Is dangerous weight gain just another symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)? If so, what can you and your doctor do about it?
In the last decade, studies conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health have shown that 25 percent of people who are obese have an anxiety or mood disorder. Not only that, but just as patients with BPD are at higher risk of obesity, it appears that people who are obese and seeking psychological treatment for an eating disorder also are more likely to be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Recent studies seem to indicate that, even 10 years after treatment for BPD, patients have a greater risk of long-term obesity than the rest of the population. The relationship between obesity and BPD is undeniable — but just how bad is it?
Rates of Obesity Increase with BPD Diagnosis
According to one study done in Massachusetts by Dr. Mary Zanarini of the Harvard Medical School, approximately 23 percent of people living with BPD for 10 years were overweight and nearly 33 percent were obese. That is compared with approximately 20 percent who were overweight and about 16 percent who were obese at the time of diagnosis.
For people diagnosed with BPD, the prevalence of obesity seems to climb steadily over the first 10 years after the original diagnosis. Females with BPD show a slightly higher prevalence of obesity over this 10-year period than males. For people with BPD who do not seek treatment, the rate of obesity at the 10-year follow-up is more than 47 percent.
After being diagnosed with BPD, patients are more likely to develop obesity or return to a state of obesity if they were once obese. Unhealthy weight gain can also trigger any of the following ailments: gallstones, osteoarthritis, diabetes, hypertension, urinary incontinence, back pain, and acid reflux. In order to avoid dealing with these side effects, people with BPD should monitor their weight.
Reducing the Risk of Obesity
There are some factors that contribute to obesity that you may not be able to control, such as a family history of obesity, which is one of the primary causes of obesity in patients with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Fortunately, there are factors that can reduce the risk of obesity when you are diagnosed with BPD, such as increasing your education or job skills, having a life partner or close friends, and increasing your income.
Talk to your doctor about increasing exercise and reducing the number of medications you take, which may be contributing to your weight gain. Nutritional counseling, in addition to other measures, can also help curb the occurrence of obesity.