Pre-Op Psychological Testing – Do You Think I’m Crazy?

August 20, 2018

Many of our patients are confused when they find out that preoperative psychological testing and evaluation is a required part of our bariatric surgery program. You may be one of them. So, in this blog post, we want to explore why these preoperative tests are necessary and why you shouldn’t think that we think you’re crazy.

A preoperative psych evaluation is not only a required part of the bariatric surgery program here at Advanced Surgical Associates, but it is also a required prerequisite of insurance coverage for weight loss surgery. This is for good reason and a very simple reason – weight loss surgery will change your life in many ways that you may or may not expect. Let’s explore

  1. We have the weight loss itself. Of course, dramatic weight loss after years of suffering from obesity will be amazingly exciting. However, that obesity may have caused serious detrimental psychological effects over the years. Obese patients tend to limit their activities both physical and social and this can cause deep rooted problems that should be addressed by a qualified mental health professional.
  2. Some obese patients also suffer from food addiction – and addiction is not an easy disease to overcome. Some patients will substitute their food addiction with another. This is a real and under-appreciated concern in the bariatric community. While it is hard to determine whether a person has an addictive personality from just one psychological testing session, qualified professionals are at least able to offer insight and advice so that patients know what to expect.
  3. Weight loss surgery will also change your relationships significantly. This can occur with your spouse or significant other or even family members that may or may not be supportive of your choice to undergo surgery. In many cases, these loved ones are scared – worried that with your new life, they will be left behind. During your psychological evaluation, the therapist may discuss these potential issues. This may also be the time to strategize on how to approach those around you that may not be willing to contribute to your continued success.

While psychological evaluations occur before surgery therapy does not have to end there. Incorporating therapy into your postoperative lifestyle often yields amazing results. Addressing deep-rooted personal issues as well as getting help managing the new and different world after weight loss surgery can avoid many of the common pitfalls in the post-op patient experience.

It is important to understand that Weight loss surgery and postop lifestyle is as much a psychological endeavor as it is physical. While we see the scale and we get test results that show tangible progress, we often do not address our mental health. Giving our mind the attention it deserves is a wonderful way to enhance the many benefits of weight loss surgery.

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Advanced Surgical Associates is one of the first exclusively surgical groups practicing in Union County New Jersey. And that is just the first of many firsts for ASA. For over 40 years, we have pioneered breakthrough surgical patient care in North Jersey in both general and weight loss surgery. ASA also offers gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric banding to those suffering from obesity in New Jersey.
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