Psychologist’s help before and after bariatric surgery

Are you eating emotions and are you afraid that after a bariatric surgery you will continue to do so? Only by eating you feel happy and do not want to lose it? Are you depressed or struggling with other mental health problems? Or maybe you are afraid of surgery and life after it? Ask for a psychologist’s advice. We advise in what a psychologist will help before and after bariatric surgery. 


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Obesity is a chronic disease that adversely affects many areas of a patient’s life.

Not only does it not allow him to fully enjoy life to learn, to work, to take pleasure in social roles. He also disturbs his everyday, ordinary personal and home activities and relationships with people. A person suffering from obesity, often because of his illness, avoids contacts, closes himself in his safe world, delays or does not take important decisions – paradoxically, also the most important, that is, the treatment of obesity. Or, after many unsuccessful attempts, for fear of further failures, he gives up new therapy options. I am looking for my own way to deal with my emotions. It is often food. 

It happens that for a patient suffering from obesity, the food ceases to be a means to satisfy hunger, and becomes a reward, a method for dealing with stress, escape from problems and difficult situations, or a way to provide pleasure. It can also be a form of showing closeness or satisfying many other emotional needs. Education of an obese patient who is emotionally important is of great importance. Widening and differentiating this \ emotional dictionary \ allows the patient to more accurately interpret what he feels and do not react by reaching for food in any situation when he feels uncomfortable. 

But also people who do not have trouble recognizing emotions may have difficulty controlling their food when they stop paying attention to what, when and in what amounts they eat. This is most often the case when watching TV, working at a computer, or reading a book, and it is related to attention deficits and monitoring. 

People with obesity often suffer from mood disorders.

And it is not entirely clear what is the result and what causes the development of obesity disease in them. Does this reduced mood stimulate them to reach for food from the so-called comfort food (eg ice cream, cookies, chocolate) to improve their well-being? Does excessive and uncontrolled food lead to a depressed mood? It’s a kind of vicious circle. It shows that the relationship between the psyche of the patient and his obesity are often complicated, require a complex diagnosis, search for causes and mechanisms that led to the development of excessive body weight and insight into what the food is doing to the patient and what his needs satisfy. Only then can you go to the treatment of obesity. 

Bariatric surgery is the most effective method of treatment of second degree obesity (with other diseases that are obesity complications) and third degree, so-called obesity giant. Surgical treatment of obesity, by changing the anatomy of the digestive system helps the obese patient to reduce his weight, or lose weight, to a safe level. This is a serious surgical intervention. When deciding about surgery, the patient should be aware of what awaits him. For this purpose, psychoeducation is carried out with the patient already in the early stages of treatment, checking what he knows about bariatric surgeries and supplementing his knowledge in order to stimulate his awareness and responsibility for action. 

Even before the bariatric operation, during the preparations, and even more after the surgery, the obese patient will face a radical change of lifestyle and learn to control the disease. Bariatric surgery is a tool supporting the treatment of obesity, but unfortunately it will not solve emotional problems, will not cure from mental illness, nor will change habits and eating behaviors. The psychologist will help. His role in supporting an obese patient varies depending on the stage of bariatric treatment. 

Polish and European recommendations regarding the qualification of obese patients for bariatric surgery, recommend that every patient before the surgery undergo a psychological consultation. The psychologist is responsible for the tasks.

Do not be afraid of a psychologist! His role is not to judge you.

The psychologist will support you in the process of change. Information about your difficulties, the psychologist gets when talking to you. During the meeting, he can use special psychological tools for questionnaires and tests. Thanks to them, it will effectively diagnose problems you are struggling with and will take the best treatment for you.

At this stage, the psychologist works with the obese patient over the change of his thinking and his destructive thoughts, beliefs about himself, eating, relationships with people and the world around him. Patients who want to undergo bariatric surgery often when they hear that the operation is not a miracle and to achieve long-term treatment effects, waiting for their period of preparation and lifestyle modification, experience ambivalence, i.e. internal conflict. Disadvantageous for their health behavior are related to the suffering they experience, but also with some kind of benefits, gratification in connection with its continuation, despite adverse consequences. 

