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Morbid obesity

Morbid obesity: significance of psychological treatment after bariatric surgery.

Kinzl JF.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital, Medical University Innsbruck,  Austria. [email protected]


Conservative interventions for weight reduction are not very effective in many cases of morbid obesity. For this reason, bariatric surgery plays an increasing role in the treatment of these patients. Bariatric surgery, however, is not the solution but an important precondition for successful management of morbid obesity. Psychological evaluation of the weight loss surgery patients is recommended because of the prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities and of eating disorders in individuals with morbid obesity. Morbid obese eating disordered patients with co-morbid psychiatric disorders, especially with personality disorders, show greater difficulties in adapting to the new demands, including the need to cope with stress and other problems in a new way, to relearn how to eat, distress over weight loss plateaus, failure to achieve a normal-looking body etc. Therefore, psychological and/or psychiatric treatment seem to be needed in some obese patients to gain an early postoperative understanding of possible psychological or eating problems. Various kinds of psychological support are available at Innsbruck Medical University Hospital before and after bariatric surgery, such as pharmacotherapy, individual psychotherapy, small-group psychotherapy, and the “Obesity Club”. The reasons for the relatively low degree of willingness to take part in psychological treatment programs are demonstrated.

PMID: 20513999

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]