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Bariatric Surgery Patients Have Higher Risk Of Alcohol Abuse

Study of Bariatric Surgery Patients and Alcoholism

According to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the National Institute of Health, adults who have a common type of bariatric surgery have a significantly higher risk of abusing alcohol two years after the surgery.

The study looked at alcohol consumption and abuse in almost 2,000 patients across the United States. The researchers surveyed bariatric surgery patients on their alcohol consumption 30 days before surgery, then again one and two years after surgery. Almost 70 percent of the study participants had gastric bypass surgery and were most of risk for alcohol disorders. Another 25 percent had laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding surgery, and the remaining 5 percent had other, less common surgeries. Although a prior problem with alcohol was one of the best predictors of having a disorder later, more than half of the study participants who developed disorders two years after surgery did not have a prior history of alcohol abuse.

“The study results suggest that clinicians should be aware of the importance of monitoring for signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorders and consider counseling after bariatric surgery,” said Dr. Mary Horlick, project scientist for LABS at the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Those most at risk of developing problems with alcohol abuse were those with little social support, those who had engaged in past recreational drug or alcohol abuse, those who suffered from depressive symptoms, binge eaters, men and young adults.

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