Weight Loss Surgery May Drive Risk of Early Alcohol Problems — Lancet
LONDON — Young people who have had surgery for obesity do not improve their mental health despite significant and permanent weight loss, according to a study.
The study, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, showed that bariatric surgery can increase the risk of early alcohol problems.
Researchers from Lund University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden studied mental health problems — before and after surgery — among all young people in Sweden, who underwent bariatric surgery between 2007 and 2017.
The results showed that young people who underwent surgery were more likely to have received treatment and medication for mental health problems already five years before the surgery.
“Although mental illness generally increases between the ages of 15 and 21, for this group, the need for treatment increased faster than for young people in general,” said Kajsa Jarvholm, Associate Professor of Psychology at Lund University.
Unfortunately, this pattern continued even after obesity surgery; the young people who had the surgery continued to have a greater need for mental health treatment than their peers.
“Obesity surgery has very positive effects on weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure control, but when it comes to mental health, it does not get better or worse after bariatric surgery,” said Martin Neovius, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet.
Additionally, the findings showed an increase in dependency diagnoses, particularly on alcohol, in the surgical group, both in comparison to pre-surgery and to young people in general.