Weight Loss Surgery and Suicide

Did you know that there is a higher suicide rate about 2-3 years after weight loss surgery? I saw a news story on it recently and really liked what it had to say.

Unfortunately, too many people think that bariatric surgery is going to solve all their problems. If I were only skinny, we think, my entire life would be different.

But what really happens is you discover that the fat wasn’t the problem, it was just taking the focus off what was really wrong. And once the fat is gone, your real problems are no longer masked – they’re out in the open and you have to deal with them. If you’ve always thought skinniness was the cure-all, it can be quite a slap in the face when you get there and find out your problems followed you.

You’re still you, even after gastric bypass surgery.

Be Sociable, Share!

28 Responses to Weight Loss Surgery and Suicide

  1. I just had my surgery 3 days ago Monday I am 411 lbs. Everything I read on here is scaring me to death. I got home today and since yesterday vie been having black runny stools.the doctor said it’s normal for a few days after surgery as blood is in the intestines from surgery and your getting it all our. Anybody else have these problems

  2. I’m so glad I came across this blog. I knew I did not want to have the surgery, and now I’m convinced it was the right decision. Instead, I’ve decided to use the Roca Labs formula to lose weight. My co-worker started taking it in December and is now down about 35 pounds, and she said she had over 100 pounds to lose, like me. We were talking about Gastric Bypass surgery, but are afraid to try it. So glad I read this post. I’ll be forwarding the link to her. God bless you, and all the commenters, too.

  3. Weight loss surgery came as a result of people not controlling themselves, allowing food to take over their lives and solving their emotional problems. There is no magic trick that happens overnight, transforming you into the perfect you, it’s the hard journey where you need to be confident and have faith…yes, there are people trying to tale money from us, yes there is immorality, but our fault is from the start when we solve our problems by eating more and more.

    I ask myself why people are not mad at junk food producers, because they are the ones who are putting forbidden temptations on the market…you can choose to have your own garden, veggies etc, but who has time for that. But, even so, you can choose to eat less and not need weight loss surgery…

  4. I had gastric bypass surgery on December 23rd, 2010 and yes, I had some problems my first week home from surgery and have had an issue with nausea since surgery, but luckily I have an outstanding medical team, Geisinger Health System Center for Nutrition and Weight Management Team, that are with you from your very first consultation appointment, through your six month program of classes, teach you how to eat, weight loss, support groups, evaluations, through your surgery, and not just through your first couple appointments afterward. They follow you for the rest of your life. They make sure you know when to start what stage of food and how much protein and liquid you should be taking in on a daily basis. They let you know when to start your Flinstones multivitamin with iron (that you will need to take for the rest of your life). They tell you when to start your Calcium Citrate + Vitamin D (also to be taken lifelong). They also make sure you know to either get your B12 shots with them every 3 months or through your primary care doctor but either way, they too must be done for the rest of your life. Geisinger Bariatric & GI/Nutrition are AWESOME!!!

    Even though I had and still have problems due to having the surgery, I do not regret my decision for one instant. I am only 5′ 2″ and just since my surgery, so far I have lost 35.8 pounds.

    For everyone who has had surgery and who is going through problems, give them up to the Lord and pray for Him to get you through them.

    For those who are tossing around the idea of whether or not to have surgery, every person is different and please DO YOUR RESEARCH. Research your hospital, your doctor, as well do research to see what kind of success stories and not-so-good stories are out there.

    Good luck to each and every one of you either pre- or post-op and my prayers are with every one of you that need them.


  5. Chris McGinnis

    I did go through classes before I had the surgery, like 2 or 3 times I do believe. But it was kind of misleading if you ask me :\

    The first day I had class they were telling me the wrong operation I was going to have so the first day was a complete mess up. They speak in lingo/terms that I can’t understand because im not in the medical field. The support group session was nice though cause I could talk freely among others with the same operation done to them.

    My question is why did it matter if I went through classes or not?

  6. So my question to Chris is: Did you have to go through classes and meet with a dietician before you had surgery??

  7. Chris McGinnis

    Thanks for the comments guys and I recieved a few emails as well :) I will look around for some other shakes that I can tolerate.. I was suggested herbalife which I will be looking into ASAP!

