Psychological Changes After Weight Loss Surgery

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    Post-Operative Depression

    • A period of depression is not uncommon in patients after weight loss surgery. In fact, according to a 2008 Bariatric Times article by Dr. Cynthia L. Alexander, the suicide rate among post-operative bariatric patients is about fives times higher than the rest of the population. Depression can occur for a lot of reasons and everyone's experience is different. People who have high expectations for life immediately after surgery may be disappointed when they feel tired and sore after the procedure. It does take some time to regain energy and feel better when weight loss begins. If there were complications during or after surgery, the traumatic experience can trigger an episode of depression.
      Depression after weight loss surgery is common, but only if it lasts for just a few days. If the depression lasts for a week or more, there may be a bigger problem and you should seek help from your bariatric surgeon.

    Adjusting to New Habits

    • Bariatric patients must learn to adjust to new living habits after surgery. This means adhering to a strict diet limiting sugar, fat, fiber and alcohol, according to HealthEast.org, the website of HealthEast Care System. The amount of food that recovering patients can eat will be much smaller in proportion to the amount they are accustomed to eating. Eating habits must be monitored to avoid gradually eating more and more calories and gaining back weight. These adjustments can cause psychological stress for patients, but with support from friends, family and doctors, the adjustment can be made easier. Bariatric support groups are offered in most areas and these can help patients adjust with support from peers.

    Relationships

    • One thing many patients find after surgery is that many of the relationships they had will change at least some. As patients lose weight they may begin to act differently as they see a different side of themselves. Some friends, family members, and significant others will likely have trouble adjusting to these changes and relationships may go through some rough patches. Since weight loss patients need a lot of support after surgery, these relationship changes can have a rough psychological impact. This is another reason why weight loss surgery support groups are helpful, according to BariatricEdge.com: If friends, family and co-workers are having a hard time being supportive, the patient can find peers from which to gain additional support.

    Self-Esteem

    • Perhaps one of the most marked psychological changes that occurs after weight loss surgery is the change in self-esteem. Many people will gain a new feeling of self-confidence as the weight begins to disappear. Others, however, may have a difficult time adjusting to their new self-image and experience some confusion, Dr. Alexander notes. In addition, lot of loose skin and stretch marks may remain after the weight is gone. These new aesthetic problems may cause self-confidence to decrease. Patients should ensure that they have proper support for these issues prior to surgery.

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