Obesity not only impacts your physical wellbeing, but it can also affects you mentally and emotionally. Depression, motivational disorders, a sense of lethargy, and impaired body image are just a few of the challenges that come with excess weight. Losing that weight can help, and weight loss surgery is a way to accomplish that.
Understanding the Mental Health Component of Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery has a significant mental health component. Some patients find that their mental wellbeing improves after they start seeing results, but many others continue to struggle. Before undergoing bariatric surgery, it’s vital to address the psychological aspects of your excess weight. Doing so will help ensure that you get the support you need to make a full recovery.
Seek Professional Help
Some candidates for bariatric surgery avoid acknowledging their mental health concerns out of fear that they’ll be found unqualified. However, this often puts them in a more precarious situation after surgery, so it’s important to acknowledge these issues early on. If you have symptoms of depression, anxiety, self esteem issues, and eating disorders, seeking professional help can give you the resources you need to make the lifestyle changes that weight loss surgery is designed to support.
Understand Why You’re Considering Surgery
When considering weight loss surgery, it’s important to understand your motivation for doing so. Motivation based purely on how you look is unlikely to last as long as a real commitment to lead a healthier, higher-quality life.
Mentally Prepare for Surgery
Finally, surgery takes both mental and physical preparation. A review of numerous publications found that depression and binge-eating disorder were among the most common mental health challenges facing bariatric surgery patients, so it’s important to address these conditions as you get ready. A professional can help you take an honest look at the situations and events that contribute toward your dietary choices and help you resolve those issues.
5 Mental Health Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
While professional help is vital to overcoming the mental aspect of obesity, there are some potential benefits that can come from surgery itself. However, remember that bariatric surgery is designed purely to support healthy lifestyle and dietary changes. It is not a cure for depression, anxiety, or compulsive overeating.
1. Break the Depression – Weight Gain Cycle
Obesity and depression tend to feed into each other. According to one meta-analysis, obesity and depression were shown to have a “reciprocal link,” with depression being a predictive factor of developing obesity. Losing weight from weight loss surgery could help you break out of that cycle.
2. Increased Energy
The rapid weight loss that often follows weight loss surgery can also lead to increased energy levels. Your body has less to carry around, and increasing muscle mass through exercise can help you feel more energized, which can make it easier to feel happier and more confident as a result.
3. Less Physical Pain
Obesity often comes with physical joint pain, which can lead to negative feelings, lethargy, etc. According to one CDC analysis, arthritic pain is strongly associated with depression, with symptoms of depression being twice as common among people with arthritis as those without. As such, reducing the strain on your joints may help contribute toward your mental wellbeing.
4. Renewed Self-Image
For many people, excess weight is part of their self-image. Losing that weight will lead to a change of how you look at yourself. Research shows that for many people, this is a positive change, but some people struggle since they feel they have lost their identity. For this and many other reasons, mental preparation is vital, but it’s still true that losing weight can help you improve your self-image.
5. Improved Mood
Finally, increased energy, less weight, and renewed self-image can lead to an overall improved mood. This is especially true as you exercise—studies show that cardiopulmonary fitness is associated with lower levels of depression among bariatric patients. Surgery could make exercising a little easier, potentially resulting in a better mood.
Improve Your Mental and Physical Health
Weight loss surgery can be an effective way to improve your physical and mental health, but only as long as you’re prepared to change your life. Dr. Malladi helps her patients find the support they need to be successful after bariatric surgery, so contact Malladi Bariatrics & Advanced Surgery to see if you’re a candidate.