    @Mike P. You are correct at 406lb’s I was not eating like a normal person… but getting full off one piece of toast isn’t normal either!(I hope it does get better!) Actually I should re-word that becuase I dont really get “full” I actually never feel “full” which I think is a huge problem and my main problem…

    My mother has had this operation done too, and she does go out to eat with her friends but she says she throws it up but doesn’t care. She seems to take this surgery a lot better than I can.. This drives me crazy knowing that everytime I wanna go out to have some fun that involves food that I wont be able to participate with the group or if I do I will eventually have to throw up within that hour. It makes me so embarrased knowing that I have to throw up my food at a resteraunt while eating with others. Things going through my head “like hey when is that kid going to throw up”… “its coming soon for sure”. Im a shy type of person which does not help! haha

    Another friend of mine, his dad had this surgery as well and he absolutely hates it and he cant keep foods down either. He is now depressed and actually didn’t even lose much weight from surgey. He lost weight but hes not where he wants to be… Overall I see this surgery giving many people complications after reading online… I seriously think this is a problem and something needs to be done about it? If I would of known that having this surgery would cause these other problems I would of stayed fat and not cared what others thought about me. I could of still went out and enjoyed life and still had some more fun while I could… hah

    Sorry If I’m sounding so negative about this situation but its just these are my honest feelings about this surgery and its something a 18year old should of not gotten. During these years us kids go out and like to have fun and food is always involved! OH FYI if anyone wanted to know I can’t drink alchohol either as it makes me sick and throw up after like two drinks?… what a surprise lol

    I just think people who haven’t gotten this surgery but are thinking about getting it really should think this through. If you are young like me, do not take this cheating route. Lose the weight legit and do it strong, you will do a lot better! It sounds easier than done I know that but after having this surgery I think I could do it now..

    OTHER THOUGHTS: Well people treat me a lot differently though? I actually am noticing that woman are starting to notice me and give me eye contact? That is one plus I must give to this surgery lol. But at the same time I find this sick that the same people viewed me differently when I was bigger than now being skinny. I can tell big time and im very amazed with some of the outcomes it has brought.

  8. Chris,

    You said you feel bad because you can’t eat like a normal person. Well, you weren’t eating like a ‘normal’ person prior to surgery. Normal people do not eat to weigh 406 lbs. Try opening your mind to drink other types of protein drinks until you find one you can tolerate.
    You will soon be able to eat more than toast with an egg on top without barfing. This too shall pass…

  9. Chris, thanks for sharing so honestly what this has been like for you. I have been thinking about having this surgery a lot lately, but after reading what you wrote, I know that for me I need to think about this more. If you, having lost so much weight, are still going through a tough time, then this gives me a very good reason to think about this a lot more – I probably will now not do it.

  10. Chris McGinnis

    Hello my name is Chris Mcginnis.

    I got the gastric bypass surgery in April of my Senior year in highschool. I was 18 years old at the time of having it done. I am now 20 years old and in 2 months it will be a complete 2 years that I have had the surgery.

    I weighed 406lbs before getting the surgery, I now weigh 145lbs and it varies from 145-150lbs through out the week. Through the whole time having this surgery, I have always had trouble keeping foods down. No matter

    what I ate, I kept throwing it up. I went to my doctor and had a CAT scan done. They found that my stomach was actually twisted and complications were found. I had to get surgery again fixing this problem. I am

    now able to eat a little bit more than what I could and hold it down. But I still cant eat a normal meal or even half a normal meal. What I eat to this day about every day is a piece of toast with an egg on top. That is all that I can handle, anymore added to it I will throw it up.

    The things I miss most….What I miss most is being able to go with my friends or on a date to a restaurant and being able to eat like a normal person can. Well I can’t do that anymore and I can’t eat anywhere that serves food because I always throw it up. This has actaully made me very depressed because my social life seems to be falling apart… It makes me so sad that I can’t go out like a normal person anymore and do stuff with my friends that involves food :( And a lot of the times food is involved… I feel very nervous/scared now when I eat when not near a bathroom because im so scared I will want to throw up and I wont have access to something I can throw up in.

    I never feel full? Like I never get the satisfaction of being full anymore! Does anyone else get this problem? I am constantly always hungry and right when I wake up, that is what is on my mind “food”. I am trying my best to not think about it so much and think how much better I am being skinny/healthier? But am I healthier? I ask myself that because I dont know if I truely am or not. I get dizzy now from having this surgery and no doctor has yet to really explain to me what the problem is. They say its my lack of nutrition… well I cant eat so what can I do! I tried drinking the protein shakes but they are so nasty it makes me wanna throw up when I drink the stuff.

    If you are thinking about getting this surgery, I strongly suggest you think this one over and ask yourself is this truely what you want? This surgery will not change who you are but only you can do that. I am really having problems with this surgery and i’m not sure if I can live any longer having this done to me. I dont feel normal anymore and things are just really hard right now.

