Psychosocial Aspects of Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) is a life-altering decision. Surgery is not only associated with significant eating changes, but can also involve significant changes to the body, relationships, health status, and mood. It is important to work with providers who are knowledgeable of the lifestyle changes someone must undergo before, during, and after bariatric surgery.
Bariatric Surgery Assessments
Most insurance providers will require that those undergoing bariatric surgery complete a pre-surgical psychological assessment to determine readiness for surgery. In these assessments, you may be asked about your personal history, weight-loss and exercise history, and mental health history. You might be asked to demonstrate some knowledge of the procedure and the lifestyle changes required after surgery. You may also be asked to provide information about the lifestyle changes you've already made to prepare for surgery.
Conducting bariatric surgery assessment requires specialized training and understanding of the psychosocial factors of bariatric surgery. I have spent several years working with surgeons, registered dieticians, nurses, and patients who are considering and who have undergone bariatric surgery. I find it extremely rewarding to work as part of a team to help people make lasting lifestyle changes that make a big difference in their day-to-day lives.
Therapy and Support
Bariatric surgery comes with many changes and challenges. Most people find that they would like extra support with these changes. Participating in therapy or support groups prior to and after surgery increases the chances of successful outcomes.
A mental health clinician trained to work with those undergoing bariatric surgery can help with:
Balancing adherence to food regimen without being overly rigid
Managing changes associated with bariatric surgery (relationships, mood, eating, body, routines, occupation, health)
Reduce preoccupation with body weight and shape
Maintaining balance in thinking, feeling, and behaving
General life enhancement