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Luke76

Anxiety/depression

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Hi I am considering getting conversion surgery from band to bypass. I have done a lot of research and one thing which concerns me is a lot of reports of psychological problems post bypass surgery. I was diagnosed with OCD in my early 20s and have suffered severely with the disorder. I have been a lot better for a few years and I wouldn't want to relapse. Has anyone had any experience with these issues post op? 

Thanks 

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Hi @Luke76

Lots of people with bariatric surgery have OCD. this study ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20872090  ) actually found that 28% of persons undergoing surgery have OCD. Lots of people have anxiety and depression too. 

I am of the opinion that the psychological problems most people have AFTER surgery existed BEFORE surgery too. that's why no reasonable program will approve you for surgery unless a psychologist or psychiatrist signs off on your circumstances. You don't need to be fully sane or perfectly in balance, but you need to be reasonably in tune and have a therapist or psychologist or psychiatrist as is appropriate. My issues have been the anxiety and depression ones, so will let others speak to the OCD issue.... 

This generic concern about mental health may be similar to the reports of marriages breaking down after surgery. My view, shared by a number of others here, is that those were marriages that were already in trouble. Once a person steps up to help themselves and take control over their health, the same issues of self-help, being healthy, taking control may be a threat to the spouse or partner., who may be used to having a weak or dependent partner, not an equal partner.  

 

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Hi Burgundyboy 

I was all set to get booked in for surgery but I came across people who had issues post surgery. A number of reports were individuals having panic attacks/anxiety and depression which were not there before surgery. 

 I wouldn't want to take the risk having lived with a severe anxiety disorder for many years. I am currently in a better place with my anxiety/ocd and I wouldn't want to jeopardise that. OCD has become a throw away comment these days. Everyone thinks they have OCD tendencies if they are organised, clean or other normal personally quirks. The reality of OCD is very different including horrible intrusive thoughts and neutralising compulsions. I was hospitalised twice in my 20's because of OCD, I can't risk my anxiety levels being increased which causes OCD to become really bad. I'm really disappointed that I can't risk having the surgery but I better be safe than sorry. Thanks for your reply 

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I searched the forums to see if anyone has posted about OCD and WLS. I didn't see anything along the lines of what it sounds like you are hoping to find here. What does your dr say about your concerns?

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I haven't had contact with the doctor yet just the representative from his hospital in Belgium. I live in the UK and was going to go there for conversion from the band to a mini gastric bypass. I have searched a few forums and found post op patients who have suffered with anxiety after surgery. The anxiety was not just around the surgery date it carried on for years in some cases. OCD is an anxiety disorder and any bouts of anxiety could give me a major relapse. 

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It sounds like a mental health professional would be the best one to guide you through this. I understand your fears. I have a more mild form of OCD but, I do have several others in my family with the more severe form. They have mostly managed to keep it under control with meds and therapy but, none have had WLS.

Good luck to you!

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@Luke76 I do not have OCD but I do have mental health issues. I am bipolar and suffer from anxiety and depression. I’ve been well controlled with medication for about ten years. 

I had gastric bypass in April of last year. Like a few others bipolar folks on this forum, I felt irritable and anxious after my surgery. I consulted my surgical team, my psychopharmacologist and the good people here at TTF. I had my med routine adjusted and increased one of my drugs (lamictal). 

I think you are smart to have thought about the impact WLS will have on your mental health. Frankly, it never dawned on me to think about my mental health concerns. Had I thought about my psychological needs, I would have saved myself some trouble and asked for a med adjustment much sooner. I do not regret my surgery for one minute. My mental health has actually improved because I feel much better about myself. 

I hope this helps you a bit. All my best to you. 

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Hi thanks for your reply.

I was all ready to go ahead with a mini gastric bypass but reading some reports of people experiencing really bad anxiety post surgery has made me reconsider. I read a post from a women who hadn't had any previous problems having extreme anxiety and panic attacks after surgery. It has really freaked me out. 

Thanks 

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@Luke76 One last thought. Don’t let the negative voices scare you from taking care of your health. There are many of us on the Forum who have had positive experiences and deal with mental illness. That doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with mental health but I for one can’t blame that on my WLS. 

Ultimately, you are the one who knows your health best. If you feel that you are not prepared for further WLS, then listen to yourself. However, don’t be scared by people who have negative experiences. 

