Similarities between obesity and substance abuse disorder (2018)

Vertex. 2018 Mar;XXIX(138):128-132.

[Article in Spanish]

Tripodi D1.


Obesity and its complications are one of the biggest problems that a clinician faces today. The vast majority of the treatments implemented have low effcacy, and obesity becomes diffcult to manage. In the last decades, obesity prevalence has doubled. A new perspective to deal with it was becoming important. Obesity ceased to be considered a clearly metabolic disease. The objective of this review was to look for the similarities of the obese patient’s clinic with addiction of substances and addictive behaviors. For which a search was done on the Pubmed and Scielo databases using the terms “addiction”, “food craving”, “obesity”, “saciety” and “serotonin” given the evidences that link this neurotransmitter with reward and saciety mechanisms. We synthetize the observations published in sixteen reviews obtained in this search. Considering obesity as an addictive disorder or substance dependence disorder allows us not to be shipwrecked in the search for a unique psychological or physiological specifer and to approach the problem from another perspective. At the same time, it cushions the impact of the stigma that the morbid obese patient experiences as responsible for his illness.