Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Band and Anxiety

I have had a terrible time getting food through my band since Christmas when my anxiety levels seemed to increase. I have had bad days where a sip of water takes a couple of minutes to go down and the occasional good day where I will be able to eat my dinner in a reasonable time (1 hour). It has been a bit of a nightmare and left me feeling very hungry and frustrated a lot so I admitted defeat and went to see my doctor for an un-fill last Tuesday afternoon.

Given how tight I was I really wanted 0.4 - 0.5mls out, but my doctor was reluctant to give me too much out so I settled on 0.3mls, which now gives me 5.6mls in a 10ml band. So far it seems to be helping and I have been able to get more food down, it is still a bit of a struggle, but hopefully it will settle down soon. I know all of this fill level stuff isn't very interesting, but I mostly blog it so I have a record because otherwise I will forget.

Mt doctor is a bit 'wham, bam, thank you mam' and normally shuffles me out the door pretty quickly, but I made a point to ask him if he had any suggestions on how I could try and get to the 'green zone' where I would be satisfied by small meals, not getting stuck on food and losing weight (wouldn't that be nice!). I told him that I had been banded for almost 3 years and have never felt like I was in the green zone and it was a constant struggle. I was wondering if I was doing something wrong or if I was just confused about what being full felt like anymore.

Unfortunately he didn't really have any answers, he just said that the band works for some people and not for others. He did mention that he thought my ongoing anxiety problems could be causing the band to tighten a lot throughout the day and could be why I have trouble getting food down, but not feeling full. I do have quite bad anxiety issues and the smallest things can set me off into such a spin that I know to not even try and eat for a few hours. I guess these issues may have been affecting my band even more than I realised. There really isn't too much I can do about it, but maybe I can try and stop beating myself up so much for not being able to get my band to a level that helps with my over-eating.

I am trying to address my anxiety problems, but it hasn't been an easy road. My doctor tried me on 3 different types of anti-anxiety medication last year over a 6 month period and I had SEVERE side effects on all of them. The only other thing they could suggest was to set me up with a psychiatrist who could try a cocktail of medications that might work for me, but by this point I was so sick from the side effects that I had nothing left in me to try anything else. I am still picking up the pieces, so I am not sure I'll ever try medication again... maybe when I am feeling stronger-- of course this is not to say that my views or experiences should influence anyone else!

Does anyone feel like their anxiety/depression messes with their band???


  1. Hi,

    Have been reading your blog for a couple of months and really appreciate your honesty.

    I also have weight/depression/anxiety issues. I was on Zoloft for nearly three years and have very slowly weaned myself off. For me, I find meditation helps with stress and anxiety (dr Diana winston of ucla has free downloads on iTunes) and walking helps with the sadness and to lift my mood.

    I've just finished reading sweet poison by david Gillespie. It has some interesting theories on sugar and appetite control. Maybe worth a look? I quit sugar a few weeks ago and although the weight has not come off (yet) the withdrawal symptoms have been very real.....

    I wish you the best and thanks again for your blog.


  2. I have also been reading your blog anoymously.

    I don't have a band, but I have had anxiety and mild depression for a long time. I would love to lose about 10-15kg and can seem to get *any* motivation at all.

    I keep telling myself that I must exercise as it will both help me lose weight plus help with the depression. But it's a vicious cycle as I never have much energy (I also have two small kids) and am so, so unmotivated.

    Sigh. Oh well, I hope you have more luck going forward...


  3. I have anxiety issues and social anxiety but no band. I need to lose weight and struggle with motivation when having slow results (thanks PCOS).

    I really admire you - for your journey, your energy and your honesty!

  4. I have suffered depression and anxiety for years and I definitely think the band is affected by mood. I can literally feel my oesophagus tighten as my anxiety rises.

    My anxiety always presents itself physically one way or another. Headaches, restlessness, jawclenching and now lapband tightening. I wish it just made me lose my appetite! But really I just want to eat more to make it go away which of course does work.

    Sucks bigtime.

    Good luck with meds. I've been on anti-d's for years for both dep/anxiety. They cause weight gain that is for sure. Finding the right one is torturous hardwork.

    Have you tried beta-blockers? They are getting prescribed more and more for anxiety as they reduce the heart rate and help with the body's management of the flight or fight response. I am going to give it another go. Better than taking benzos that are highly addictive and make you drowsy and out of it!


  5. *But really I just want to eat more to make it go away which of course doesn't work - I should have said above!

  6. Yes - I have been stressed out for many reasons and my band reacts. I've been at the same fill level for almost 2 years and I'm tighter now than ever.

  7. I can feel it when I am upset in my band. It adds to my feelings of anxiety.
    I know this sounds silly, but try meditation. It helps to calm me.

  8. All I can say is ((((hugs)))).

    It sounds like you are not alone with anxiety affecting your band. i've only had a tiny bit of mild anxiety & the heaviness from the diaphragm to throat (adam's apple area?) is very uncomfortable (asides the panic). I can very easily imagine that that physical constriction would affect your band. I think you are doing an amazing job living with your anxiety issues & truely hope you find something to help ease these in the very near future. xxoo

  9. Hi Tully, I don't think I have ever commented here before! But have been reading for ages :) I don't have a lapband, but I know that when I get anxious my digestion literally shuts down. I thought for a long time it was food allergies, but have only recently realised that it's stress that triggers that reaction. So I can definitely see that stress/anxiety would affect your band. I'm sorry that the meds aren't working for you - I know I tried a naturopath for my own stress issues and so far, so good!

  10. Hi Tully, reader for long time. Just letting you know i also have anxiety... I have just finished reading Just One Thing (Rick Hanson)..... try it. I feel its far better than any tablet i have tried...... = ) x

  11. You should think about seeing a psychiattist...they have more training than a primary docotor and could find the right medication for you. You would feel so much better. Good Luck. I have a lapband and struggle with depression. I take celexa and go to therapy on a regular basis. the combination is great.

  12. Hi, Just started reading. Fantastic blog and you have come such a long way and done so amazingly well.
    But life with the band isnt easy is it? Sigh....

    I find that when Im stressed, anxious, tired, been on a band tightens alot. I do find exercising helps a little as a way of managing my stress but its minimal control really!

    I recently had my band tightened as after 2.5 years wasn't happy with only losing 20 kilos when there's 30 more to go. Getting the restriction I think i should have had at the beginning but finding it hard at times to get thru my half a cup of food. Other times its alot easier. Anyway Ive started to babble so will g now..but hope the anxiety can be managed to make your life a little less stressful!


Awww thanks so much for the comment!