Mental Health Care Needed Before, After Bariatric Surgery


I get asked this question over and over……

Mental health care needed before, after bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery is the most effective weight-loss option for people who are severely obese. However, the surgery involves substantial risks and requires a lifelong commitment to behavioral change. Therefore, you must be prepared mentally as well as physically before surgery.

Many why they have to see a mental health professional before getting bariatric surgery.

The value of the preoperative psychosocial evaluation for surgical candidates is well documented. A National Institutes of Health Consensus Panel concluded a few years ago that a psychiatric evaluation was not needed in every case but should be available if indicated.

More than 80% of bariatric programs require such evaluations. In addition, major insurance companies in the United States require a “comprehensive/presurgical psychological/psychiatric evaluation as part of a mandatory work-up before approving surgery”.

For example, if you are participating in any eating disorder behaviors, (for example, skipping meals, emotional eating, binge eating, or night eating), It can raise the the awareness and help you get control of these behaviors before surgery.

Also, can assist in anticipating difficulties that might arise as your lifestyles change, including ways in which your body image changes will affect work and social relationships. This is different from the pragmatic approach of the surgeon and nutritionist, whose roles are more circumscribed.

Because of the uniqueness of each individual, different lifestyles and backgrounds, and continued stressors, the mental health provider specializing in bariatric care also is uniquely positioned to assist you in coming up with a plan that will work for you.

But what happens after the you have the surgery? Theoretically, before surgery your to be prepared for the psychological and physical transformation you are likely to undergo. Just as the surgery is a procedure, the postsurgical period is a process. In light of this, I would submit that you should be under the care of mental health professionals after surgery.

One of the main psychological issues that often arise with you is distress around the excess or loose skin that is left behind after excess weight loss. But this is certainly not the main psychological issue faced. Several other postsurgical psychological issues also can arise around navigating in daily routines and around relationships, for example. For us with morbid obesity and psychiatric disorders, particularly those with personality disorders, greater difficulties can be seen in “adapting to the new demands, including the need to cope with stress and other problems in a new way, to relearn how to eat, distress over weight loss plateaus, failure to achieve a normal-looking body, etc.” You have to be prepared for these changes and challenges before surgery and help them process the implications after your procedures.

Postsurgical work with that also might help you adapt to your new lifestyles so that a large portion of the weight stays off. Investigators in the Swedish obese subjects intervention study found that a significant proportion of bariatric surgery patients experienced “considerable weight regain at the 10-year follow-up”.

Despite your best efforts to get educated about body image issues before surgery, some would benefit from psychosocial interventions in this area after surgery.

Surgery is only the beginning of a new healthy life. You might not necessarily be prepared for the way in which these changes will affect your live and relationships. Mental health professionals can help integrate these issues for the you by providing psychoeducation and preparing you for what to expect during both the preoperative and postoperative periods. In short, the work that has to be put in by you, your surgeon, nutritionist, a good support system, friends and and family is essential to your long-term success and quality of life.

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