions, patients must visit multiple practitioners usually including dietitians, wellness coaches and mental health counselors or psychiatrists. The burden associated with visiting multiple health care providers consistently over the long periods of time required to treat obe­sity and depression can be significant and lead to dropping out of therapy altogether. Additionally, these health services may not be available due to a lack of trained provid­ers or reimbursement, and the cost of seeing numerous specialists can be prohibitive.

Treatments exist that are effective at treating obesity and depression separately, but none that address both conditions in concert, which is a critical unmet need be­cause of the high prevalence of obesity and depression together, said Dr. Jun Ma, profes­sor of medicine in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and principal investigator on the study. We have shown that delivering obesity and depression ther­apy in one integrated program using dually trained health coaches who work within a care team that includes a primary care phy­sician and a psychiatrist.— Agencies


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