Bariatrics is not just -snip, tuck and fix your tummy so you can magically lose all the extra weight! It’s more of a multi-disciplinary approach (consisting of bariatric surgeons, doctors, nutritionists, and therapists) to diagnose and manage obesity and related health issues. An important part is the Pre- Bariatric Psychological Evaluation.
What Is Bariatric Psychology Evaluation?
It’s a series of tests that help doctors determine whether you’re mentally capable (your motivations and strengths) of making the decision to have weight loss surgery.
It can be done by a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or mental health professional.
It is not a “pass/fail” type of test!
The purpose of this evaluation is
- To know about your history with food, exercise, and eating disorders.
- To know if there have been any significant changes in your life over the past few months—such as significant stressors or changes—that could be causing you distress.
- You may be asked whether you feel depressed sometimes, anxious often, angry often, or irritable all the time.
- Additionally, there are specific questions about binge eating disorders and other forms of disordered eating behavior.
What is the Doctor looking for?
- To evaluate your current mental state, eating habits, exercise habits, lifestyle habits, and any other factors related to your health including a family history of obesity or diabetes.
- The doctor will also want to know if there is any history of mental illness in the family.
- The doctor will ask you about your desire for weight loss, including your motivations.
- To determine if you are mentally ready for the surgery and able to make the changes that are needed to lose weight.
- They will also ask about your ability to stick with a diet and exercise plan, as well as how much support you have from family, friends, and co-workers.
How do I prepare for it?
Just be honest and open with your answers.
Answer all questions honestly, even if you think they’re silly or embarrassing. Your doctor will want to know the whole story, so be prepared to discuss anything that might be relevant.
- If there are any mental health problems in your family history, talk about them with your doctor.
- Your doctor may want you to take a psychological test before proceeding with surgery so that he or she can get a better idea of how healthy you are as an individual who is facing bariatric surgery.
- Be prepared for questions about your family and relationships: Many people have a history of parental abuse, low self-esteem, or depression due to childhood trauma — it’s essential you talk about these things before surgery because there could be an underlying issue causing this behavior that needs addressing first before moving forward with any kind of procedure done on yourself physically.
How long does a Bariatric Psychology Evaluation take?
The length of the evaluation depends on the complexity of your case. It will take 1-2 hours to complete.
The psychologist will ask you a series of questions and will also ask you to complete a series of questionnaires to help them determine if they can help you with your weight loss needs.
What are the different sections/parts of the exam?
There might be different things the Doctor will ask you. Here’s a step-by-step guide for you:
- The Medical/Family Health History
- Your eating patterns and weight history
- Substance Abuse History (Alcohol/Drugs)
- Mental Health History/Behavioral assessment
- Previous attempts and dietary/exercise history
- Your Motivations & Expectations
- Your Social Support Network
Your psychology evaluation is not just to make sure you’re mentally fit but also to make sure you’re fully aware and prepared for the surgery itself.
Can I Fail a Psychological Evaluation?
No, you cannot. Don’t worry!
There might be certain red flags like:
- Severe Anxiety/ Depression/ A history of self-harming behaviors/ suicide attempts or hospitalization due to mental disorders (in the past year)
- Active alcohol or substance abuse issues
- Uncontrolled medical conditions (like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.)
In case there are concerns, your doctor might suggest addressing them first before recommending bariatric surgery.
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Learn More about Bariatric Surgery
To learn more about bariatric surgery and the many benefits it may have for you, contact Doral Health & Wellness online or call our offices at 347-868-1060.