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Depression after surgery

Is It Normal to Experience Depression After Surgery?

Even if you had planned on getting plastic surgery for months or years, on the day of the surgery, you may have felt anxious or questioned your decision. Soon after surgery, many people regret getting the surgery altogether. However, you’ve gone through a transformative experience. You know that after the surgery, you woke up to a different “you.” Your brain will take some time to process this change. Therefore, you need to wait to see the results of the surgery. This alone is not easy as sometimes recovery can take a year or more. We always advise our patients to stay calm and be patient but understand that the process is difficult. Many patients also experience depression after surgery.

You might also experience it after having the surgery. The important thing is that you should know that it is a side effect of the surgery. You might end up feeling a whirlpool of emotions. However, you’re not alone. We’re here to provide you with all the help you need. Still, you should know why depression after surgery can occur and what you can do to cope with it. Hopefully, this guide will help you with that.

Why Am I Experiencing These Negative Emotions After the Procedure? 

You might experience a world of complicated emotions after getting your cosmetic surgery/surgeries. Even the slightest alteration to the body will make you feel nervous. You will wonder what if it looks really bad. After the surgery, in the state of heightened emotions, you might end up feeling regretful, especially after seeing the bruising, swelling, and redness.

Right before the surgery, the feelings of joy, happiness, and excitement are common, but depression and nervousness can become a part of the emotional mix right after. This is because when you see the images of the transformation of patients, their before and after, it tells you the beginning and the ending. You don’t see the journey in between, but you should remember that you’ll also have your before and after image. Patience is what you need. Since you’ll have a life-changing experience, it is normal to experience depression after surgery.

You might feel less energetic, sleepy, and down all day long during the recovery period. Nervous breakdown and crying spells are also common. Besides, lethargy, brain fog, irritability, and appetite changes are all common post-surgical complaints. You should know that it’s temporary, and these are normal experiences in the initial recovery phase.

But Why Am I Experiencing Depression After Surgery? 

The healing process becomes quite daunting for some patients. It’s certainly not easy to see your bruised self every day and not end up thinking that is how things are going to be from now on. That is why patients commonly feel doubt, uncertainty, and regret during the healing process.

If you have gotten a breast augmentation, you might feel worried about the size and placement of the implant after the surgery has taken place. Thoughts like, “They should’ve been bigger” are quite common. Similarly, many patients doubt the results of their liposuction or rhinoplasty. The scarring from the surgery becomes a huge cause for concern. Many believe that it won’t go away and constantly spoil the results of the procedure.

A lot of the time, the opinions of other people regarding your surgery will become a source of sadness for you. This is why many people prefer to have surgeries during the holidays so that other people won’t notice the glaring surgical scar. This is because sometimes people will come up to you to just let you know that you’ve made a mistake, and you shouldn’t have gotten the surgery.

Of course, you’re going to feel bad about receiving such remarks right after the surgery when you’re already feeling low. You might keep thinking about the opinions of these people, and it can consume your thoughts. This can be accompanied by a feeling of helplessness, where you feel like you cannot do anything to get out of this situation. This can cause further downward spiralling. The way you feel will also impact the way you behave.

Is the Surgical Procedure Responsible for Making Me Feel Depressed? 

Yes, there are certain steps that are a part of the surgical procedure which can make you feel depressed. Let’s take a look at them.

General Anaesthesia

The first few hours after the surgery, general anaesthesia can make you more emotionally sensitive and even anxious. Therefore, you can feel nervous and sad right after the procedure. However, after the effects of the anaesthesia wear off, you will start feeling much better emotionally.


We prescribe painkillers to our patients. Depending on the patient and the type of procedure, the dosage of the medicine can vary. However, the intake of pain medications has been linked with mood alterations, which can also cause a feeling of sadness. You will feel better once you’ve stopped taking these medications. Your surgeon will let you know for how long you need to take them.

Pain and Discomfort

Pain and discomfort alone make you feel miserable. Many people have difficulty sleeping after the surgery. Restlessness, nervousness, and sleeplessness all come together to create a terrible emotional mix. You might constantly feel on edge. Unable to find relief, you can start feeling down. Unfortunately, after many surgeries, you are specifically advised against taking any sleeping pills. Try doing yoga or some other meditation techniques.

Post- Surgery Appearance 

It’s hard not to feel worried after seeing your bruised, swollen face in the mirror. The fear of permanent scarring will also make you feel sad. However, it’s only temporary so try to relax.

Temporary Restrictions

For someone who has an active lifestyle, lying around on the bed can be a hassle. They can feel frustrated about being confined to one corner of the house for the purpose of resting and relaxing. Feelings of helplessness and depression after surgery can develop consequently.


If you have multiple surgeries simultaneously or even spaced apart, you might feel that the person that you’re looking at in the mirror is not you anymore. You should give yourself some time to settle into your new look and get used to it. However, you might feel anguish and regret as a result of this feeling of alienation from your original self.

What Are Some Common Emotions That I’ll Feel After the Surgery? 

Initially, you might feel drained and exhausted both mentally and physically. Just try to do some breathing exercises if you’re feeling very anxious and try to sleep. Give your body some time to heal.

After that, for at least 1-3 weeks after the surgery, you might feel a bit moody and worried. The isolation from the outside world can make things worse for you. You can try to cope with this by reading a book, watching a movie, or playing some games. Still, you’ll need to wait for this phase-out as these feelings are closely associated with your battered state after the surgery. Even for a few months after the surgery, you might feel that you didn’t do the right thing by deciding to get surgery. Of course, the scars will further make you feel this way.

This is not how it’s going to be for long, though. After a few months, your scars will start fading, and you will start seeing the results of your surgery emerge. You will start feeling happier and more confident about your surgery. It will keep getting better from there onwards. So, all you need to do is wait.

How Can I Cope with Post-Surgical Depression? 

There are more than a few ways through which you can cope with your post-surgical depression.

Share Your Experience 

Staying silent might make you feel worse. Your thoughts might be muddled, and talking about your emotions with someone you trust can be quite helpful. You can even try reading about the experiences of other people who’ve been in the same situation as yours. This can also make you feel better knowing that you’ll get out of this.

Prepare A Small Checklist 

Your day-to-day life will be interrupted for a while after the surgery. You won’t be able to drive, jog, or exercise. This doesn’t mean that you have to confine yourself to bed all day long. You can prepare a small checklist of different activities that are not tiring or strenuous. Try completing them throughout the day. These small achievements can make you feel better about yourself.

Try Meditation 

Meditation has a positive effect on your mental health. Doing sports might not be possible for you especially in the initial stage of your recovery. However, you may try meditating with soft background music. This might help you with your negative emotions.

In A Nutshell 

Many people experience post-surgical depression. However, you shouldn’t worry about it as it will get better with time. Your emotions will be all-time high after the surgery, which can make you feel sad and regretful. If you need us at any time during the recovery period, don’t hesitate to reach out to our aftercare support.

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