Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fat and at Fault?

In psychiatry, we are sensitive to issues of stigma.  It's no longer cool to openly discuss disdain for people who belong to other races, who are gay, who are handicapped, and I think we're making progress in some areas of mental illness.  It seems that people feel free to say the problem is the 'crazy people' and not the guns, but in general, we don't really condemn people people because they've been depressed or had panic attacks.  I sometimes think that the last group of people that it's fine to blame for their plight are the obese.  Okay, and alcoholics, those with drug addictions. and smokers.  They aren't victims, they just lack self-control, and if only they'd try harder.  We've gotten over telling people to stop being gay or stop being psychotic (even if some members of society don't want to stand next to them). But when it comes to those with obesity or addictive issues, their problems are their fault, so it's fine to blame them. 
If you've ever felt contempt for anyone who is too heavy, or had the thought, "Of course they have (fill in the blank)  problem because that happens to fat, lazy people with no self-discipline," or even just thought, 'If being fat bothered him, I guess he'd eat less," then please watch this TED talk, he's great. And yes, I think it's fine that the AMA declared obesity a disease, I don't think anyone is going to gain weight because now they have an excuse they can blame it on. It's time medicine became more sympathetic and aggressive about finding treatments that work for obesity, alcoholism, and drug addiction. Sorry, I'm preaching. Watch the video, he's says it better than I ever could.