Health psychology is the study of psychological and behavioral processes in health, illness and healthcare. Wellstar Behavioral Health understands how psychological, behavioral, and cultural factors contribute to physical health and illness.
The pre-surgical psychological evaluation consists of a visit to a clinical health psychologist with specialization in bariatrics and includes a diagnostic interview, a battery of tests, and feedback. These evaluations assess various elements related to surgical readiness as shown by research correlated with post-surgical complications and outcomes. The health psychologist will make individualized recommendations to build upon your strengths and help you address challenges so that you can best lose weight, keep it off, and adjust well to your new lifestyle.
In addition to the pre-surgical psychological evaluation, a bariatric psychologist can work with you both before and after surgery – either individually or in a group setting to change behavioral, emotional or psychological patterns that could interfere with a good surgical outcome. For example, many patients need help from a psychologist to change eating behaviors prior to surgery. Behavioral health can also provide additional support, stress management skills, assertiveness building, emotion management (e.g., anger or depression), assistance with quitting tobacco/nicotine use, behavioral treatment of insomnia and pain, and strategies for reducing anxiety or fears associated with having the surgery. After the surgery, many individuals are helped from behavioral health follow-up to improve psychological and social adjustment to the new lifestyle.
Conditions and presentations treated in the Bariatric/Obesity Medicine Service include:
Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine is a branch of behavioral medicine that helps patients with cardiovascular disease to achieve their cardiac health goals through behavioral modification, address co-occurring cardiovascular and psychiatric conditions, and chiefly, to experience improved quality of life.
Sometimes low mood, panicked or overwhelming emotions, difficulties with problem-solving or memory, frustration with making change, and chronic fatigue get in the way of our progress. The clinicians on the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine (CVBM) team are experts in overcoming these kinds of barriers. When a patient has made a good effort at change and is still struggling to achieve health goal success, a referral
to the CVBM outpatient service can help make possible necessary change. The CVBM team uses scientifically supported approaches to help:
• Improve mood
• Decrease anxiety and its effects on cardiovascular functioning
• Identify and overcome hurdles to making healthy lifestyle changes to reduce cardiovascular risks
• Improve sleep quality
• Lose weight and maintain weight loss when diet and exercise alone don’t seem to help
• Keep track of medications and be at your outpatient appointments
• Adjusting to a "new normal" after a cardiac event
In addition to outpatient services, the CVBM team works with Wellstar’s Advanced Heart Failure team to provide evaluation services for patients with congestive heart failure and those who are candidates for an LVAD device. The CVBM team is a part of this important inter-disciplinary team that helps these patients receive life-extending treatments.
Conditions and presentations treated in the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Service might include:
• Congenital heart defects
• Congestive heart failure
• Coronary artery disease
• Myocardial infarction
• Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
• Valve disease
PsychogastroenterologyThe Psychogastroenterology Service, a specialized behavioral health service for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, works collaboratively with WellStar physicians and their patients to support the psychosocial needs of our patients with GI conditions. Research has established that brain-gut dysregulation contributes to many gastrointestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and even Dysphagia. In addition to infection and other organic factors, normal brain-gut communication is highly vulnerable to chronic stress and maladaptive coping behaviors. When intense or prolonged stress and ineffective behaviors interrupt normal brain-gut communication, patients tend to notice more frequent symptom flares and their emotional well-being and quality of life suffer. Fortunately, the brain can learn to turn down pain and reduce sensitivity to normal gut-processes. Our program offers interventions specifically designed to target psychological and behavioral factors that interrupt brain-gut pathways and lead to worsening GI symptoms or maintain them.
Conditions and presentations treated in the Psychogastroenterology Service might include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)
- Chronic Constipation
- Non-cardiac chest pain
- Pre- or post-surgical adjustment to ostomies
- Functional dyspepsia
- Functional diarrhea