Is Bariatric Surgery An Effective Solution For Obesity-Related Depression?

Anyone who has suffered with obesity can attest to the significant psychological and emotional toll it can take on a person. It can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. So it raises the question: will a patient shed the psychological burden associated with obesity along with the excess weight after bariatric surgery?

Let’s begin with the understanding that psychological and emotional issues like depression and anxiety are serious and complex illnesses. The experiences of some patients may not be the same as others. We encourage any of our patients who are struggling with such troubles to seek professional help.

The Prevalence of Psychological Comorbidities in Obese People

You may be familiar with the physical comorbidities associated with obesity such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart conditions, but there are other equally insidious comorbidities that can affect the patient’s psychological health. Studies have indicated that obese people are 5 times more likely to have experienced a significant depressive period in the past year than people of average weight.

Perhaps, this is not so surprising when one considers that personal body dissatisfaction and the effects of discrimination are both known to cause or aggravate depression. This can further be compounded by repeated failed attempts to lose weight, leading to a sense of hopelessness and diminished self-esteem. Certainly, the sense of hopelessness can be made even worse with the diagnosis of a serious physical co-morbidity like cardiovascular disease.

The Psychological Impact Of Bariatric Surgery

Numerous studies have been made in an attempt to measure and quantify the emotional benefits of bariatric surgery. A great many of them have reported overall improvement in self-esteem, body image and depressive symptoms. Perhaps the most telling of these studies is the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) involving over 4000 patients. A significant decrease in depression and anxiety in the year following the surgery was reported, compared to obese controls who were only treated with diet and exercise counseling.

A comprehensive review of 40 studies conducted between 1982 and 2002 suggests that the psychological and emotional troubles are directly related to the excess weight rather than an underlying factor in the patients’ character.

The improved psychological health can be related to more than the weight loss and improved self-image. Some patients saw emotional improvements before significant weight loss had occurred. Perhaps this is due to patients feeling they have taken positive action to improve their lives and therefore regained control and hope over their fate.

So, while it would be irresponsible to suggest that bariatric surgery is a cure for depression, anxiety and other psychological concerns in obese patients, the studies clearly suggest that many patients have experienced significant improvements in their emotional and psychological health thanks to bariatric surgery.

Contact the New York Bariatric at 800-633-8446 to learn more about their bariatric surgery procedures. You can also register for a free informational seminar here.

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Is Bariatric Surgery An Effective Solution For Obesity-Related Depression?


Lost 145lbs

Thomas' success story

I went in for surgery. An hour later, I came out a new man.

Everybody treated me like a king. The day of surgery, I was excited. The hospital couldn’t be any nicer. I went in for surgery. An hour later, I came out a new man. My recovery was awesome. I was out of bed that day. My wife and kids were my motivation on getting this surgery. They are my whole life. I’m happy I’m going to be around for them.

Listen to Thomas’ testimonial


Lost 76lbs

Nicole's success story

I hit my goal weight ... and I feel fabulous

I had the gastric bypass. I am Type 2 Diabetic and I wanted to gain control of my sugar. I hit my goal weight in about 5 and half months and I feel fabulous. The procedure has completely changed my life for the better because it has empowered me as a middle aged woman that I can really do everything and anything that I want to do. I don't put an age on anything. I don't say I'm too old for something.

Listen to Nicole’s testimonial


Lost 76lbs