Emotional Adjustments After Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a rollercoaster of emotions. Patients who suffer with obesity often deal with fat shaming, low self-esteem, loneliness, and many other problems. After they undergo gastric bypass, gastric sleeve or other weight loss surgery, the body they have always known undergoes drastic changes. They may find it challenging to identify the person staring them back from the mirror. They can also be flooded with new emotions after weight loss surgery.

Measurable Changes

The changes that the body of a patient undergoes after bariatric surgery are not just skin deep. The shift in the body’s composition has a direct impact on their hormone levels. Dietary changes and low food intake also impact the activity of neurotransmitters like serotonin. Such shifts can cause patients to feel happy, anxious or even depressed. Similar symptoms may also result from the deficiency of vitamins in the body. It is essential that patients undergo regular testing to determine their hormonal and vitamin levels. They should go for regular checkups and keep their surgeon and aftercare team informed about their mood swings after weight loss surgery.

Inability to Binge Eat

Before weight loss surgery, binge eating is an emotional go-to for some patients. They can ‘eat their emotions’ away. However, after the surgery, binge eating is no longer a part of their life. This can leave them unprepared. Now, when they are anxious, they no longer have that coping mechanism to turn to. However, with the right advice, patients can control their emotions after weight loss surgery with the help of another activity or even a hobby to replace binge eating.

Transfer of Addiction

As already mentioned, some patients binge eat to cope with their emotions. However, in some cases, it may be bordering on food addiction. After the bariatric surgery, patients are not able to get “high” on food. This might compel them to explore another addiction as an outlet. Transfer of addiction after bariatric surgery may lead to alcoholism, drug abuse, or even over-exercising. It is crucial for them to talk to a therapist and get rid of any addictive behavior or signs of depression after weight loss surgery.

Dealing with Unrealistic Expectations

Bariatric surgery is a big decision, and patients expect their weights to reach a number they desire magically. This may not always be healthy. The surgery may not deliver exactly as per their unrealistic expectations. This can send them into depression or get them obsessed with the idea of losing more weight. Both of these scenarios can end up hurting their mental and physical health in the long run. So, it is essential that patients sit with their bariatric surgeon and discuss what to expect from the gastric sleeve surgery.

Conclusion

Weight loss surgery has an impact on both the body and the mind. If the patient is struggling to cope with their new lifestyle after weight loss surgery, they should speak to a psychologist to help them cope with the life-altering changes they are making. This should help to make the post-surgery adjustment period shorter and less stressful.

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