Mind, Body, Medication: Exploring the Mental Health Dynamics of Weight Loss Drugs – The Elm – The Elm

Mind, Body, Medication: Exploring the Mental Health Dynamics of Weight Loss Drugs
Vashti Adams provides a holistic perspective on weight loss meds, advocating for compassionate support beyond pills to include societal and psychological aspects.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) took a significant step towards unraveling the complexities of weight loss medications during a comprehensive virtual press briefing. Esteemed specialists from the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Social Work united to dissect the evolving landscape of treatments like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro, which are at the forefront of obesity and metabolic disorder management. 
Vashti Adams, MSW, a dedicated doctoral candidate in the field of weight-inclusive care, spotlighted the deep-seated stigma surrounding weight loss assistance. Amidst the growing acclaim of certain medications, Adams’ commentary on the societal prejudices tied to body size was particularly poignant. “The idea is that persons in larger bodies are assigned low social value, and this lower social value is due to the assumption that persons of size are irresponsible and have neglected their health,” Adams articulated, addressing the harmful equating of body size with social worth. 
Adams delved into the grave repercussions of such stigmas, including the avoidance of healthcare, diminished lifestyle quality, stress-related responses, and the risk of developing eating disorders. The discussion also highlighted the barriers to accessing these medications, from insurance hurdles to the daunting side effects that often lead patients to halt their treatment. 
“The personal burdens and external barriers patients face make it more likely for them to discontinue their current weight loss path or ask for assistance in the first place,” Adams noted, emphasizing the stigmatization that compounds when patients either forgo treatment or seek it, only to be ensnared in a cycle of temporary approval and enduring judgment. 
The conversation further explored the mental health ramifications for individuals who, after achieving societal acceptance through weight loss, face the fear of regaining weight. Adams underscored the potential for such situations to trigger extreme behaviors, especially in those with a history of disordered eating, thus spotlighting the mental health dimension of weight loss journeys. 
Adams’ insights offered a holistic view of the challenges and considerations surrounding weight loss medications, advocating for a compassionate approach that goes beyond pharmaceutical solutions to encompass societal and psychological support. 
The perspectives shared by Adams and her peers not only highlight the nuanced realities of weight loss medications but also advocate for a more inclusive and understanding approach to obesity and metabolic health management.
Watch the full UMB Weight Loss Drugs Panel discussion <<
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