Handling Psychological Changes after Gastric Bypass Surgery

Psychopathological conditions are very common among people living with obesity. The correlation between obesity and depression is undeniable. Patients that undergo bypass surgery at Gastric Bypass Houston can expect to lose approximately 60-80% of their total body weight. Because gastric bypass surgery is such an impactful intervention, many people experience changes in their attitudes after their surgery. A trend among literature has linked gastric bypass to an improvement in psychological health. This mainly relates to changes in feelings of self-esteem, body image, and overall self-concept. Other mental benefits point to the patient feeling more empowered. Even though these changes may be immense for some people, others might not experience changes at all. Some may have great expectations pre-op and be disappointed when these lofty goals are not met.

Up to 30% of bariatric patients report symptoms of depression at the time of surgery. Similar to medical conditions associated with obesity, depression seems to be more prevalent and severe the higher up a patient is on the scale. Many studies report positive changes in self-esteem, body image, and quality of life after surgery. In one Swedish study, bypass patients decreased their depression rates much more effectively than the control group, who participated only in traditional diet and exercise. Improvements in mental health are also prevalent in people who don’t lose much weight after surgery. Though many patients experience improvements in their overall mental well-being, there are still many people who gain no positive momentum. Perhaps this is because their expected post-op outcomes were not met.

Having surgery at Gastric Bypass Houston, a patient should prepare for any type of mood swing that may come their way. If you face depressive symptoms such as a depressed mood, feelings of dissatisfaction with everyday activities, insomnia, hypersomnia, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, trouble concentrating, irritability, or great changes in your appetite (more than would be expected after surgery), seek medical help. Therapy, a recommended anti-depressant, and support groups can all contribute to healing depression.

Here are some steps you can take for the prevention of depression.

  1. Develop new strategies for coping with stress. The time period directly after surgery is often the most stressful, so find new ways to diffuse stress before you have the surgery. Your methods may include meditation, yoga, deep breathing and taking walks.
  2. Emphasize your switch to new food in your activities. Instead of meeting friends for dinner at a restaurant, suggest a fun group activity like hiking or bowling.
  3. Find a therapist you can talk to after your surgery. This can be a great tool for handling the mood swings you may have. Therapists are great for this time of transition.


Depression after Bariatric Surgery: Triggers, Identification, Treatment, and Prevention