Considering Weight Loss Surgery?
Many people who are considerably overweight consider having bariatric or weight loss surgery as a remedy of last resort. Candidates for this surgery are carefully apprised of the medical risks involved, but I have found that they may not be well apprised of the psychological risks. If your obesity is related to emotional eating, binge eating or compulsive overeating, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the surgery will be a solution to your eating and weight problem. If you have an eating problem, you probably use food for emotional reasons,a form of self-medication to help yourself feel better when you are feeling bad, to push anxiety, depression, or loneliness away.
After the surgery people tend to be on a high as many pounds are lost and medical problems resolve. However, about two years post-surgery, many have regained a considerable amount of weight as their emotional problems are felt acutely once again.Even though your stomach’s capacity will be much smaller, your food cravings may remain much the same. Without the capacity to consume so much as you have become accustomed to, the emotions that arise can become difficult to tolerate or even overwhelming. The surgery does not make the compulsion to eat disappear, and so there is great risk that you will resume your compulsive eating and may even “blow out” the stapling or banding. Some have turned instead to alcohol or drugs as a different form of self-medication, and some have even developed a different eating problem such as bulimia or anorexia. With clinical depression, there is always the danger of suicide, and in fact, such cases have been reported as well as deaths by drug overdoses.
When considering something as life-altering as bariatric surgery, you will probably want to do whatever you can to ensure its success. If you have the surgery, you are likely to need a good deal more than the monthly support group offered by some hospitals.
If you are considering bariatric surgery, I can provide consultation and evaluation prior to surgery to help you anticipate what you might experience emotionally after surgery and begin to find other healthier ways of dealing with your emotions. For many people, pre-surgical and post-surgical treatment for an eating problem can go a long way in making for a much better long-range outcome of the surgery.
For further information about weight loss surgery, click here to read “What to Expect Emotionally and Psychologically After Weight Loss Surgery“.