The role of the psychologist is to explain to the patient what are the mechanisms that led him to obesity and show how to change them effectively. The psychologist prepares the patient for potential failures, emotional crises, which are an inseparable part of the change process. It tells how a patient can deal with them and who to ask for support. The psychologist helps the sick person regain the so-called agility – the feeling that the patient has an influence on his behavior and functioning. 

When working with a patient before a bariatric surgery, the psychologist uses different techniques adapted to the needs and therapeutic goals. They are, among others 

At this stage of psychological preparation, the commitment and motivation of the patient to change is extremely important. The psychologist provides him with safe conditions to learn and improve new skills, eating behavior, coping in stressful situations and, as a result, to regain control over his actions. 

The time after surgery is special.

This is the most difficult psychological stage, although it would seem the easiest. High expectations of the patient as to the effects of the operation, euphoria and optimism very often lead to the exclusion of his vigilance and forgetting about how it was, about the obese past. The consequence is often the breakdown of self-control. 

This is the period when the psychologist mobilizes the patient to persevere in following the recommendations for proper nutrition. Patients often find it difficult to adapt to the regime – to consume food in the right amount and consistency. The psychologist teaches sensitivity to signals sent by the body, observing the work of altered digestive system, coping with difficulties. This is a period of improvement of new skills in the field of healthy eating and maintaining a proper attitude towards food. Thanks to which the effects of the surgery will last longer and the disease of obesity will not come back. 


You can read also: Diet and exercise as one of the main ways to lose body fat


  A healthier diet, a healthier brain

With age, neurodegenerative diseases begin to lower our mental performance, which manifests itself in the form of senile dementia, reduced short-term memory capacity, reduced mental efficiency, lack of focus or reduced reaction time. However, it turns out that there is a way, and it is a healthy diet. 


Here you can find supplements supporting brain – CLICK 




Researchers from the Netherlands Medical Center of the Erasmus University published the results of an epidemiological analysis, in which a brain MRI scan of 4213 participants, aged from 45 to 97 years, was performed. The analysis was carried out in 2005-2015, and the scientists knew exactly what the subjects were feeding on. The menus received scores from 0 to 14, where they were evaluated for the content of health-promoting ingredients. 


It turned out that their diet was more abundant in health-promoting compounds, the larger the brain volume of the subjects. What’s more, the weight of the brain increased in proportion to the number of points. 

In addition, in another study it was proved that people who had a larger brain volume also showed increased cognitive ability. 


You can read also: Brain gymnastics

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Smart drugs – improve the functioning of the brain

Nootropics are substances that improve both the brain and the nervous system. These preparations are increasingly finding supporters not only among the sick, but healthy people who are subjected to excessive intellectual effort. Are “smart drugs” really safe and beneficial to our body? More in the text below.

  1. What is piracetam?

Piracetam is a nootropic drug belonging to the group of compounds called pyrrolidones. This compound is a derivative of the very well-known ?-amino-butyric acid (GABA). Nootropic drugs are substances of various structure and mechanism of action, but they are compatible with the metabolism of the central nervous system. The effect of this can be the stimulation of memory processes and awareness. Piracetam is a substance that does not show physical dependence.


  1. Piracetam – action

Piracetam is a substance used in the treatment of pathological conditions of neurological background. Responsible primarily for enhancing the metabolism of neurons in states of reduced activity. This leads to improved nerve conduction, increased use of oxygen and glucose, improved synthesis of neurotransmitters and high energy compounds. Piracetam also has strong antimonlonic activity.

The above reactions have a very positive effect on the activity of the higher parts of the central nervous system. What’s more, they lead to the improvement of cognitive processes (eg memory, consciousness or learning) and psychophysical efficiency. It is worth adding that piracetam in people with dyslexia improves the speed of reading and improves the process of memorizing. In addition, this compound is used as part of the prevention of brain function changes.

Another important action of piracetam is its impact on the cardiovascular system. Among the numerous impacts, it is worth specifying


– lowering of blood and plasma viscosity;

– stimulation of prostacyclin synthesis;

– removal of pathological spasms of small vessels;

– reduction of the aggregating ability of thrombocytes (platelets);

– limitation of adherence of erythrocytes to the endothelium of blood vessels;

– prolonged bleeding time and decreased fibrinogen levels.


