The impact of bariatric surgery on psychological health is often overshadowed by the significant reduction or resolution in physical morbidities. A history of chronic physical conditions (such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia) was identified as a risk factor for the presence of depression. Research has shown that obesity increased the risk for depression even if chronic physical disease was not present.

Obesity is a complex phenomenon which has genetic, physiological and psychological components. We cannot change our genes, but we can work to change our mind and body.

One explanation for the relationship between obesity and depression is the accumulation of lipids. These lipids trigger the fat cell to release inflammatory cytokines. These pro-inflammatory compounds accompany depressive symptoms of sadness, guilt, impaired concentration, fatigue, chronic pain and sleeping disorders.

Another biological factor associated with obesity is the consumption of nutrients which can impact depression. Carbohydrates have been shown to affect depression via central serontogicactivity in the brain in addition to impacting body weight. Serotonin contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. Obese people are less like to exercise, and physical activity reduces the risk of depression by increasing the levels of endorphins.Endorphins are produce a feeling of well-being.

Think back to the seasons that you prompted you to begin weight loss journey. What was your goal? For most, it was to improve their diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. While you were working on that goal what else did you achieve? The weight loss helps patients to have improved body image, self-esteem, and self-concept. This occurred as the patient realized they took control of his/her life. Think not about what you can have while working on reaching your weight loss goal. But rather just imagine what you can be. Think about freedom from food choices. You being empowered, not being weighed down by food. What it would feel like to emotional lighter, freer and able to soar to new heights?

Michel Gunn

Michel Gunn