Bariatric Surgery FAQ

Depression After Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

Depression After Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery - Bariatric Fusion

Mood and mental health changes, including depression, typically decrease significantly as a result of bariatric surgery.

However, research reveals the possibility of mental health concerns increasing after surgery. Post-bariatric depression is very real and can be seen in one in five patients associated with weight regain, eating disorders, and quality of life. (1)

In this article, we discuss the seriousness of this mental health condition that can follow bariatric surgery and what can be done to help those who are affected by it.

What Causes Depression After Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery?

Depression can be a gastric bypass complication, as well as a complication of all metabolic and bariatric procedures.

We talk about the most common reasons that individuals find themselves battling mental health conditions after bariatric surgery below.

Food Can't Be Used as a Coping Mechanism

Many people who are struggling with obesity use food as a coping mechanism, which is a reason why weight loss may be difficult in the first place.

Those who use food as a coping mechanism feel that food is not just nutrition, it is happiness when you are sad, excitement at holiday events, and a reason to go out with friends.

When you go through weight loss surgery, it is advised to not use food as encouragement or as a comfort measure.

There has also been a correlation between post-bariatric depression arising due to eating disorders that can occur. (1)

Life Isn't Automatically Easy After Surgery

Unfortunately, a lot of people who have metabolic and bariatric surgery expect life to automatically be easier when they wake up after the surgery, and this is not the case.

Post-op, you still have to adapt to healthy eating and exercise in order to see long-term weight loss results.

depression after gastric bypass

Surgery doesn't automatically make your relationship with food better, it doesn't automatically make you thinner and it doesn’t always make life easier.

Yes, it is a great tool for tackling obesity-related health conditions and quality of life. It also can help the weight come off a bit quicker than it would have before surgery, but you still have to work at it. You will also go through a recovery period as your body heals in order to get used to the way your new stomach works.

The Results of Extreme Weight Loss

The most significant weight loss is typically seen within the first year after weight loss surgery. But what follows after that?

Weight plateaus are a normal occurrence for the body to protect your organs and slow down weight loss. However, the result of weight plateaus and the loose skin that follows extreme weight loss has been shown to result in higher risk of body dissatisfaction. (1)

You Might Have to Miss out on Social Events

After having bariatric surgery, it is nearly impossible to eat as much food as you did before. The stomach has been adjusted to no longer be able to hold the same capacity of food.

Your alcohol consumption will also be altered because of the way your body will now metabolize alcohol. It is absorbed into your bloodstream quicker and can have affects on the body even after a few sips.

It also isn't recommended to eat and drink at the same time. The guideline is to only drink 30 minutes before or after any meal.

This means that you are very limited in how much you can eat and drink. So, social events will look a little different for you after surgery, but nothing a little adaptation can't fix!

Dietary Changes

Mental health challenges can also be brought on due to diet and hormone changes after bariatric surgery.

depression after gastric sleeve surgery

Your diet can directly affect changes in serotonin levels in the body, which in turn, alters neurotransmitter activity that can cause mental health concerns and anxious moods.

Vitamin deficiencies are another factor that can reflect as symptoms of fatigue and mental health concerns.

To support nutrition and overall health, it is important to follow supplement guidelines after surgery. For example, there are chewable multivitamins formulated for metabolic and bariatric patients.*

Why Is Post-Bariatric Surgery Depression So Serious?

You may have heard of kidney stones after bariatric surgery or dehydration after bariatric surgery, but depression after surgery can be just as concerning.

Mental health illnesses can affect relationships, work ethic, weight management, and sleep.

Depression can also increase your risk for medical complications such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and substance abuse. (2)

Taking care of yourself after bariatric surgery is critical. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, talk with someone. That can be a professional, friend or family member.

How Can You Help Someone With Post-Bariatric Surgery Depression?

The period of 12 months after the operation is when most mental health concerns are prevalent amongst patients. (1)

During this time particularly, seeing a psychologist can be helpful for processing emotions related (or unrelated) to the surgery.

Another thing that would be helpful is joining a support group of people who have been through the surgery themselves. This can help with feelings of isolation and can give patients hope that things will get better.

Staying active during this time is also very important. This can mean exercise, or even just getting out of the house for a fun adventure. Endorphins from exercise can help balance any lack of serotonin. Keeping your mind active with activities will distract from any unwanted thoughts.

Alternatively, seeing a doctor and getting medical help where necessary can help alleviate symptoms.

Symptoms Of Depression

The most common symptoms include headache, difficulty sleeping, change in appetite, restlessness, agitation, trouble concentrating, feelings of helplessness and guilt, as well as sadness, aches and chest pains.

Although fatigue after gastric bypass surgery can be common, it is always important to outweigh other factors you might be feeling and discuss with your healthcare provider.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek help. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend or family member, try seeking the help of a professional.


Depression is a very serious medical condition that is often brushed off as being “it's all in your head."

However, this condition can be agonizing and debilitating for the person who is experiencing it.

It is so important that you don't take things lightly and if you see someone you know struggling after their surgery, try your best to get them the help they need. If you yourself are experiencing symptoms of depression, don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you.

Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking:


1. Cureus. 2022; 14(6):e25651 [PMID: 35784972]

2. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). 2021

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your bariatric surgeon or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.

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