Losing weight and getting healthy is a goal for millions of Americans. When diet and exercise alone can’t provide the results you’re seeking, bariatric surgery might be your best option.
However, losing weight is not without emotional challenges. There is a connection between depression and weight loss surgery, leading to unique psychological trials throughout the recovery process. If you are considering a bariatric procedure to lose weight and reclaim your health, understanding what lies along the road ahead can help you make a decision that’s right for you.
Psychological Changes and Surgery
Self-identity has many ties to mental and emotional well-being. Bariatric surgery, while low-risk and very effective, can lead to major changes that are often tough to overcome. Even for those who are eager to lose weight, experiencing a new and largely permanent way of life can be quite jarring. The reasons behind depression after surgery are complex and variable, but may include both physical and emotional factors.
Buying a new wardrobe to accommodate a smaller size is a positive step, but acclimating to drastic weight loss can be difficult.
Some patients no longer feel like the same person they were prior to surgery, and some experience an identity crisis of sorts. Looking into the mirror and seeing ‘someone else’ staring back can be overwhelming, even if the body you see is slimmer and healthier. Many patients also develop loose skin or scarring, leading to unhappiness with appearance immediately following surgery.
Changes after bariatric surgery may be more than simply physical. The emotional issues that can accompany the acceptance of your new self are multi-faceted, affecting all patients in different ways.
For some, the realization that favorite foods are now forbidden can be very upsetting. Others struggle to accept that there is no going back on most methods of bariatric surgery, and this change is for good. Patients can also see the loss of weight as a loss of self, with lower weight as a symbol for a new and irrevocable phase of life.
Surgery isn’t the same for everyone; while some patients rejoice, others slowly sink into a frustrating depression. If you are feeling sad, fatigued, apathetic, or lethargic after your procedure, it may be time to seek help.
An appointment with a counselor can help you work through your feelings, and identify with the new size and shape of your body, the dietary adjustments, and any required lifestyle changes. Support groups can also be helpful, providing a peer network of others walking the same path who truly understand your journey. If your symptoms are severe and therapy does not bring significant results, medical intervention may also be suggested to help you conquer the challenging emotions that come with a successful surgical outcome.
If you are considering weight loss surgery, Destination Weight Loss is here for you. Our team of medical professionals can provide the support you deserve, including comprehensive mental health counseling for depression after bariatric surgery. Contact us today to learn more.