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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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Our team is happy to speak with you and help you understand any of the treatments we offer, or answer any questions you have. Please call and speak with us at 800-633-8446, or read more about the surgical and non-surgical options we offer here.

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What our patients are saying

“The staff and doctors at the New York Bariatric Group are amazing! They are always patient, helpful, and very understanding and pro-active with questions, problems, etc. After Lap Band surgery I feel fantastic. For the last 6 years I have not had to worry if my clothes would fit. I have been able to maintain my weight loss, and have so much more energy.”

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"Dr. Holover has a great personality, I love him, I consider him a good friend, and I recommend him to everyone. He and his staff are amazing. I thought my recovery would be worse, but it wasn’t. It was great. After a couple of days I was back on my feet and going, with three boys you don’t have time to be down. Now, my kids have to keep up with me!"

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"My results are incredible; I can go to any store and find clothes that fit, I don’t have to go to the big and tall store anymore. My family and friends say I look great, but more so are so happy about my health. Definitely go for it, it is well worth it."

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"My recovery was very easy, I started moving around pretty quick because the nurses had me up and about. Dr. Angstadt has a great bedside manner, a cheerful disposition and is very knowledgeable. He was genuinely concerned for me, he answered all of my questions and put me at ease. I couldn’t be happier, I think it is the best decision I ever made."

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"I was concerned about my health, my blood pressure, cholesterol, my mobility, my flexibility. A few friends told me about NYBG and I went to a seminar. I wanted to live a healthier life and live a long life. My recovery was great, after a week I was 100%. My doctor, Dr. Sekhar, has the best personality in the world."

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"I had a couple of friends who had bariatric surgery done by Dr. Garber a few years back and I decided to make the appointment. My favorite thing about the surgery is not being able to eat that much, eating whatever I want but in smaller portions. My results are amazing"

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*Individual results may vary.

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