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.