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How to Reduce Anxiety before Bariatric Surgery

At Be Slim Bariatrics (BSB) we know that experiencing anxiety before bariatric surgery is perfectly normal, and to be expected. After all, this is not just a surgical procedure, it is a commitment to making long-term significant lifestyle changes. 

Anxiety related to weight loss surgery may start as soon as the process is started, and it usually surges on the day of the procedure. Anxiety is common, even in patients who know that bariatric surgery is a relatively safe and effective form of treatment for obesity

There are many different ways to manage pre-surgery anxiety and it’s important to be honest if you are struggling with any symptoms. You might also want to discuss pre-surgery anxiety medication options with your bariatric surgeon if you are feeling especially anxious. 

Common Symptoms of Anxiety before Bariatric Surgery

Understanding and being able to recognize surgery-related symptoms of anxiety and keeping a diary of your symptoms is one way to feel more in control.

Here are some of the most common signs of pre-surgery anxiety: 

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Heart palpitations and a tight feeling in your chest
  • Feelings of nausea and vomiting 
  • Feeling faint and shortness of breath
  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep 

Reduce Anxiety before Bariatric Surgery

Anxiety is a natural response to any major medical procedure. Remember, you’re making an important decision that will ultimately improve your health and quality of life and it’s okay to feel nervous or scared. 

Incorporating proven anxiety-management techniques into your daily life may help you to reduce pre-surgery anxiety and ease any symptoms you may be experiencing.

  1. Be preparedFamiliarizing yourself with the process can help alleviate some of the unknowns that may be causing your anxiety, allowing you to feel more in control of your situation. Never feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask questions. You should feel informed throughout the process and your surgery provider should be willing to answer all of your questions.Write down any questions or concerns you may have and speak with your bariatric surgery provider. Knowing exactly what is involved on the day of surgery and during your recovery period can make it easier to feel more positive as you approach your surgery date.
  2. Relaxation techniquesThere are a variety of relaxation techniques that are proven to help reduce anxiety. Taking the time to relax and de-stress before your surgery can not only help you feel calmer on the day of the procedure, but it can also improve your overall mental health during the recovery period. So, take time to try relaxation techniques to find ones that work for you.Here are a few techniques that might help:

    – Deep breathing is a simple yet effective method that can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.
    – Meditation is another helpful tool that can help calm your nerves.
    – Guided imagery exercises can also be helpful, as they allow you to visualize positive outcomes and help ease any pre-surgery anxiety you may be experiencing.
  3. Support groups
    Ask your provider if they have an online support group you can join. Discussing your fears, feelings, and concerns with past patients about their experiences and sharing your worries with other patients who are also preparing for weight loss surgery can provide you with the emotional support you need. At BSB we offer a private facebook support group which is very active, where you can connect with other patients and share experiences.
  4. Integrative MedicineResearch has shown that integrative medicine like massage and acupuncture can effectively help people with anxiety. It’s a good idea to talk to your patient coordinator or bariatric surgeon before trying integrative medicine.
  5. Professional counselingIt’s perfectly normal to feel nervous about such a significant procedure, and seeking professional help can make a world of difference. A trained therapist or counselor can help you work through your fears and develop coping strategies to manage anxiety, allowing you to approach surgery with a greater sense of confidence and optimism. 

Pre-Surgery Anxiety and Smoking

Your bariatric surgeon will ask you to give up nicotine products (including both smoking and vaping) at least four weeks before your surgery date. This is due to the increased risk of surgical and post-surgical complications associated with nicotine use

There are various support options, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which may make giving up nicotine a little easier. For additional support with quitting, which may be especially difficult due to pre-surgery anxiety, we recommend speaking with a  healthcare provider.

Pre-Surgery Anxiety Medication

Pre-surgery anxiety medicine may be prescribed the night before your procedure, and a second dose is occasionally needed before the actual operation. Alternatively, the first dose can be administered on the day of operation. Speak to your bariatric surgery provider if you would like to discuss medication for anxiety.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that feeling nervous about weight loss surgery is normal. You should talk to your bariatric surgeon or patient coordinator if you are feeling anxious, as there are steps they can take to put your mind at ease.

Are you ready to reclaim your health and happiness? Be Slim Bariatrics professional team of board-certified surgeons specializes in weight loss surgeries, operating in the most advanced and modern hospitals in Tijuana, Mexico, that meet or surpass U.S. standards of care. We can also assist you by arranging financing options.

We hope to help you take the critical first step right now.


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