Led by Gail Daumit, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University, the behavioral program, termed the ACHIEVE trial, was based on lifestyle changes known to be effective in the general population and was amended to account for cognitive deficits present in mental illness. Nearly 300 people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder were divided into two groups—half participated in a program focused on improving eating and exercise habits, while the other half received no special training. Those in the intervention group lost an average of 7 pounds more over the course of the study compared with the control group, suggesting that despite the significant hurdles of psychiatric illness, weight loss is achievable with proper training and guidance. The study was supported by NIMH.
To read recent research about a link between gastric bypass surgery for weight loss and alcohol addiction, see Psychiatric News here.