Weight-loss surgery & alcohol abuse

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The results of a study that was published May 2017 in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases show that patients should get a more thorough evaluation after they undergo Roux-en-Y gastric bypass weight-loss surgery, even years later, to help to prevent them from developing alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Nearly 21 percent of patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery developed a drinking problem, sometimes years afterward. Before the study, the surgery was associated with an increased risk of a patient experiencing alcohol dependency within the first 2 years after the procedure, but it wasn’t clear whether the risk persisted.

During the 7-year study, more than 1 in 5 patients who had the surgery developed alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Nevertheless, the author of the study, Wendy King, who is an associate professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, says Roux-en-Y gastric bypass weight-loss surgery shouldn’t be disregarded, because “it is the most effective treatment for severe obesity, resulting in substantial and durable weight reduction, and improvement in or remission of obesity-related comorbidities, such as type 2 diabetes.” The surgery is deemed to be appropriate for a person who has severe (morbid) obesity, which is indicated by a body-mass index (BMI) of at least 40 or a BMI of at least 35 in combination with serious comorbid conditions.