International Journal of Psychiatry Research


Impact of Interventions used to Treat Addictive Disorders on Food Addiction and Depression in Individuals with Obesity

Trina Aguirre PhD., RN, Rebecca Bowman DNP., RN, Leeza Struwe PhD., RN, Ann Koehler MS, Erica Schulte MS., PhDc, Jeffrey Holloway MD, Jason LaTowsky MD, Martha Stricker MBA., BSN., RN., CMPE, Kayla Pierce BSN., RN, Molly Bloodgood AS., MS., MBS., BSN

Objectives: Empirical evidence is growing that addictive-like tendencies toward foods may contribute to obesity. This pilot study evaluated interventions used to treat addictive disorders for the treatment of obesity in individuals with and without food addiction (FA). FA and depression were common in the study population at baseline, with greater prevalence and severity of depression in those with FA. This secondary analysis evaluated whether prevalence and/or severity of FA and depression changed with intervention.

Methods: Participants within each obesity phenotype (FA+, FA-) were randomly assigned to treatment groups [motivational interviewing, harmacotherapy (naltrexone-bupropion), motivational interviewing with pharmacotherapy, information control]. Interventions were delivered following data collection at baseline, 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks and 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 months. FA and depression were assessed at baseline and 6 months using the Yale Food Addiction Scale and Patient Health Questionnaire-9, respectively.

Results: Prevalence and severity of FA declined between baseline and 6 months (P < .001). The decline in symptoms was greater among those who were FA+ than among those who were FA- (P < .001), reflecting that those who were FA+ had higher symptom totals at baseline. Depression scores and severity also declined between baseline and 6 months in both obesity phenotypes (P < .001).

Conclusion: Both FA and depression were common in this study population and may contribute to obesity and/or complicate its treatment. That intervention used to treat addictive disorders lessened the prevalence and severity of both FA and depression is promising for the treatment of obesity.

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