  1. Dosage

The standard dose of piracetam for children is from 40 to 100 mg of substance for every kilogram of body weight. In the treatment of dyslexia, lower doses, not exceeding 50 mg, are also used. In turn, adults should use between 1200 and 4800 mg per day. The maximum effectiveness is shown by the maximum dose divided into three servings during the day of 1600 mg each.


  1. Indications and contraindications

Pharmacological treatment using piracetam is intended mainly for people with cognitive impairment (dementia syndromes with the exception of Alzheimer’s disease). In addition, it is very often used in the case of peripheral cortical myoclonus and middle dizziness, as well as dyslexia.

Among the contraindications to the use of piracetam is above all hypersensitivity to any component of this substance. In addition, here he mentions intracerebral hemorrhage, severe renal failure, Huntington’s chorea. As a result of the impact on the blood coagulation process, one should be cautious when using this supplement in the event of disturbances of homeostasis, severe surgical operations and severe haemorrhage.

Piracetam is also responsible for the intensification of thyroid hormones. There are reports of occurrences of confusion, irritability or insomnia during simultaneous supplementation of the drug with thyroid preparations.

Side effects are rare and usually occur at the beginning of therapy with piracetam. The most common symptoms are excessive excitement, nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms that may occur include dizziness, fluctuations in blood pressure, increased salivation and allergic reactions.


  1. Opinions

A study conducted on healthy young volunteers aimed to demonstrate the effectiveness of piracetam supplementation in the context of improving brain function. Despite the lack of any impact in the normal situation, the results confirmed the assumption. Participants were subjected to a situation of inadequate oxygenation of the brain (excessive concentration, sleepless night), followed by an EEG test. The analysis showed improvement in the efficiency of brain work after earlier use of the nootropic drug.


  1. What is sunifiram?

The above compound belongs to the group of synthetic derivatives of piracetam. DM-235 is also a nootropic medicine that strengthens cognitive processes. Very often it is referred to as AMPAkine due to its action through the AMPA receptor and kainic acid.


  1. Sunifiram – properties

The action of sunifiram is very similar to its precursor – this nootropic drug is responsible for improving the metabolism of the nervous system, which promotes the efficiency and effectiveness of energy transformation. Due to the low level of toxicity and the greater (almost 1000 times) nervous system impact power than piracetam, it is increasingly used in the treatment of neurological problems. Sunifiram is also responsible for oxygenating the brain, improving the blood circulation, and also affecting the production of acetylcholine.


Sunifiram is recommended for the purpose

– improving intellectual performance;

– improvement of cognitive functions;

– increase in the productivity of professionally active people;

– metabolism stimulation.


  1. Dosage

Due to the lack of detailed human studies, it is very difficult to determine the optimal dose of sunifiram. Estimated doses were calculated on the basis of tests on rats, in which the optimal supplementation is about 1 mg per kilogram of body weight. Therefore, it is assumed that a man should use from 0.08 to 0.16 mg of substance for every kilogram creating the mass of his own body.


  1. Aniracetam – general information

This is another derivative of piracetam, which is very similar to it in terms of structural structure. Its action, as in the case of sunifiram, is much more effective, which is why it is increasingly used in the pharmacological therapy of the nervous system. This relationship very often occurs under the names Ampamet, Draganon, Memodrin, Referan or Sarpul.


  1. Action and supplementation

Aniracetam, like the previously described substances, affects memory processes and concentration. Due to the improvement of blood flow through the brain, it affects the process of analytical thinking. Very often it is referred to as an element necessary to “assemble the puzzle into the whole “.

In addition to the typical medical use of substances (including Alzheimer’s therapy or depression), it is very often used as a dietary supplement. It is recommended mainly to intellectual employees who spend many hours in concentration. Aniracetam is also a very good solution for mitigating and renewing the effects of harmful alcohol activity.

Aniracetam is a very fat-soluble compound, therefore the preparation should be taken with a fat meal. The recommended daily dose of the preparation should be from 1000 to 1500 mg. This dose should be divided into two minor doses.


