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Revista de Psiquiatria do Rio Grande do Sul

Print version ISSN 0101-8108


LEAL, Cristiano Waihrich  and  BALDIN, Nelma. The emotional impact of bariatric surgery in patients with morbid obesity. Rev. psiquiatr. Rio Gd. Sul [online]. 2007, vol.29, n.3, pp.324-327. ISSN 0101-8108.

Bariatric surgery has been used for health recovery and weight loss. In many cases, however, abrupt weight loss produces psychiatric symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, use of drugs, behavioral changes and suicidal ideation, among other situations, all related to the emotional changes faced by the patient in his new physical and chemical state. This study aimed at analyzing hopes, fantasies, results, difficulties, and frustrations present after a surgical procedure. This case report resulted from the data collected from six patients being followed at a public hospital in Santa Catarina, Brazil, who developed symptoms of psychic suffering after the bariatric surgery. Each patient participated in two sessions of semi-structured interviews. This research was approved by the ethics committee of Universidade de Joinville. Results show that psychological changes resulting from the bariatric surgery were remarkable. In some cases, patients expressed expectations beyond weight loss, such as resolution of marital and interpersonal conflicts, as well as changes in stable personality traits. Use of substances (alcohol and tobacco) associated with risk behavior (extra-marital relationships and dangerous driving) was also detected. The problem of obesity was evidenced as part of a complex situation that involves both physical and mental status, and its solution sometimes exposes the patient's difficulties and psychological limitations.

Keywords : Morbid obesity; bariatric surgery; psychological adaptation.

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