Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Increase in Alcohol Use Follows Popular Form of Surgery

Physicians are finding a surprising link between an increasingly popular form of surgery and development of alcohol use disorder (AUD) in people who weren't problem drinkers before their operation. As reported online in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Monday, researchers have discovered that patients who have undergone gastric-bypass surgery may have a two-fold increase in their risk for excessive drinking compared with patients who chose stomach banding as a way to lose weight. Most of the patient-reported increases in problem drinking appeared about two years after the surgical procedure.

Led by Wendy King, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, the researchers studied about 2,400 participants who had bariatric surgery at 10 U.S. hospitals. They found that while the prevalence of alcohol use disorder symptoms did not change from one year prior to one year after surgery, the prevalence of the disorder was significantly higher in the second postoperative year. The greatest increase was among males and younger participants and those with lower interpersonal support. The researchers "did not find a significant association between preoperative mental health, depressive symptoms, binge eating, or past-year treatment for psychiatric or emotional problems and prospective AUD." They emphasized that "regardless of alcohol history, patients should be educated about the potential effects of bariatric surgery," particularly its risk for developing AUD.

To read more about the relationship between psychiatric disorders and bariatric surgery, see Psychiatric News.

(image: Alila Sao Mai/Shutterstock.com)


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