Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Injury, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Obesity & Injury

There is a diagnostic classification for when an individual’s health habits are the true cause of the physical complaints which they are experiencing. This is called [code 316] “Maladaptive Health Habits Affecting Medical Condition.”

Obesity is only one concern. There is also lack of exercise, tobacco use and/or excessive alcohol use.

It is easy to see that obesity would be complicate the resolution of a low back or knee strain with the patient putting more demand upon these structures through weight gain.

However, we also have the issue of post-injury hypertension and/or type II diabetes arising as a result of these health habits. It is not unusual for a patient to say that he/she believes that the diabetes or high blood pressure is the result of injury “because I never had those problems before.”

In actuality, the problem may be of a long duration and merely not previously diagnosed because the patient did not have routine medical care.

I have seen patients with significant post-injury weight gain insist that their sleep apnea, acid reflux disease, visual changes, and changes in frequency of urination arise from injury.

These claims arise from poor understanding of the impact of their “maladaptive health behaviors” and the impact of these upon general physical functioning. It is important to explain to the patient how these new health concerns arise from their own behavioral decisions and how they can best assist themselves.”

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