Life for the morbidly obese is similar to living in prison. Instead of bars and chains, the morbidly obese is imprisoned by his or her own body. Normal activities like walking, going to the bathroom and breathing are challenging for those suffering from normal obesity. These difficulties make it extremely hard to make new relationships or maintain existing relationships.
The causes of morbid obesity can be the same causes for interpersonal problems with other people. People with morbid obesity not only have problems relating to people, but they also have problems relating to food. There is often an underlying psychological trauma or a mental illness that started the habit of overeating.
Being overweight begins a vicious cycle of turning to food for comfort and support. This can make an overweight person become obese and then morbidly obese. Any existing mental illnesses are exacerbated. Treating morbid obesity without considering the psychological aspect will not help a morbidly obese person permanently lose weight.
Isolation and Avoidance
A morbidly obese person is not proud of how he or she looks and sees very few other people similar in appearance in the general public. According to a Rand and MacGregor 1991 study, 80% of morbidly obese people not only thought they were ugly, but were sure that other people hated them. Because of this shame, a morbidly obese person tends to ignore meeting new people or ever leaving the home.
Modern technology has made it easier for a person to survive without ever leaving the home. People can telecommute and order their groceries delivered. Extremely morbid obese people cannot fit inside of a car, public buses or trains and so are physically unable to do many things for themselves. They cannot go to any of the places their friends and family members can go. This only increases shame and a desire not to be seen by others.
Morbid obesity affects patients of all ages, including children. Parents of morbidly obese children are looked at unfavorably. In a 2011 article in the Los Angeles Times, doctors and pediatricians favored obesity as being classified as a form of child abuse because the child can die from obesity-related complications.
Hospital equipment and ambulances are not made to handle the morbidly obese. Finding veins for injections or intravenous feeds are challenging. Using anesthesia is risky, since the extra layers of fat make it hard enough for a person to breathe. Medications based on body weight may not work for a morbidly obese person. Morbidly obese people are aware of this and may avoid treatment believing that the doctors hate them. Gastric bypass surgeons can refuse individual morbidly obese patients if the patient cannot lose a certain amount of weight in a certain time trial period.