Abstract

Background and Aims: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a metabolic disease with extensive multi- organ involvement, whose extra-hepatic manifestations include diabetes mellitus type 2, cardiovascular disease, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), chronic kidney disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Our hypothesis was that there was a strong psychological component in NAFLD and OSA suffering patients and that psychotherapy would be helpful in the treatment of the mentioned diseases.


Methods: Of 144 initially selected patients (with NAFLD, obesity and OSA), 32 patients agreed to undergo psychotherapy, and 31 therapy-naive NAFLD and OSA patients agreed to participate as controls.


Results: Psychological evaluation revealed that self-esteem rose significantly after one-year psychotherapy (p=0.005). Body mass index (BMI) was significantly lower after psychotherapy, followed by the changes in laboratory results. Binomial logistic regression revealed that the reduction of BMI in high probability led to self-esteem improvement (p=0.03).


Conclusions: Psychotherapy was an efficient supporting method in the treatment of patients with NAFLD, obesity and OSA. It raised self-esteem and stimulated the motivation for further treatment of obesity, as one of the important factors for NAFLD and OSA. Still, it is advisable to use psychotherapy in combination with other clinical methods of treatment.

Keywords

non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, obesity, body mass index, psychotherapy