@Chefman77 @Nana Trish Care to weigh in?

Edited by NerdyToothpick
Typo

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I agree with Nerdy. Obesity carries many health risks so it may well be worth speaking to a mental health professional before making up your mind. I read many, many horror stories online before my surgery that could have easily sent me running the other way. I just had to remind myself that the risks with this surgery are extremely low. The risks that I was taking by being Super Morbidly Obese far outweighed the minimal risks of surgery.

I followed through with surgery and am so very glad that I did. You are the only one that can make the right decision for you.

 

Good luck in whatever you decide.

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8 hours ago, Luke76 said:

Hi thanks for your reply.

I was all ready to go ahead with a mini gastric bypass but reading some reports of people experiencing really bad anxiety post surgery has made me reconsider. I read a post from a women who hadn't had any previous problems having extreme anxiety and panic attacks after surgery. It has really freaked me out. 

Thanks 

Ah ha. You have clearly suffered and your mental health issues have been significant. Sympathy and empathy.

But you are letting an internet post sway you because it has (emotionally) swayed you. What if the chance of this was one in a million and your chances of vastly improved physical health were 98%? Rationally you would weigh the two and most likely choose the 98% success rate. What if the person posting this is falsely ascribing her panic attacks and anxiety to the surgery when they would have occurred anyhow?

Could be True, True, but likely unrelated. You need to use your thinking head here. Surgery changes your gut plumbing. Your body contour improves and societal acceptance increases. Most people have less depression and anxiety after surgery because this positively addresses many issues. Changes in gut plumbing do not cause anxiety. 

If 10,000 people undergo weight loss surgery, and 3 develop a bad mental health issue, they may blame it on the surgery because of timing. This may be a false association. The truth may well include the fact that in 10,000 people who did not undergo surgery 3 also develop a bad mental health problem.  In both people with, and without, surgery some people will develop a mental health issue. So it is true some had surgery; it is true they develop the issue; but they are unrelated. They could have developed the issue if they had not had the surgery. 

I'd talk to your mental health professional. I would not let one story or anecdote from the internet sway me. How do you really know her surgery caused her mental health issues? Where do the odds lie?  

Good luck. I am so very very happy I had my surgery, my family is delighted I did, and their approval and love and delight helps me when the slings and arrows of daily life get me down. 

 

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Hi @Luke76. I suffer from bipolar and anxiety and I had gastric bypass a little over a year ago. I was concerned as to whether or not my medications would continue to work for me post-op as good as they had for years prior. I take the same meds and the same doses that I did before surgery and I haven't had any problems. If anything, the weight loss has improved my mental health. For my two cents, if you have a good relationship with your doctor and are open and honest with how you're doing and what your needs are, you can work through any adjustments that may or may not be necessary post op. I wouldn't be surprised if your dosage stayed the same or even decreased after significant weight loss. One thing I was concerned about was absorption. I crush every pill that can be crushed to alleviate the absorption problem. The only pill I take that can't be crushed is my bupropion and I haven't had any issues with it.  I wish you the best as you move forward in this. Let me know if you have any questions. 

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Thanks for all your replies. I am still considering getting surgery but this has really put doubt in my mind. It is good to hear that someone with similar issues has been successful while on medication. In a way I wish I never came across the posts about post op anxiety. There were a lot of posts not just one, if it had just been one post I it wouldn't have worried me as much. Thanks again and any more expensive experiences from metal health sufferes would be great thanks. 

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I think @delilas might have some helpful insights regarding meds. 

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A couple things: 

First and foremost, don't let one person's experience scare you away from this. I heard plenty of horror stories about post-op complications, both physical and mental, but the reality is, the majority of patients don't have them. If you search long enough, you can find people who have experienced every terrifying side effect from these surgeries. That's the danger of the internet. Your physician shouldn't let you move forward if he feels you'll have them. Naturally, however, there is no way to predict this ahead of time.  

Are you on medications for your OCD, or seeing/doing therapy regularly? I've had some patients with OCD benefit from CBT/Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but naturally it does best with a practitioner. Most medications for it are of the SSRI variety, and on the upside, the vast majority of them are metabolized by the liver, which means surgery won't affect your medications. Ditto for the most common anxiety medications as well. 

 

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