Bariatric surgery is a route that many take in their weight-loss journey. There are a variety of reasons why someone may choose bariatric surgery, but regardless of this, all patients should be aware of the side effects surgery has on mental health. Mental health is an integral part of bariatric surgery both before and after the procedure. This makes sense because any major life changes are bound to lead to a new way of thinking.
A study from 2007 to 2016 was done to evaluate bariatric surgery patients who had previously been suffering from mental health issues. The study showed that 39% of those patients presented mental illnesses after their surgery while only 35% before. The study reflected a 4% increase in mental illness after surgery was done. 26% of people presented issues both before and after their surgeries. Many often suffer from mood disorders such as depression or binge eating disorder. This statistic is high, so it is important to be educated both as a patient and health care professional about this topic.
But why does mental health issues spike with bariatric surgeries? One major reason for many is a history of fat-shaming, bullying, and other possible neglect. People also sometimes believe that getting a bariatric surgery done is an “easy way out” for weight loss. This ideology can negatively affect those who genuinely needed their surgery, as they may be labeled as lazy by those around them. This idea is false however, bariatric surgery is a sound procedure that many need for the betterment of their health, especially if previous weight loss efforts may not have proven successful.
Binge eating also manifests often with post-bariatric surgery patients. This is usually due to the fact that people tend to see food as a comfort. Food often allows people to cope with any negative emotions they may be having. Before the surgery, patients tend to feel a great deal of anxiety. This is usually because it can be quite scary to experience such a life-changing surgery. Bariatric surgery rewires your entire digestive system.
Regardless of what mental health symptoms a patient may experience, it is vital to prepare before the surgery and have resources after as well. Make sure that your surgeon is talking to you before your surgery about possible mental health side effects. Plan ahead about what resources you may need to use after your surgery. The better prepared you are, the smoother your process will go.
Monaco, K. (2019, September 26). Bariatric Surgery May Compromise Mental Health. Retrieved from MedPage Today: https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/obesity/82412
Schreiber, K. (2016, November 17). The Mental Health Struggles of Weight Loss Surgery. Retrieved from Psychology Today : https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-truth-about-exercise-addiction/201611/the-mental-health-struggles-weight-loss-surgery