    If anyone wants to email me you can… my email is dsclilruth@gmail.com

    Thanks guys for reading!

  11. I had lap band surgery done 8 months ago. I opted for the more conservative approach plus the fact that I had to pay out of pocket I went with the less riskier choice. Still I don’t regret it one bit. I had had some hard times but nothing compares to the risks I was taking being morbidly obese. I think people have an unrealistic expectation that they will be skinny. It’s not skinny you should be shooting for but a healthy range and sometimes that isn’t so skinny. I am down 92 lbs in 8 months. I wouldn’t change a thing except I wish I had the surgery sooner but better late than never!

  12. I had Gastric Bypass (Roux-n-Y) on September 28,2009. I was at 280 then and now 16 months later I weigh 109. I’m 5 ft 2 inches. It was very successful for me. I no longer take any medications for high blood pressure or gastritis. I feel marvelous and never regret for one day doing the surgery. I used to wear a size 28 dress and 3X pant size. I now wear a size 2-4. I would highly recommend this surgery for anyone who is as morbidly obese as I was.

  13. I just turned a year a month and a week from having my bypass surgery done… I’m a totally different person, but I do recognize myself in the mirror… It’s not the same me that was there several months ago… but i always knew that person that looks at me now trough the mirror was there… swollen and sad but there…
    I did had some complications I had a stenosis about a month after being post op (I threw up blood, was unable to eat or drink and all that jazz…), and I also had a kidney stone about 5 months ago (mind numbing pain and all that…)… that aside everything’s been a real journey I did knew it would take a while to reach my ideal weight, I didn’t saw it as a magic solution to my obesity, I do feel scared and a little uncertain about the future, I don’t know if tomorrow I might suffer a terrible complication or an accident or something because of the decision I took of having the procedure done… but despite that I don’t think I would have been able to live the life I was living… sometimes when we have issues that arise from the bypass we might get a little angry or depressed but lets face it… without the bypass some of us wouldn’t be here by now anyway… we could have had a stroke or heart failure… I know I would had and I’m just 23… I changed from being an obese 337 pound man to a 150 pound guy… and despite the complications, despite the changes despite EVERYTHING i’m happy i did it… I don’t know what will happen tomorrow but I’m sure i’ll come out on top after living the life i lived i know i can face almost about anything so people don’t get depressed we only get this one life so lets make the most out of it!

  14. I’m exactly one month post op today. I had the lapband done 1 year ago but the lapband malfunctioned. Being afraid some of the weight would come back, I opted for the rountine gastric bypass. I regret my decision. It’s been hell since the time I’ve gotten out of recovery. I can’t eat anything still. Can barely drink. I had a leak 3 days after surgery and my body become very toxic. Had emergency surgery to clean out my abdomen and I was placed on a ventilator for one week. I spent 16 days in the hosptial total. I feel I just traded one bad surgery for another however this one, could kill me. I knew the risks but being skinny outweighted those risks. I really hate myself for thinking like that. If anyone would like to email and talk, please email me at missieruth@aol.com. I feel very alone.

    I am sorry that I am probably like a year or two late in reading your postings, but my prayer is you all are still out there, and still fighting.

    I have been really fightng my anger toward the medical community in regard to followup, and in regard to compassion and ethical standards.

    I want you all to know, God loves you so much. I know how hard it is to figure out who you are post surgery.

    Dont give up. Dont think you are all alone, then THEY win,
    You are not alone.

    Thank you for sharing your stories.
    Write me anytime.
    at therapistic@gmail.com.
    I love you God loves you.
    You are on a journey, not a destination.
    stay strong
    Angela Garza LCSW CCM PSC
    Louisville KY

