It is clear through numerous studies that individuals who suffer from obesity are more likely to struggle with issues regarding self esteem, body image and depression when compared to their normal weight counterparts. This is completely understandable when one considers the bias and discrimination that the average obese individual deals with on a daily basis. Many studies have shown that obese individuals are less likely to get hired, are less likely to get promoted, and are more likely to get fired from their job simply due to their weight. These stressors along with the health toll obesity takes on the body can certainly begin to take a toll on one’s psyche and outlook.
The goal of our behavioral health team during the initial visit is help patients identify their strengths and weaknesses before surgery which will help them maintain good mental health after their operation. Significant weight loss can lead to significant stress and it is important patients are aware of this and develop strategies to deal with these impending changes. Patients have to explore the question “Why do I eat?” Do I eat because I’m happy? Sad? Angry? Bored? These emotions don’t go away after surgery, but patients must develop healthier ways to deal with the emotion. Although it is not as common as some media outlets would have you believe, we can occasionally see patients struggle with problems like alcoholism, drug addiction, shopping addiction, etc after their surgery if they do not deal with their emotions in a healthy way.
After surgery, our behavioral health team is committed to helping our patients maintain good mental health while they regain their physical health. There are a number of support groups available addressing a host of different topics as well as individual counseling sessions for those that feel they would benefit more from one-on-one counseling. In our experience, the patient that understands why he/she eats is best equipped to have long-term weight loss success.