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Psychological Evaluations

Patients are often perplexed and surprised to find out that a psychological evaluation is not only recommended, but also required prior to having weight loss surgery. This evaluation is actually a very important part of your process for a number of reasons. First, and most importantly, the evaluation is to determine if the patient has any psychological conditions, including eating disorders and addictions, that have not been appropriately treated, or that may interfere with a patient’s ability to understand, follow, and/or be successful with his/her post-operative protocol. For example, it is equally important to treat depression, as it would be to regulate one’s blood pressure prior to undergoing life-changing surgery. Secondly, because this is an elective life-changing surgery, it is very important to make sure that you, the patient, understand the decision that you are making, that it is an educated decision, and that you have an appropriate level of understanding about how this surgery is going to affect you and your life. Additionally, the patient’s expectations regarding the surgery, amount of weight loss, and affect on their health and quality of life also needs to be assessed. Having unrealistic expectations may lead to disappointment, frustration, and a sense of failure in the long-run. All of these may lead to self-sabotaging behaviors.

Although these are the some of the most important factors to be assessed in a psychological evaluation, there are many other things that you may learn more about based on your individual needs. For example, the evaluation process may help you to more clearly identify eating triggers, emotional eating habits, and lifestyle changes that once identified, can more easily be addressed and changed. These are very common problems and not ones that would interfere with your ability to pursue weight loss surgery. By discussing these problems, though, you may be taking the first step in learning about how to change behaviors in order to be more successful post-operatively.

Weight loss surgery is not the latest fad diet that someone decides to partake in because his or her co-worker had it and it seems to have worked for him/her.

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