Obesity Surgery and Mental Health
There are some out there who believe that obesity is merely a matter of a lack of control which causes people to become fat. This is simply not the case, those of us in the mental health world have for a long time recognised that obesity is a multi faceted issue. Indeed, a recent study in the JAMA Psychiatry Journal has shown that those who have undertaken obesity surgery display mental health problems such as self harming after the surgery has taken place.
If obesity was a simple matter, then this would not make any sense as if the surgery was successful, then the problem was solved. However, as I previously stated, this is not the case. Obesity is not merely a matter of diet and exercise, but it is a matter of psychological well being.
This wellbeing can include things like self esteem and worth, relational issues, as well as unhelpful and unhealthy associations with food. These matters cannot be bullied away (as I have said many times on the subject of fat shaming) and they cannot be cut out with the surgeons knife. Rather these are issues that must be explored through a thoughtful process of psychotherapy in the hands of a skilled and qualified practitioner. We need joined up thinking when it comes to obesity and it is up to all of us in the mental health as well as those in the physical health field to make this happen.