  1. What is nefiracetam?

Nefiracetam is a chemical compound belonging to the racetam group. Like aniracetam, it is fat soluble in compound with which it easily penetrates the blood-brain barrier and penetrates the central nervous system more quickly. Together with the previously described compounds, it is part of nootropic drugs that stimulate the brain and our body. The preparation is not as popular as aniracetam or piracetam.


  1. Nefiracetam – properties and dosage

Nefiracetam is a component of medicines that improve memory and concentration. He is responsible for increasing acetylcholine signaling and glutamate in synapses, which prolongs the action of calcium in active neurons. The result of such activity is intensification and improving the quality of memory processes, cause-and-effect thinking and learning. Very often it is recommended as a drug for the treatment of ADHD and depression.

Supplementation of nifracetam should contain doses of 150 to 450 mg per day. This portion should be divided into three equal doses. Single doses do not improve cognitive function. Despite this, they affect the brain within 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion.

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Huperzine: Short-term memory amplifier

By the term “short-term memory amplifier” I understand that huperzine (also called huperzine A) improves your working memory. This substance occurs naturally in a plant called huperzia serrata, however, synthesized in the laboratory is just as effective.

My subjective experience with this substance:

-It makes it easier to remember different things, both important and trivial.

-It helps with making quick decisions and improvising.

-The mind is able to receive more information at once.

Huperzine makes me remember my phone numbers on a given day without having to save them. If I have to learn a new topic, this substance will make it so I have no problem assimilating a completely new topic and I will be able to build a broader picture of the whole concept. It makes the memory seem more “sticky”, so you do not have to go back to what you read some time ago while learning. You just remember everything.

Thanks to huperzine, the mind finds it much easier to build an enlarged image of what I am working on and much more clearly demonstrates its conceptual framework. In short, huperzine is extremely useful in accepting and understanding new issues.

The mechanism of action of huperzine

Time for knowledge for “nerds”: huperzine is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (what a word!). Essentially, it helps to pull acetylcholine out of neurons and prevent its decomposition. Acetylcholine in healthy people reaches its lowest level in the evening, at bedtime. Its deficiencies are supplemented during good, effective sleep, which is why the highest level of this substance in the body is in the morning causing you to feel fresh and “topped up” throughout the day.

So what exactly are the benefits of taking huperzine?

First of all, acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter. If you raise its level in the body, you will improve your response to stimuli and improve the ability to make quick decisions. It’s no coincidence that diseases such as Alzheimer’s are associated with a decrease in cholinergic capacity (i.e. acetylcholine production) in neurons. Research on huperzine began precisely with those associated with the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

In simple words, huperzine helps keep more fuel in the “battery” of your brain.

More of my experiences with huperzine

Just because huperzine gives more content to your brain does not mean it’s stimulating, just like coffee. Its operation is quite subtle. However, thanks to it you start to catch more things with your senses. Colours can become more vivid. In music, you start hearing more nuances. Your visualization ability can become more vivid and more efficient.

I think that’s because the brain gets more fuel. As a result, the cognitive abilities and the ability to learn more information from the world grow.

An interesting side effect of taking a huperzine is to raise the brightness of dreams and the likelihood that you will remember them when you wake up. It’s therefore a nice remedy for people who care about lucid dreaming.

Recommended doses and periods of use

The daily recommended dose of huperzine is 100-200 micrograms. It should be taken “for the day” and only on days when you need more intellectual performance (i.e. not on weekends or during holidays).

The tested daily dose is 200 μg. It’s small, therefore huperzine is sold in tiny tablets. For new users, I recommend starting with 100 μg per day.

To improve the effect of lucid dreaming, Tim Ferriss recommends on his blog to take a standard dose 30 minutes before bedtime. However, it’s not recommended to take huperzine before bedtime, as it can cause problems with falling asleep during daily use.

The action of huperzine is felt after about 15 minutes and lasts about 12 hours. So it starts to work very quickly and slowly releases itself. You can take one more dose once or swallow two smaller doses throughout the day.

If you take huperzine every day, the tolerance will increase. It’s good to take a break, e.g. on weekends and holidays. It’s also recommended to take a week long break in taking it once a month to reduce the tolerance to this preparation. You can also take huperzine occasionally, e.g. when you have an extraordinary amount of work or study – for example, every day for a week before the exam and then stop.