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The Importance of a Psychiatric Evaluation Before Bariatric Surgery

The Importance of a Psychiatric Evaluation Before Bariatric Surgery

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is an effective treatment strategy for people who live with significant amounts of excess weight. It can be especially beneficial if you have weight-related medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea.

But even though bariatric surgery gives many patients a safe, effective treatment option, nobody should plan on having it without undergoing a thorough pre-surgery preparation regimen.

This preparation regimen helps us determine if you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery. It includes checkups and evaluations to determine whether you are physically, medically, and emotionally ready for the procedure, as well as the efforts necessary after surgery to have a positive outcome.

At Peachtree Surgical & Bariatrics in Atlanta, Georgia, our weight loss care providers know that the better prepared you are for your procedure, the more likely you are to achieve your weight loss goals. 

That’s why we include a psychiatric evaluation as part of the preparation protocol for every bariatric surgery patient.

Here, we provide some context about the importance of having a psychiatric evaluation before surgery.

A big step

Even though bariatric surgery is safe and effective when performed by highly trained specialists on qualified candidates, it’s not the right choice for everyone. 

That’s not just because it’s a significant medical procedure, but because it requires continued effort and commitment from patients long after the surgery ends. (Click here to learn about some of the lifestyle changes we recommend after bariatric surgery.)

For example, you must make changes to your eating patterns and your activity levels after surgery for a successful outcome. Bariatric surgery isn’t a get-it-and-forget-it procedure like having your appendix removed. Instead, it’s the first step in a lifelong commitment to healthy living focused on weight loss and maintenance.

A psychiatric evaluation before surgery helps us determine whether you are psychologically prepared to care for yourself after surgery and well into the future.

Checking on emotional issues

A psych evaluation also helps ensure that you are emotionally ready for bariatric surgery. During your evaluation, a trained psychological clinician looks for any conditions or situations that may make bariatric surgery harmful to you.

The clinician also checks for the presence of conditions that may interfere with your ability to recuperate in a healthy way after surgery.

For example, if you have a history of anorexia, bulimia, or other types of disordered eating, the evaluation determines whether bariatric surgery would cause you to relapse or experience harmful psychological distress.

Similarly, if you have experienced depression or anxiety, of if you are a survivor of physical or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or other traumas, a psych evaluation helps determine whether bariatric surgery will trigger your trauma again.

A plan for moving forward

Having mental health conditions, a history of eating disorders, or a history of trauma doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have bariatric surgery. But it may mean you’ll have to take some extra care to make sure the surgery doesn’t hurt you emotionally.

This extra care may include reaching out for additional emotional support or treatment from a trained psychological care provider before or after your procedure.

Keep in mind that every patient has their own psychological and emotional needs. A psychological evaluation helps us understand those needs and to create a personalized pre- and post-surgery support plan that best suits you.

Our providers are here for you

We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about psychiatric evaluations, emotional health before and after surgery, or anything else on your mind.

To schedule a consultation with one of our caring weight loss care providers, contact us today to request an appointment at our Atlanta, Georgia, office.

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