Obese can suffer from social anxiety

April 13, 2011 at 11:11 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I., April 13 (UPI) -- Obese people with social anxiety related only to their weight may have anxiety as severe as those with social anxiety disorder, U.S. researchers say.

Kristy Dalrymple of Rhode Island Hospital says the findings conflict with the criteria for SAD used by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition.

The researchers evaluated a group of people who were seeking bariatric surgery. The individuals were separated into three groups -- 135 diagnosed with SAD using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition; 40 classified as "modified SAD" who experienced clinically significant social anxiety related to weight only; and 616 with no history of psychiatric disorders.

The study, published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, found both the SAD and modified SAD groups were rated as having poorer social functioning as adolescents compared to the group with no disorder.

In addition, the SAD group was rated as having more time out of work in the past five years due to psychopathology or emotional reasons compared to both the modified SAD group and the no disorder group.

Those in the modified SAD group experienced more disruption in their social life, the study says.

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