Special Section Review Article/Eating Disorders in DSM-V: Review of Existing Literature (Part 2)
Obesity: Is it a mental disorder?
Article first published online: 16 JUL 2009
Copyright © 2009 American Psychiatric Association. This Article is being co-published by the International Journal of Eating Disorders and the American Psychiatric Association.
International Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume 42, Issue 8, pages 739–753, December 2009
How to Cite
Marcus, M. D. and Wildes, J. E. (2009), Obesity: Is it a mental disorder?. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 42: 739–753. doi: 10.1002/eat.20725
- Issue published online: 11 NOV 2009
- Article first published online: 16 JUL 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 JUN 2009
Using Wakefield's conceptualization of mental disorder as “harmful mental dysfunction” (Wakefield, Am Psychol, 47, 373–388, 1992), we examined the evidence for including obesity as a mental disorder in DSM-V.
We searched computer databases and examined reference lists from review articles published in the last 10 years to identify empirical papers relevant to the present review.
Obesity is a condition of heterogeneous etiology that is harmful for most individuals. However, there is scant evidence that obesity, in general, is caused by mental dysfunction. Although recent work examining the neurocircuitry of energy balance has suggested that mental dysfunction may be involved in the etiology of specific obesity phenotypes, findings are too preliminary to support classification of obesity as a mental disorder. Nevertheless, there is evidence that obesity is related to mental disorder and many of the medications used to treat psychiatric illness.
There is little evidence for including obesity as a mental disorder in DSM-V. However, results confirm the importance of monitoring adiposity routinely among patients with psychiatric illness. © 2009 American Psychiatric Association. (Int J Eat Disord 2009)