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Bipolar Disorder Community
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505907 tn?1258372940

"50% of bipolar people are obese"!

  I aquired a hand - out from my psychologist's office last week put out by Pfizer. It spoke of different issues we face and how our "care takers" can best accomodate and assist us. The reason I write here is in the mini - chapter about health they state that 50% of bipolar patients are obese. 50%! I've been on line investigating this study but I can't exactly replicate that statistic. On http://pmbcii.psy.cmu.edu/fagiolini/2002_Fagiolini.pdf Pfizer maintains that 32% of BP patients in their study were obese. Well, which is it? How do you feel about this "statistic"? I was shocked but then I remembered finding out many years ago that I had slipped into "obese" territory. I told all my friends and we laughed about it! I was physically active, muscular, broad shouldered, and carried extra womanly weight but obese? Haven't the standards for this scary term been adjusted? Also is it our condition or our meds that are moost to blame? Thanks.
6 Responses
585414 tn?1288944902
I'd have to read the exact statistics and what they correlated it with. People with bipolar often don't take care of their health or some people can overeat as a form of self medication. Also some (but not all) mood stabilizers cause weight gain as well as all the currently available antipsychotics. When the next generation antipsychotics come out since that is not a side effect of them I'd like to see at that point if that trend continues. However, the other reason I stated applies as well so that still would apply. Some people who are morbidly obese that I've known certainly had severe depression and it was an eating disorder but as for being mildly overweight, a lot of Americans are. So it would be hard to make a determination from those statistics at this point.
Avatar universal
I know for me I gained 30+lbs on Zoloft, it just crept up, and I wasn't a couch potato! I was very active, too active because I wasn't diagnosed with BP yet. I think 50% or 32% is way too high and the studies don't have enough data to make such a sweeping generalizations, that just ticks me off.

On the flip side of the coin, some folks self-isolate so don't get the exercise and from experience, I ate a lot of processed foods as a result.  It's pretty common for Schizophrenics to gain weight, the meds has nasty side effects.

I'm overweight but no obese, but even the guidelines for that differs on who did the studies!!
539694 tn?1434569547
It doesnt suprise me that a number of us are obese with a illness like this but i must admit never thought it was anything near as high as 50% but then again its safe to say most of the worlds ''diagnosed'' bipolars are americans..

Eating is a form of self medicating for depression and depression is one half of bipolar so lots of people do it. I reguarly over eat when im feeling at the extreme highs or lows but lucklily my metabolism is so ****** up i cant really retain any fat on my body. Lol something a lot of people would dream of but it does have major downsides to.

Bipolar sufferers and sorry again but.. especially american ones are prescribed every pill under the sun many of which actively cause weight gain and aid in the formation of fat or indirectly influence it with cravings or unbearable increased appetite.
607502 tn?1288251140
Exactly what were Pfizer puushing in their handout?

There in lies the question because you can guarantee its another drug to control obesity.

With weight gain as a side effect of nearly every mood stabiliser an anti depressant on the market the stat would not surprise me to be honest.  Fat and stable is better than thin and unstable in my mind anyway.  And as Delusion pointed out the tendency to push pill after pill on people in the US does not help - US medicine is a profit driven business and that relies on prescription writing in a heavy way - the sheer number of drugs some US sufferers are on astounds us in other countries - our doctors would never put us on cocktails of 5 and 6 drugs without very good reasons whereas it often seems that in the US this is normal.

So what drug was the handout pushing?
Avatar universal
I've seen more handouts the I can count, and stupidly I went on a couple of those drugs just because they touted themselves as been more efficient and less likely to have side effects. Bull puckies!!!  Though Canada has strict guidelines, there are ways for these pharmaceutical companies to sneak through. After my last drug, Cymbalta, which advertised reduction of chronic pain from depression, put me in the hospital!

If there were more pdocs in  Canada, I would sure want to shop around for the right one, not just stuck with one, and put up with them who get "courted" by the drug companies.. I like the american system for that.  You hire them, almost the opposite to Canada.
585414 tn?1288944902
Depends on which mood stabilizer. Weight gain on mood stabilizers is not a given. Lamictal generally does not cause weight gain. Topomax can actually cause weight loss to the point where its in clinical studies for weight reduction. Lamictal is a good mood stabilizer. Topomax is generally an adjunct meaning that its not effective enough to work on its own but can help when one mood stabilizer is not enough. As for the best informational sources I'd say if you want to know about a specific medication go to the company website as they print the exact statistics with recovery rates and side effects as required by the FDA. As for some general consumer friendly sites the ones on the links page are a good start. Worthwhile reading might include "Instant Psychopharmocology: A Guide for the Nonmedical Mental Health Professional" by Ronald J. Diamond. I learned a lot from that book. And all this is good information to bring to your psychiatrist to discuss as an educated consumer gets the best response.
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