  16. I had my RYBP March 2003. I attended classes, etc….felt I was fully educated on the risks & benefits. I was so very wrong. In 1 year, I’d lost 200lbs & was at my ideal weight, I was thrilled! My whole life changed, the world was my oyster. BUT… Then everything started to go wrong. First, I suffered thru 4 Gall Bladder stone “episodes”…before going to the hospital. I was never told what the symptoms of gall stones (mind-numbing pain) were. My surgeon removed it…all was well for a while. I’d always had trouble eating enough & keeping it down…just thought that was my new normal. Apparently, you’re NOT supposed to vomit 3-5x/day. I soon noticed my stomach hurt all the time. After several scopes/specialists, I was told I had severe bleeding ulcers that were also causing really severe iron-def anemia, none in bone marrow/spleen & very little in hemo. Blood vessels to pouch were damaged from bypass & pouch can’t heal. GP wanted to transfuse, I said NO. Had to take liq Iron. The worst “unknown” problem I’ve had was one I’ve never seen mentioned ANYWHERE online & I was NEVER told about. 5yrs after surgery I began having horrific abdominal pain, I couldn’t stand up straight & was having trouble breathing. Absolute agony. I returned to the hosp where I had the bypass, was doped up & given a CAT scan…3 times in less than 2 weeks!!!! The last time, I looked at my whole scan on the computer, x-ray tech had done all 3 scans, we were family by then! I asked her, ” um, should that be there?” She looked, said no…went to talk to ER Dr. Oops! It seems they missed my small intestines coming thru a hole in my diaphragm (caused from orig bypass) into my chest & twisting on themselves. This hospital has a huge, well-respected Bari Center!!! Shouldn’t their Doctors be well-versed in the problems it can cause??! Almost 8 yrs after my bypass, I’ve been thru 3 addt’l abdominal surgeries/scopes, 3 reg scopes(down throat), vomit blood (“coffee grounds”), have chronic anemia, STILL can’t keep food down at least half the time, usually don’t bother eating. I’m consistently min 15 lbs under my low “ideal wgt”. I’ve had lots of dental problems from the vomiting. I have also broken 2 bones. BEFORE my bypass…I’d never even been to the ER, no surgeries….nothing. I’m 35 yrs old. People need to be FULLY informed, not sold a dream! Med. staff shouldn’t gloss-over the very real complications and their symptoms!! Would I do it again?? Who knows….

  17. Susan Martinez

    I am 7 months postop and thank god every day that I had the courage to have the procedure done. I was on 8 different medications and the day after surgery I was taken off of 7 of them. Nothing come without a price so yes you will have to learn to eat healthy but it is a live changing event. I have a friend who is having the sleeve done in Feb. and am looking forward to taking walks with her and going to Zumba class.

  18. Weight loss surgery is the only way to loss lot weight and its good for diabetes and cancer patients also.But

    After having your surgery its mandatory that you have to control your eating like pizza etc.Otherwise you will regain your weight after some time..so the surgery will not remain effective.But its tough for those who usually like eating and fast food.I saw some patients that can’t stop eating and the surgery for those will not remain effective.and these patients go for suicide.

  19. My Brother recently had the bypass, and he looks really good he had no complications, save for one.. He is now bragging about the weight loss incessantly, to the point of every other word out of his mouth has something to do with bypass surgery, it is getting very difficult to be supportive. Anybody else dealing with this, I have already tried to have a discussion with him about it, but he just thinks i am jealous! Not true I like me for me. I am just sick of hearing about gastric bypass.

  20. I am having a really hard time accepting a friends gastric bypass. I don’t know if it’s that I am angry I’ll be fat alone now fighting still to loose it or if I am angry that she’s getting it paid for by the state. Maybe it’s all of it. I am just angry and I truly cannot believe that the dr has cleared her she is a former cocaine addict and is an alcoholic whose been diagnosed as bipolar. I know in my heart of hearts that she has NO clue whats she is in for, she cannot finish anything she starts, and what she is not realizing is once this is done its done. My other friend whose a healthy weight has worked in the med field with gastric bypass recovery has told her more than once that she shld try living the lifestyle for 6 months first (eating less and all the other food changes) she hasn’t made it more than a week. I don’t know how to feel anymore about it I guess I can only say I am angry, and don’t know how to express it anymore.

  21. My surgery was 3 weeks ago. Life has been horrific since. My doctor who is 8 hours away has provided no aftercare and actually told me on the phone if I felt that bad maybe I should drink a gatorade. I can’t get a local doctor to take me as a patient My PCP said my care is more than he can provide. Write me please anyone dap124@msn.com

  22. My mom had gastric bybass and she comitted suicide the day ofter Thanksgiving! I truly believe that it was downhill from the time she had the surgery. Prior to surgery mom never drank an after she was drinkin small amount and it was gettin her trashed! You’ll never convince me this surgery is good!

  23. Yes, there are complications to gastric bypass. Yes, some people believe that their emotional problems are the result of being fat. But what if your problems come FROM being fat? I have a rare and serious brain condition linked to my weight that could be made better by my losing weight (the doctors say at least 50 lbs). I just barely qualify for bariatric surgery, and I don’t know that I’ll do it, but I’m looking at either that or BRAIN SURGERY. Hmm, WHICH WOULD YOU PICK?

