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How Common Are Mental Health Problems in Patients Who Need Bariatric Surgery?

January 18th, 2016

Bariatric surgery is used to treat severe obesity, and a new study shows that patients who require this type of surgery usually suffer from mental health issues as well. These mental health problems typically include binge eating, depression, and even social anxiety. In addition to determining the prevalence of mental health disorders in people who were considering bariatric surgery the researchers also wanted to see whether these disorders had an impact on the weight loss and results that patients had after they underwent the bariatric procedure. The study conclusions and statistics were published in the journal JAMA. University of California-Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine researcher Dr. Aaron J. Dawes was part of the team who undertook the study, and a total of 59 publications on bariatric surgery and mental health disorders were analyzed using the meta data. These publications covered more than 65,000 patients who fit the study criteria.

The study on bariatric surgery and mental health problems in obese patients showed that almost 1 in 4 patients in this group had a mood disorder. These mood disorders included depression, which affected 19% of the patients, and binge eating disorder, which was present in around 17% of the patients. Approximately 12% of the individuals who were analyzed as part of the study had anxiety. Bariatric patients seem to suffer from mental health issues in greater numbers than the general population and the higher rates are cause for concern. According to the research team “Previous reviews have suggested that self-esteem, mental image, cognitive function, temperament, support networks and socioeconomic stability play major roles in determining outcomes after bariatric surgery.”

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