Weight Loss Surgery - Psychiatric Evaluation?

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02-27-2013, 01:23 AM
Hey everyone! I'm proud to say I've been sticking to it through the six month supervised diet and while I'm not done with that yet, I've gotten far enough to schedule my appointment with the psychiatrist! As excited as I am, I'm also incredibly nervous, mostly because I feel like I'm walking in blindfolded, you know? I'm not worried about not qualifying or something like that, so it's pretty much just because I have absolutely no idea what it's going to be like. I know it's a requirement regardless of insurance where I'm getting my surgery done, so I was thinking maybe some of you have gone through this already and don't mind sharing?

Sorry if this has been touched on already, but I've been looking all over the internet trying to get the gist of it and everyone seems to skip over this part! I know it's going to be different for everyone depending on the psychiatrist, but like I said, I don't want to know anything personal, I just want to know the basics of what I should be expecting. :)

02-27-2013, 01:47 AM
While I haven't had surgery or even considered it, my mom has had lap band. She said her psych evaluation was just a lot of questions about why she was choosing surgery and why she wanted to lose weight (her health). I think it's just to determine if you are capable of evaluating the benefit/risk ratio with surgery, and that you are more concerned with the health benefits.

02-27-2013, 07:15 AM
As stated above, the psych appt is to see if you understand the decision you are making. Do you understand the ramifications of not getting follow-up care? Of the importance of vitamins? The continuing challenge of eating right and exercise? Do you have realistic expectations of what the surgery will do for you? Why did you gain weight in the first place? If it is a reaction to stress, for example, how will you respond to those triggers in the future?

Additionally, they are looking to see if there are underlying issues that will make maintenance challenging for you, such as undiagnosed eating disorders, alcohol/drug use, or depression.

My advice is to be honest and thoughtful with the questions he/she will ask. If the psychiatrist does uncover issues that could be potential stumbling blocks, addressing them prior to WLS will (hopefully) make for more success after.

02-27-2013, 11:49 AM
Jen said it all - this isn't something to be afraid of. they want to be sure that you're prepared for the inevitable shock when you can't eat your emotions, and that you're willing to work on your head while you're losing weight.

The head nurse at my facility described WLS as going to sleep in the US and waking up in Beirut. You don't know the language, or how to get around, or what to do, but you still have to survive.

And every surgeon I've ever heard of says that they're just surgeons and that they've operated on your digestive system, NOT your brain.

So, as Jen said, be honest, be thoughtful. you'll get through it with flying colors.

02-27-2013, 02:56 PM
Thanks so much ladies! Doesn't sound scary at all :)

Jiffypop, that is a great analogy! I don't think I'll ever get over how lucky I feel to have this forum, there's nowhere else I can think of where I can ask these kinds of questions and get supportive answers. <3

02-27-2013, 10:08 PM
we help each other - and pay it forward as we go. Just a word of - caution? warning? not quite sure what to call it ... the eating issues - the ones in our heads - they come out to play at the oddest times and for reasons that are often hard to figure out.

if that happens to you and you start having trouble dealing with it, don't hesitate to get some professional help. none of us got to the point where we qualified for surgery because we had a healthy relationship with food!

03-03-2013, 09:47 PM
I didn't have weight loss surgery, but I did have Around-The-World (body contouring) surgery. I had to go to a psych evaluation before the surgeon would do my surgery. I knew the psychiatrist on a business level and he explained to me that my visit was to make sure that I mentally understood the decision I was making and the potential feelings I might experience after my surgery due to the dramatic change in my appearance. He also offered me support after my surgery if the need shoukl arise. I learned from my experience that I had nothing to fear. I hope that your visit goes as well as mine did.

03-05-2013, 11:55 PM
I was pretty nervous about my psych eval, mainly because I've never really sat in an office with one. It felt intimidating in anticipation, but the process was actually very intriguing and I learned a good deal.
I spent a good 2hours ahead of the interview filling out questionnaires that's clued different levels of IQ evaluation, personal history, mental health and awareness. In total I estimated that I answered approximately 1,000 questions on those forms. It was actually quite exhausting. The interview followed and I was intrigued by how accurate it rated my needs and predicted some of the pitfalls that I was already aware were danger zones for me. It was a great confirmation of my needs and how to prepare going forward.

I hope that the process is as helpful and encouraging for you as it was for me!

