Cognitive behavioural therapy for weight gain associated with antipsychotic drugs

Schizophr Res. 2007 Mar;91(1-3):169-77. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2006.12.025. Epub 2007 Feb 15.


Background: Overweight and obesity are common concerns in individuals with severe mental disorders. In particular, antipsychotic drugs (AP) frequently induce weight gain. This phenomenon lacks current management and no previous controlled studies seem to use cognitive therapy to modify eating and weight-related cognitions. Moreover, none of these studies considered binge eating or eating and weight-related cognitions as possible outcomes.

Aim: The main aim of this study is to assess the effectivity of cognitive and behavioural treatment (CBT) on eating and weight-related cognitions, binge eating symptomatology and weight loss in patients who reported weight gain during AP treatment.

Method: A randomized controlled study (12-week CBT vs. Brief Nutritional Education) was carried out on 61 patients treated with an antipsychotic drug who reported weight gain following treatment. Binge eating symptomatology, eating and weight-related cognitions, as well as weight and body mass index were assessed before treatment, at 12 weeks and at 24 weeks.

Results: The CBT group showed some improvement with respect to binge eating symptomatology and weight-related cognitions, whereas the control group did not. Weight loss occurred more progressively and was greater in the CBT group at 24 weeks.

Conclusion: The proposed CBT treatment is particularly interesting for patients suffering from weight gain associated with antipsychotic treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bulimia Nervosa / drug therapy*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Clozapine / therapeutic use*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Weight Gain*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Clozapine