The mental health evaluation is a means of identifying emotional and behavioral factors that could be contributing to unhealthy eating patterns. In many cases the mental health evaluation is also a requirement for insurance reimbursement. Due to the complex nature of some mental health problems, further testing may be recommended in addition to the clinical interview.
Some individuals find that this is an opportunity to participate in further therapeutic services that will assist them in making the behavioral changes necessary to be successful in losing weight following bariatric surgery. Post-operative follow-up visits may be required per psychologists' and physicians' recommendations. Research has shown high rates of depression and anxiety symptoms are prevalent with individuals who are obese. Therefore some individuals may be strongly recommended to participate in mental health counseling.
Listed below are some of the topics that will be covered in the clinical interview:
History of eating disorders, diet history, substance abuse, motivations and expectations for surgery, history of head injury, history of psychiatric symptoms, history of abuse, eating habits, family history of obesity, interpersonal relationships, level of social support, assertiveness, self-concept, exercise history, sense of control over body, sleep behavior, compliance with medical plan, mental status exam, BMI, support group attendance, coping skills, stress management, ability to be cooperative with postoperative behavioral changes.
Emotions play a large role in how you eat. You need to consider this carefully when deciding if bariatric surgery is right for you. The surgery will only change your internal organs and not your emotional reasons for eating. Your desire for food will still be affected by anger, guilt, loneliness, sadness, and stress. A history of abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, drug/ alcohol) places you at increased risk for overeating and weight gain. It is important to receive professional counseling about these issues. Your psychiatric counselor will work with you about the impact of the surgery on your emotional eating habits. It is very important to continue with all psychiatric care that you are receiving. Simply losing weight will not cure all of your emotional problems.
Body Self Image
Your body self-image is part of who you are and does not always change even as you lose the weight. Don't be surprised if you lose a significant amount of weight and still think of yourself as heavy. It often takes a long time and professional counseling to improve how you see yourself.
Weight loss will not cure all relationship problems. Do not expect all of your problems to resolve with weight loss. You will also find that both your friends and family may treat you differently as you lose weight. Your friends may be jealous of your weight loss. Again, it is important to seek professional counseling about these issues.
This surgery is a life changing event. Having a good support system in place prior to the surgery will make your recovery much easier. It is important to talk about your surgery and life changes with your family and friends so that they can help you on your journey. You may find that some people may question your decision for surgery. It is important that you make the decision that is right for you. You must take personal responsibility for your choice.