03-06-2013, 12:08 AM
jiffypop - Absolutely! Even though we only went through a small bit of questions, it really got me thinking when they asked me about emotional eating. I normally say that's not really a problem for me as I tend to do the opposite and don't want to eat if I'm very upset, but I've realized that when I'm extremely stressed, I do turn to food! Glad I've recognized that.

firegirl441 - Thank you! I know now that it's nothing to fear, but boy did my initial visit make me feel anxious haha. I'm glad yours went well, here's to hoping my experience is similar!

MadCowOnTheMend - That's what made me feel so nervous, the fact that I've never seen a psychiatrist for anything before. We didn't go in depth, but intimidating is a great way to sum it up! I can only hope my next visit primarily involves surveys like that, I feel much more comfortable dealing with paper than a psychiatrist haha. I'm kind of looking forward to it though, if only to get it over with, because I know it will definitely be beneficial. Thank you so much for your thorough response :)

Just a little follow up, I went in and met with the psychiatrist and we spent no more than twenty minutes covering some basic questions, and then he had me schedule my in depth evaluation - I was under the impression that it would only be one appointment, so I've definitely been on pins and needles! Now my only worry is because of how nervous I felt, and that was only scratching the surface. We'll see how it goes on Thursday!

03-06-2013, 12:16 AM
Well mine was just a few weeks ago, so it is very fresh in my memory. I'm excited to have someone else close to the same step of the process! Hope we can encourage each other more as we go!

03-06-2013, 12:28 AM
Me too! Although I'm likely going to be a bit behind you as I've still got three monthly visits with the dietitian to go before I can submit to insurance, but boy does the time fly. If everything goes well I'll be getting surgery this summer though, so it should be close enough! :D

03-06-2013, 12:38 AM
Well, I'll jump first and let you learn from my mistakes. I'm sure ill have some to share!

03-06-2013, 12:46 AM
We all make mistakes, but I can't deny the luxury of learning from someone else's makes everything much easier to deal with haha. These next few months will fly by, but not soon enough!

03-07-2013, 06:09 PM
Update for anyone who's wondering, I went in today and had to answer just shy of a thousand questions on a computer survey, and then much to my surprise I was sent off to schedule another appointment in three weeks to review it with the psychiatrist! I thought it would be at the same appointment but nope. I'm annoyed cause I was really hoping to just get it over with, but I can't complain, at least it's happening :)

03-07-2013, 06:30 PM
Am I weird that I'm a bit jealous that you got to take a quiz to learn more about yourself? I wish I had been given that opportunity; I love stuff like that!


03-07-2013, 08:52 PM
No, it definitely got me thinking! I just wish I could have met with the psychiatrist right after to get it over with, but I guess it's better that he's got time to thoroughly go through the surveys before we talk about them.

03-15-2013, 04:13 AM
Hmmm. Do they go into just eating issues or other stuff?
Cause I went to one once because I suspected I might have PTSD due to a tragic accident I saw. All I wanted to know was if what I was feeling was normal for what had happened, and omg. He asked me really personal questions about sex and masterbation and I was CA-REEPED the F out! I never want to go to one again!

03-15-2013, 04:24 AM
I think for this, the main thing they're trying to look for is if you've got emotional blocks that are going to either prevent you from handling weight loss or prevent you from keeping it off. Why did you gain in the first place, what is your relationship with food, etc. I can't really say yet, though!

My first visit pretty much just covered the basics (name, weight, highest weight, how long have you been overweight, tell me about your family, what do you do for a living, etc), and the second was about 1,000 questions (either true/false or the agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree, etc kind) and my 'review' with the psychiatrist isn't until two weeks from now. So I'm not 100% on what happens, but I'm pretty sure it's not that kind of topic! I would have felt really uncomfortable too! Luckily this is my first encounter with a psychiatrist and so far so good.

Anyone else who's gone through it already?

03-15-2013, 10:51 AM
2Chi - they ask Qs to see if you know what you're getting yourself into, if you understand the changes that are coming - like not being able to eat your feelings - if you have an eating disorder, if you have support in your life, and so on.

sometimes things - serious things - DO come up. And depending on how they might affect your eating habits, they might need some attention. Gotta tell you though that many of us [most of us?] have ended up seeing a counselor at some point. it doesn't have to be a psychiatrist. Psychologists, social workers, pastoral counselors, and so on are all possibilities.

And, for the actual evaluation, the process might differ. Thinkfit had a gazillion Qs to answer - and other people just had a conversation.