Should You Go to Therapy After Having Weight-Loss Surgery?
For many people, having bariatric surgery brings lots of positive change. It can improve your overall health, enhance quality of life, and build confidence and self-esteem. It can also ease anxiety and depression.
But a major lifestyle change like bariatric surgery can also be a source of stress and struggle. For example, you may find your weight loss affects relationships with your spouse, loved ones, and coworkers. Or, you may feel anxious about losing enough weight and keeping it off.
While counseling is an accepted part of the preoperative process, many people don’t realize the importance of therapy after surgery. A therapist or support group can help you adapt to new lifestyle changes and work through any interpersonal conflicts that may come up.
Coping with the Stress of Change
After surgery, it’s common to go through periods of ups and downs as you recover and get used to your changing body. You may also feel stress as some relationships change. During these times, it’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress. Examples include yoga, exercise, meditation, or spending time with family or friends. This is especially important if you have used food, alcohol, or smoking to relieve stress in the past. A therapist or support group can help you develop strategies and offer support to keep you on track.
Developing New Eating Habits
Many people with weight problems have an emotional relationship with food. After bariatric surgery, some people mourn the loss of this connection. If you find yourself eating in response to certain situations or emotions, or out of boredom, a therapist can help you develop new eating habits. In some cases, antidepressants may help decrease the anxiety related to food-loss grieving.
If you need any support after surgery, talk with your doctor. Depending on your situation, he or she may refer you to a therapist or suggest a support group. Connecting with an experienced mental health professional can be a significant step in your postoperative recovery.