    Instead of bitching at the medical community, maybe you all should spend time looking into fat positive stuff like “Health At Every Size” if you believe gastric bypass is teh evil. While consent should be informed, and the medical community is both sizest and shitty, I still think bariatric surgery has it’s place. It’s a huge major life altering surgery OF COURSE it has huge major life altering side effects. It’s simply a matter of deciding, just like any other medical decision, whether the benefits outweigh the risks. And that, my friends, is a personal decision.

  24. Hi Angela,

    Wow!! You described my presurgical informed consent parade to a T…. I am about 20 days away from my surgery and I am looking forward to it!
    I work in the medical field and after a year of talking to patients who had had the surgery and even experienced a few complications there wasn’t one of them who said they would have done it differently if given the choice again.
    There are a couple of things that are different with the way my surgeon does things and with his requirements… his number one rule is that you must become a nonsmoker for him to perform this surgery on you. His research has shown that smokers have more complications. He even does the bloodtest for nicotine on the day of your surgery.
    Another thing that was different as were were hearded this way and that was that we were offered the choice to be a part of a research study group. I signed up because I will then also recieve the results of the study and I want to know how “we” as a group do with this newfound information and life.
    I am having the Roux-en-Y type surgery and my surgeon has made it his personal practice to not remove more of the absorbtion part of the bowel that he deems necessary. I can’t quote off the top of my head how much he removes or doesn’t remove but again his research has shown when too much of this is removed people have bigger malabsorbtion problems. His opinion is it may take you a bit longer to lose the weight but it will help eliminate problems later.
    My opinion is, if you choose to have this surgery, investigate your surgeon and his practices. Knowledge is key.
    Thank you Lisa for the blog, Sherry I pray you are well and to the others, God Bless You.

  25. Just wanted to share, my life is very different now it’s been three years, and i’m fighting to stay alive, i can’t keep weight on and the depression and anxiety is unbelieveable…

  26. Angela thanks so much for your candid thoughts I so agree, many of my friends have had the surgery and while I was visiting one of my friends in the HOSPITAL for complications the doctor approached me and said, well when are you ready to take the next step and come to my office…what! She was in the Hospital fighting low potassium from what he did to her and he asks me that! I simply gasp and walk away!
    Thank you Lisa for your wonderful blog and even though you have been through so much and would still have the surgery today, I for one never will from what I have seen!
    God bless ya’ll and hope and pray that whoever reads this and has had surgery recovers and remains healthy and strong.

  27. People expect weight loss surgery will end their problems all at once. You still have to follow a healthy lifestyle in order for it to work.

  28. I am a LSCW in private practice and I am three years post op from Bariatric surgery.

    I am listening to your documentary and it sickens me that the focus is being singularly focused on the patient as an obese and depressed individual.

    When will you turn your studies to the medical field and the lack of responsibility it is showing the appropriate medical necessity of INFORMED CONSENT and when will the medical community be held accountable for research and “bringing awareness” to the human being prior to surgery, instead of a simple one day hoop that resembles a herd of cows going from the empty room to view a video that tells them “You will find after surgery that you will not be as hungry as before” THAT IS A LIE. Hunger is not just hunger, the definition needs to include head hunger.
    And the next hoop, about twenty minutes later, is a short walk down to the nutritionist who tells you that this surgery is just a tool… blah blah blah.. And finally about an hour into this informed consent parade, you are led to meet with a burned out LCSW or Counselor who asks you what you expect from surgery and if you are aware of what changes you need to make.
    Mind you, all of these huge meetings take placc AFTER you pay the mandatory $300 “program fee” that is not covered by insurance and is non refundable. Ironically, the “program” you are paying for is required by the insurance company.. hmm lets see do you think after I paid my money and made it to the cattle herd I was going to get to the end with the little burned out counselor and say “Jeeze, I sure hope this weight loss helps my depression” Do you think after an hour of mindless jargon and ridiculous hoops I am going to get the message that hey, after surgery you will lose weight, and guess what, after a year you will look in the mirror and not know who you are?
    I am consistently in awe of how little research is done with our population. Not one time has my Doctor, his staff, the hospital, my insurance company , not one time, have they reached out to do a survey to find out what really happens after they get paid.
    And yes, it pisses me off.
    I am in Louisville Ky. And I am facilitating a free support group for anyone who has undergone weight loss surgery or is considering surgery.
    Do you think my Doctor or the Bariatric community will advertise my free group?
    NO NO NO
    Because Norton Hospital has a contract with Norton Bariatric the Cow Herders and that is money in their pocket.
    Suicide risk increases.. yeah I bet it does.
    Angela Garza LCSW