Psychological impact of bariatric surgery
Sometimes, within a day or two following bariatric surgery patients can experience initial feelings of regret which can often be feelings of guilt at not having been able to lose weight without resorting to surgery and the associated feelings of post-operative discomfort and pain. These feelings are perfectly normal and will pass.
It is common to feel weak and low in energy during these early days. Adhere to the advice given to you by your bariatric team and again these symptoms will pass.
Following the post-operative recovery period you will notice a change to your physical hunger level, your energy levels begin to increase, your quality of sleep improves and your body shape gradually changes. These benefits can feel very empowering.
However, emotional difficulties can unfortunately become apparent and there are several reasons for this. Whilst every individual is different we do see some common themes.
You may feel that you cannot socialise or eat with family and friends as you were used to due to dietary restrictions. As the next few months pass, textures of foods will increase and portion sizes will not be quite as restrictive. You will still be able to eat with others, just less.
At times it becomes apparent that, prior to bariatric surgery, food was used as a way of managing emotions and thoughts. It can feel as if you have lost your method of self-soothing or managing these uncomfortable emotions and thoughts.
Uncomfortable emotions, thoughts and feelings can rise to the surface. It is important to find a healthier way of dealing with these unwanted feelings and thoughts. An aftercare programme providing emotional support and advice to help deal with areas such as anxiety, low mood, stress, self-esteem, confidence, assertiveness and body image is essential for long term success.
Lifestyle changes and altering body shape can have an effect on your personal relationships. These changes can be very positive although at times difficulties can arise.
The people in your life can react differently towards you, which can include; trying to consciously or unconsciously sabotage your efforts, disbelief that you can stick to your new lifestyle, jealousy of your success, insecurity that you may now want to find a different partner, friends might find the new you ‘boring’
For long term success following bariatric surgery and to avoid the real risk of future weight gain, it is essential that permanent behaviour changes are made and emotional needs are understood and met in a healthier way.
simplybariatrics provides an online programme, devised by medical bariatric specialists, who have many years of proven experience and expertise in obesity.
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