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Bariatric Surgery And Your Mental Health

24th September 2019

While bariatric surgery significantly contributes to improving physical comorbidities for patients, there is another aspect to these procedures that need to be considered: the mental health effects and outcomes.

According to certain studies conducted in Australia, 25% of candidates considering weight loss surgery suffer from a mood disorder and 17% suffer from binge-eating.

Emotional and mental wellness for patients both before and after weight loss surgery is a key concern for Dr Lockie’s multi disciplinary team. Behavioural, dietary, psychological, physical and medical considerations all play a role in long term weight loss and form part of the patient support programme.

In addition to this programme, anyone can access a regular support group to discuss their questions, experiences and concerns under the guidance of a psychologist.

This article examines some of the key considerations and sheds light on how patients can deal with the adjustments brought on by bariatric surgery.

 Before the bariatric surgery

Before this type of surgery, it is common for patients to experience anxiety and stress about the procedure itself. Moreover, there’s also fear or uncertainty surrounding the lifestyle changes the surgery requires and the changes patients will experience in their body.

Patients may also have high expectations of the results they’re likely to experience as a result of bariatric surgery. Together, these mental states can precipitate a significant amount of mental pressure. Talking through fears and concerns with close friends, family or with a trained medical professional can be very helpful in reducing anxiety and stress.

Mental health after the surgery 

Following the surgery, it’s not uncommon for patients to feel overwhelmed by the lifestyle changes required by this procedure and the changes they experience in their bodies.

Recuperating after bariatric surgery may also place a strain on a patient’s relationships with those around them. Certain studies have shown significant relationship events can be more likely after surgery, so it’s essential to take time to adjust, and reach out for support when needed.

Some patients might expect their self-esteem to improve as soon as they lose weight and may feel disheartened if this doesn’t take place. Mental health support in the form of counselling after surgery is much more likely to result in long-term improvements to self-esteem.

Tips that help patients deal with the adjustment 

Maintaining realistic expectations of the changes a patient is likely to experience following surgery for obesity is essential. This goes beyond changes in the body, including changes in self-perception and mental health.

In this process, it’s important to build a support network that will provide the care, kindness, and love for optimal support and well being. This will assist in becoming more accepting of the changes taking place and feeling supported in recovery and into the future.

While patients may feel tempted to address any discomfort, stress, anxiety or depression with the use of tobacco and alcohol, they must be vigilant about the possibility of addiction and abuse. Healthy coping mechanisms need to be discovered and cultivated to assist in recovery.

As part of the recovery process, self-care is extremely important. While this will differ from person to person, common self-care tactics include meditation, yoga, exercise, eating clean, fun pastimes such as reading, finishing jigsaws or even a pampering skincare routine.

In this process, patients who practice kindness and patience towards themselves is of utmost importance.

Dr Phil Lockie's Approach

Dr Phil Lockie, an experienced surgeon, believes in a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to bariatric surgery. He believes that when patients are being treated for obesity, they require support from the start of their journey, extending after the surgery is completed.

To provide this level of care, psychologists are available, on-site, to help patients cope with the changes taking place or about to take place in their bodies. He can also direct each individual to support groups that will help him or her receive the right kind of guidance and support during the recovery process.

Patients can now contact us at any time for support; we take this journey together with you.

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Patients who wish to undergo bariatric surgery are now offered a free, initial consultation to find out more about this procedure and how the practice works.

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