Personality Changes After Bariatric Surgery

By Derek

When facing surgery people know to prepare for the physical and financial toll it will take on them, but rarely do we think about the emotional toll. Generally speaking, the goal of any type of bariatric surgery is to restrict calories and make the patient feel full by reducing or limiting parts of the intestine or stomach with the end goal of losing and keeping off excess weight. While there are many huge benefits of weight loss and calorie restriction, one must watch their vitamin intake as well as any emotional or personality changes that they or their loved ones notice.

The result of all bariatric surgeries, weight loss, can cause a host of mood and emotional changes due to fluctuating hormones as a result of sugar and nutrient intake being obstructed and insulin production being influenced. Losing weight is not the cure-all to all problems you face while obese, but by watching how your body and mind react, and identifying the underlying causes to your problems post-surgery, weight loss can be a huge tool in becoming a happier, healthier person.

Personality changes in bariatric surgery patients are sometimes inevitable, but not impossible to overcome.

Negative Personality Changes

Many pre- and post-surgery diet protocols call for either extremely restricting or completely eliminating carbohydrates. The surgery itself can alter the absorption of nutrients, and a diet that is devoid of carbs, insufficient in nutrients, or both at once can change serotonin levels as well as neurotransmitter activity. Insulin is released after carbs are eaten that indirectly allows more serotonin to be made. Insulin changes the levels of amino acids that are necessary for a healthy amount of serotonin to enter the brain. When these functions are compromised our mood is altered and we can develop depression and anxiety disorders.

Even with weight loss, you may still feel “fat.” For those who have been overweight most of their lives, their perception of themselves is deeply imprinted on their psyche. After weight loss, maintaining your new weight may become a source of anxiety. Family, holiday, or company functions usually include foods and beverages that you now avoid in your new healthy path. These changes may be drastic, especially for those who have used eating as a way to comfort themselves. Moving out of the way for a group of people or trying to squeeze your way through a crowded restaurant or subway even after losing weight are good examples of lingering anxiety from body image issues.

Positive Personality Changes

All the negatives will be overshadowed by the positive experiences that come post-bariatric surgery and weight loss. Lower weight reduces inflammation inside your body and increases blood circulation, helping you better absorb nutrients and carry oxygen throughout the body. Most people who have had bariatric surgery experience almost overwhelmingly positive emotions and a newfound zest for life, activity, creativity, and personal interests! You learn to appreciate and enjoy physical activity and exercise, uninhibited by excess weight. Feeling good physically and mentally can be an amazing result from losing weight after surgery.

Although many bariatric procedures inhibit absorption of vital nutrients, you can stay at optimal health by nourishing your body with vitamin supplements. Discuss with your doctor what nutrients you might need post-op to reap all the rewards healthy weight can give you.


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Bariatric Calorie Calculator

By Kristen Carli, MS, RD Why use our Bariatric Calorie Calculator? Bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure that can help individuals achieve significant weight loss and improve their overall health. However, maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle after surgery requires careful attention to diet and exercise. One important aspect of post-bariatric surgery care is monitoring […]

What are your tips and tricks to post-bariatric success?

Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below – we want to hear from you!


    1. Thank you for this article! Please keep them coming, they are very valuable to me as a bariatric patient and while I delete almost everything else – I read your articles!

  1. I had Gastric bypass surgery in October and to this date I’ve only lost 25 pounds. I need help. I thought I was doing things right but the weight isn’t coming off. Please help me

  2. I had RNY 9/23/19, and have been having many mood swings. I have a very short fuse these days. I don’t think my anxiety meds are even working at this point. I’m glad there is a reason for this because I honestly was regretting the surgery due to being miserable all the time.

  3. After gastric sleeve.. I became an alcoholic.. with alot emotional issues.. idk wth happened to me.
    Anyone else?

  4. no one told me or talks about the emotional feelings you have after surgery.. it caught me totally off guard. i had severe anxiety and terrible feelings wishing i never got it done where before the surgery it was like my dream come true. im just saying that this should be told to all patients before surgery so they know what to expect.

  5. My husband became more needy and clingy said i was having the surgery out of vanity. Im like no my dads side all had diabetes after 300lbs the same dr that he went to said i was prediabetic i would joke w my dad and say you got it at age 2012-1937…it was those sweet ladies in the building baking for you in exchange for your arroz con gondules ( green pigeon peas) in a rice with Puerto Rico spices and flavors …so because of my dads side of the family and i wasnt doing well climbing stairs i had foot surgery in 2007…so i figuired i was 343 pounds i was tired and like my dad told his dr …his doctor told him to loose weight..he told the doctor …” I have spent millions on good food and good cooking from my friends and family im old my dad and i made a deal..i told him to quit smoking for his heart because he loves himself and wants to be around for his grandkids…he can eat what he wants and no more smoking …deal…i took care of my dad after he was diagnosed w kidney failure and copd for 12yrs…by him stopping smoking he prolonged his life 12 extra yrs…
    He passed at a beautiful age of 84. O4-05-2012….told me to take care of my mom
    So i did..she was very heavy …my dad loved big beautiful women he met my mom who was a nurse at west suburban hospital ..she went with her friends to the local bar to sit and relax after a long long shift..( back in those days the RN nurse did everything..she said if they could make her sweep while taking care of babies in the nursery then she would do that to…) My dad was shooting pool w his coworkers
    He sent a drink over to her to say hello she accepted and they married a month later august 1 1968…mr and mrs julio n padilla
    My mom passed january 30th 2021 not to covid not on my watch but to pains in her liver …( she was an alcoholic..binge drinker they called it..she only drank heavily on the weekends)..well my maternal grandfather died of SIR-ROW-SOUS of the liver IDK HOW TO SPELL that word ..i will find out after post..sorry at a young age of 45 my mom was 3 when her dad died..she never got to know her dad she was the youngest of 5 kids she said Geneve Klotz was the oldest and told her mother to have an abortion when my grandmother found out she was pregnant with Marge M Klotz..nay grandmother slapped her face for talking to her that way mind you at that time during the depression it was bad but my grandmother was a lady of all things domestic and the working world….she was a seamstress ..and typist…took excellent care of the kids and house…and a nurse as well…SO WHAT DOESNT KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER…IM HERE TO TELL YOU THE BIBLE AND GODS WORD GOT ME THROUGH THE STRUGGLES ..THE DEVIL WANTS TO THROW YOU UNDER THE BUS..
    NOT TODAY SATAN..SO I encourage you
    Of all shapes and sizes my surgery was is the best decision next to giving birth to my wonderful two girls and my God also blessed me with a baby boy who is now 20…hes a blessing and my girls are very healthy..i breast fed my two girls and for 10 days my son he was not waiting on my milk…hes like mom i will find something even if it means biting on your hair or ordering mcdonalds. he is still that way
    Does not cook for himself……hes got me when im not at work is work got to make money to afford the groceries this growing boy can eat…hes 20 now hes a filltime worker part time college student for designing programs for his client that works w therapy dogs…

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