This year, we saw Brendan Fraser, the protagonist of the film The Whale, win an Oscar for Best Performance, after representing the experience of Charlie, a man with depression and obesity, who weighs almost 600 pounds.
Even though this blog is not a review of the film, it’s a good starting point to talk about our topic: the relationship between depression and obesity.
In The Whale, we meet our protagonist in a deep depression because of the death of an ex-partner; however, he doesn’t even think of going to the hospital anymore. Delving into his depression, he eats pizza every day and as soon as he’s alone he can’t resist binge eating looking for his final hour.
Previous Mental Problems
Statistically, obese people who seek treatment tend to have more mental problems than those who do not. In addition, those who seek medical treatment for obesity, such as surgery or medication, are more likely to have had problems with depression and anxiety before than those who only follow diets or weight control programs.
Mostly all studies on the subject have found that 40% of people seeking bariatric surgery, the most effective option for the resolution of obesity and diseases that arise from it, had mental problems. The most common mental problems were mood disorders, anxiety disorders and binge eating disorders. So, for these reasons, it is key to determine and treat any mental problem before surgery to have better long-term results.
Many people who undergo bariatric surgery tend to have morbid or highly problematic obesity for their normal activities, their quality of life. And for the same reason, this condition is usually related to higher rates of mental problems, such as depression, anxiety or binge eating disorder.
Anxiety symptoms markedly decrease one year after surgery, but there is no relationship with changes in weight. So, anxiety doesn’t seem to be as influenced by weight loss as depression.
Bariatric Surgery and other weight loss surgeries significantly change your digestive system, helping you lose weight. These surgeries are recommended when diet and exercise have not worked, and the patient has serious health problems due to obesity.
Bariatric Surgery has a variety of options that includes Gastric Bypass, Gastrectomy, Gastric Sleeve, among others.
Am I a candidate for Bariatric Surgery?
Not all people are candidates for bariatric surgery, here are characteristics of candidates for whom surgery is recommended:
- The Body Mass Index (BMI) is above 40 (extreme obesity)
- BMI is between 35-39.9 (obese) and you have serious health problems e.g., type 2 diabetes, acute sleep apnea or high blood pressure.
- Keep in mind that losing weight and regaining it does not decrease the potential health problems associated with obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight for a minimum of five years to consider weight loss successful and can lead to a happier.
This way, the individual minimizes the risk of encountering problems such as the following when losing weight.
Benefits of Weight Loss through Bariatric Surgery include:
a) Improved Cardiovascular Health
Weight-loss surgery reduces a person’s risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral heart disease.
b) Relief from Depression
People suffering from depression can be due to poor self-image and/or social stigma. Even overweight young people find it difficult to participate in activities they would otherwise enjoy, leading to social isolation and depression. Losing excess weight will help you feel better and have a better quality of life.
c) Eliminate Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Getting to a normal weight and being able to maintain it allows people with sleep apnea to stop using a CPAP machine, a machine that uses air pressure, so the body airways are open while sleeping, at bedtime.
d) Joint Pain Relief
A significant and sustained weight loss that occurs after Bariatric Surgery alleviates pressure on the joints, so people stop using painkillers and enjoy being able to be more mobile.
f) Improve fertility
Losing weight helps improve your fertility during the childbearing years.
g) Alleviate other medical conditions
With the alarming rise in obesity and associated health complications, bariatric surgery is undoubtedly an effective tool to provide lasting help to overweight people.
For bariatric surgery it is essential to consult a specialist in bariatrics. The support of a professional in this area will be necessary and beneficial to have greater clarity and information about this type of surgery.
The Social Challenges
Before and after Bariatric Surgery, one of the challenges that people face is social interactions. It is very likely that the patient has been in the habit of having commitments or meetings in which food is the main guest for years. Before surgery, the patient must make peace with the fact that using food for comfort or entertainment, or engaging in muggings, will no longer be possible. On the other hand, bariatric surgery has an effect on interpersonal relationships. Some patients report losing some friends but gaining others, and some must learn to navigate the new level of attention they receive from the opposite sex and from people in general.
When a person begins to lose weight quickly, they naturally adopt a new way of thinking, as they experience firsthand what it means to feel better and healthier. Surgery provides a tool that strongly reinforces the positive lifestyle changes that a person must make.
After Bariatric Surgery, is it possible to gain weight?
Bariatric surgery techniques are an aid for the initial loss of excess weight, and losses of 30 to 60 kg are easily achieved. During this time, the patient must be educated on a new nutritional dynamic so that the effects are maintained over time. However, if the patient does not learn to eat and does commit to his or her treatment, it does not matter that the Bariatric Surgery procedures are intended to last for the rest of the patient’s life.
Ready to start your weight loss journey?
In our clinical experience, eating consciously, and being aware of what has been hidden in food for a long time is what helps patients to manage anxiety, cravings and even depression. Bariatric surgery is an effective option to treat obesity.
Our team of Specialists in the obesity field and all its disorders are here so you can live to the fullest!