Depression after Gastric Bypass Surgery – it happens

TruthIf you have had or are thinking of getting Gastric Bypass Surgery make sure you know the signs of depression. Depression following Gastric Bypass is very common and I have already had a bout of it myself.

Just let me start by saying I am no doctor, but I do know a lot about depression and I have also done my research on the subject. I have suffered from depression most of my life and have been treated for it via medication for years along with seeing a psychologist from time to time. It is not a fun feeling at all. It truly sucks to be quite honest and you feel like crappola !!

I have been on 40 mg of Celexa for years now after trying many different medications to find what works for me. I also have anxiety as well. I know a true mess I am right? The medication does a great job of keeping me in check, but it is NOT a cure all either.

Here are some of the Symptoms of Depression:

Emotional Symptoms

  • constant sadness
  • irritability
  • hopelessness
  • feeling worthless or guilty for no reason
  • loss of interest in favorite activities

Physical Symptoms

  • trouble sleeping
  • low energy or fatigue
  • significant weight change
  • difficulty concentrating

Well I have had my depression under control for the most part, but after I had my Gastric Bypass Surgery I had those horrible feelings come back and hit me hard. It hit me about week 2 post op and lasted a couple weeks. I felt miserable and just laid around the house, in bed and had no energy or motivation to do anything. I was confused thinking why am I feeling this way, I should feel great I was losing weight and having no complications with the surgery or anything. No matter how hard I tried to shake it, it just would not let go.

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So I started doing some research online to see if this was something that occurred after Gastric Bypass Surgery. Well guess what? YES it is and it is not uncommon at all. Here are some of the things I had read:

Research has shown that low calorie diets may cause depression, and a low-calorie diet can increase the symptoms in already diagnosed depressive people (that’s me !!). The diet following gastric bypass surgery is so low in calories that depression often follows the procedure – but patients rarely recognize the cause. Depression can be caused by inadequate levels of mood stabilizing chemicals such as serotonin, nor-epinephrine, and dopamine. These brain chemicals can be altered by nutritional deficiencies and the physical stress of recovering from a major surgery.

Another reason is if you are a comfort eater like myself – well that goes out the window. Food can no longer comfort you like it did prior to the surgery. It is like you are breaking up with your best friend. Your vice is now gone. For me I had also given up smoking so now I had nothing to fall back on. I was losing my mind for a bit there – literally !!

When I had my first post op appointment with my surgeon I talked to him about it. He said Gastric Bypass causes so many changes in one’s life and it is hard to grasp it all at once. Everything changes – your self image, eating habits, relationships and even the way your body absorbs medication. Which was funny because I was feeling like I stopped taking my medication all together even though I did not.

Depression is serious and should not be overlooked – people even commit suicide from it. I am glad to say that I have never gotten that bad, but many do. Everyone should know the warning signs and not ignore it. Research also shows that people who suffer from depression after Gastric Bypass will replace one compulsive habit, such as overeating with another bad habit such as drinking or gambling. They call it “Addiction Transfer”. That can also be very scary and deadly depending on what habit one chooses. I also read that experts agree that gastric bypass does not cause addiction, rather if someone has an addiction prior to the surgery that it is likely they will have one after, although a different one. I read that and think to myself – Oh Great just what I need.

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If some people think that having Gastric Bypass is a Quick Fix – It is not at all. It is a rollercoaster of ups and downs and I just started the ride myself. I say to just be educated on every aspect going in and you should do just fine. Know what may occur and be prepared. Depression is so common and trust me is sucks big time !! If you feel you have symptoms of depression don’t wait – talk to your doctor there is help.

So how am I coping? Well I will tell ya that I am feeling much better. At about week 4ish post op I started feeling more like myself again almost overnite. BUT I do have a horrible confession to make and I am not happy about it at all. My family when they read this is gonna have my head on a chopping board, but I told myself when writing this blog that I was going to be honest about everything. So here it goes…. I have picked up cigarettes again.

I am so stupid and now I will have to quit all over again, but I fell into the “Addiction Transfer” as I spoke about above. I do not think that the cigarettes made the depression go away, but it definitely helped with some of my sanity. BUT by doing so I have put myself in risk for other issues such as ulcers if I continue. Smoking after Gastric Bypass is not a good thing to do at all and I know that. I started taking Omeprazole which is a generic Prilosec to help coat my stomach and help prevent any issues. Bottom line is that I have to quit yet again. I know it does not matter, but I am only have a few a day just to take the edge off. Yes I will stand up and say it “I am Nicole and I am an ASS”.

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I do know that the depression can come back at anytime and if it does I will see my doctor about changing my meds or even see a psychologist. At this time I feel it is under control, well besides my addiction transfer, but I will work on that too and keep you updated on my progress. I am not perfect by any means and this road is not easy, but I am on it and that is all that matters right? even if I hit some road blocks along the way.

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