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Depression - A Serious Risk After Gastric Bypass Surgery

May 21, 2008
Few people who suffer from depression after a gastric bypass operation blame the condition on the procedure itself, or the very low calorie diet that follows weight loss surgery. However, low calorie diets have been found to cause depression, and they can increase the symptoms in already diagnosed depressive people. The diet following gastric bypass surgery is so low in calories that depression often follows the procedure - but the operation itself is rarely recognized as the cause.

Some doctors argue that depression is all in a person's head. They aren't too far off, but depression is not a mental illness. It is caused by inadequate levels of mood stabilizing chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Many things can cause these chemicals to get out of balance, including weight loss and low calorie intake. Depression is one of the more serious gastric bypass complications.

Calories convert to fuel for the body. The body needs a certain number of calories to survive. When there isn't enough fuel to go around, the most important functions of the body get first shot at the available food. This can cause lower serotonin levels in people who do not eat enough.

The lower levels then will cause the gastric bypass complication of depression. According to the Thinner Times website, psychological challenges are the causes of 5-10% of deaths occurring two or more months after gastric bypass surgery.

Depression is a dangerous illness causing thousands of deaths each year. The gastric bypass diet needs to be closely monitored and adjusted in order to prevent depression. Many small healthy meals per day are needed to take in adequate amounts of calories. This will ensure a continuous supply of fuel for your body.

These meals need to be well balanced with a healthy amount of proteins, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Vitamins also should be taken daily to help supplement the food intake.

The loneliness a gastric bypass patient feels also contributes to depression. It is hard to go out to a restaurant and eat like friends do. Ordering and portion size must be taken into consideration. The joy of dining out with a date is also compromised. The need to explain actions causes embarrassment and feelings of inadequacy. Speaking to a date before eating at a restaurant will alleviate the fears of uncomfortable questions. The right person will understand and not judge the gastric bypass patient.

Symptoms of depression include sadness throughout most of the day and lack of interest in activities a patient once enjoyed. A depressed person may be tired and want to sleep all the time. They may be pessimistic and have a negative outlook on life. Severely depressive people will have thoughts of death or suicide.

When depression does occur, is is imperative to seek help immediately. There are medications available to help balance out the chemicals in the brain. Early intervention is important because after beginning a depression medication, sometimes up to 4 weeks can pass before a patient begins feel better.

If the first medication doesn't provide relief within a month, inform the prescribing doctor and don't despair. There are many medications to try. Each person is different and finding the correct medication sometimes takes a few tries.

People choosing gastric bypass surgery need to be aware of the serious side effects of depression. Depression is not something to downplay or ignore. It can be very serious and even fatal if not treated.

Patients should be informed of the ways to prevent depression form occurring, how to identify that they are having a problem, and the steps to take to alleviate symptoms.
About the Author
Depression is just one of the possible risks of weight loss surgery. In fact, any low calorie diet can cause this dangerous illness. To learn more about complications caused by diet and gastric bypass surgery, visit http://www.1gastricbypass.com
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