How To Pass A Pre-Bariatric Surgery Psych Evaluation

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Choosing to get bariatric surgery is a big decision. It’s expensive, it takes time to recover from, and it results in significant changes to your body and mind. Because of this, doctors highly recommend that patients be in the right frame of mind before they go into surgery.

Patients need to be mentally prepared for what they’re about to experience. Even though bariatric surgery is an overall good thing for a patient’s mental health due to improved physical health, better self image, and more confidence, it’s still not easy to go through. Doctors require that patients pass a psych eval before they undergo surgery, and this is how you do it. Before we go into that, we need to make sure you understand what bariatric surgery does to the mind.

Psychological Effects of Bariatric Surgery

Increased risk of depressive symptoms

Bariatric Surgery In Mexico and the post-op diet will reduce the amount of carbs you’re able to eat. A lower-carb diet will affect your insulin response, which in turn affects your serotonin levels. You may experience a severe drop in serotonin levels which can result in depressive symptoms and anxiety.

Patients who have a history of depression are not excluded from surgery, but they are at increased risk of depressive symptoms even compared to the normal population.

Mood swings

As a result of your lowered food intake, the cells in your body will become less resistant to insulin. This is an amazing thing for your health, as it can send Type 2 diabetes into remission and allow you to maintain a healthy weight for years to come. However, when your cells respond more to insulin, your serotonin levels will go up and down much more than before. This may cause mood swings. 

Body dysmorphia

Patients have a hard time getting used to the skinny person they see in the mirror. Many patients avoid mirrors because they’ve been obese for so long, and seeing someone different in the mirror can feel a bit dissociating. Some patients can’t even believe what they’re seeing in the mirror and instead see someone much larger. This has the potential for eating disorders to develop.

The Psych Eval Before Bariatric Surgery

The first thing you have to keep in mind is that the information you share with the doctor performing the psych eval is confidential. It will NOT result in you being committed to a mental hospital, and unless the issues are serious, it will NOT immediately disqualify you from surgery if you have mental health issues in your past.

Every office will perform a slightly different version of the psychological evaluation, so don’t worry about the specifics of the test.

You may be asked about your alcohol and drug use. This is to identify potential sources of addiction and issues that may impact one’s ability to stick to the post-op restrictions (which include no alcohol).

You may be given an MBMD test to assess how prepared you are for bariatric surgery.

You will be asked about your weight loss history and your eating patterns. It’s expected that bariatric patients will have tried and failed at losing weight after trying several different diets and exercise regimens.

Factors That May Prevent You From Qualifying For Surgery

  • Multiple suicide attempts in the past 5 years. It’s recommended that patients focus on addressing the issues that resulted in those suicide attempts before undergoing this procedure.
  • An active psychosis, or hospitalization for psychosis within the past year.
  • Evidence of a substance abuse disorder in the very recent past. Patients who are seeking help for a substance abuse disorder are much more likely to qualify than those who aren’t.

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