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Medical News and Perspectives
July 19, 2000

Psychiatric Help May Shrink Some Waistlines

JAMA. 2000;284(3):291-293. doi:10.1001/jama.284.3.291

Chicago—Although weight loss rarely is a medical emergency, patients seeking a physician's help to shed pounds often plead for fast relief. A marital or job crisis or other emotionally charged situation usually prompts such visits, said Scott Goldsmith, MD, of Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City.

One in four persons seeing a primary care physician about weight problems has an active psychiatric illness, usually depression, Goldsmith said at a symposium on psychiatric aspects of obesity at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) here. These people often attribute distressed moods to their excess weight, he noted, rather than recognizing that depression or anxiety may have triggered their overeating.

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