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Mental Health & Obesity 2014: Mental Health Issues Surrounding Weight Regain after Bariatric Surgery

Jason Jones, B.Sc.(hons), MC, Registered Psychologist, Alberta Health Services

The goal of bariatric surgery is to reduce weight, and to address obesity related comorbidities. While the majority of patients will achieve significant weight loss as well as improved quality of life, a significant minority see adverse outcomes in psychosocial function, experience suboptimal weight loss, or experience weight regain postoperatively. The purpose of this article is to review the common psychiatric disorders found in bariatric surgical candidates, as well as their impact on bariatric surgical outcomes and weight recidivism. While psychological and behavioral interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing weight recidivism, there is currently no standardized approach to mental health follow up post-operatively. Long term mental health follow-up is recommended as a component of accredited bariatric surgery programs, but unfortunately is not provided in a majority of programs. Further study of the role of mental health disorders in weight regain post bariatric surgery is required to aid in patient selection and guide post operative mental health supports.