Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of mental disorders among persons with severe obesity.Method: I performed a MEDLINE search for the years 2000-2008 using the following terms: Mental disorders/epidemiology, obesity/psychology, obesity/surgery, eating disorder, obesity, morbid, eating disorder/epidemiology, and obesity/psychology. I chose to concentrate on articles which used CIDI (Composite international Diagnostic Interview) or SCID (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV) on adults with BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2 or BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2 with additional diseases like diabetes or coronary-heart disease.
Results: Five articles met my criteria. The population studied are mainly bariatric surgery candidates. Four of the articles show that prevalence of mental disorders is significantly elevated among persons with obesity, and the connection between women and mental disorders seems particularly strong. Anxiety disorders were the most prevalent current diagnoses among the obese, and mood disorders had the highest lifetime prevalence.
Conclusion: Current and past DSM- IV mental disorders are prevalent among persons with severe obesity. There is an the increasing use of surgery to treat extreme overweight, and these findings highlight the need to understand potential implications of comorbid mental disorders for surgery preparation and outcome. Future work should focus on the course of mental disorders during the post-surgery period and its relation to weight loss and its maintenance. It would be of great value to investigate the prevalence of mental disorders among Norwegian candidates for bariatric surgery, as no such study has yet been performed.