Bariatric surgery likely to increase risk of alcohol dependence, says study

Posted on July 28th, 2017 in Addiction, alcohol addiction, alcoholism, drinking

Bariatric surgery likely to increase risk of alcohol dependence, says study

In recent times, weight reduction has become a fad among youngsters who can go to any extreme in order to get a perfect body. People are going berserk to lose those extra kilos and often get caught in the web of “fad diets,” which eventually lead to various eating disorders. Although a lot of people opt for healthier options, such as physical workouts, healthy diet and yoga, to improve their physical appearance, many others look for shortcuts, such as going under the knife to get that perfect figure. In its 2016 report, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), had highlighted the alarming rates of such weight loss surgeries among the U.S. population, increasing from 158,000 in 2011 to 200,000 in 2015. A typical weight loss surgery known as bariatric surgery changes the structure of the small intestine and makes it smaller, reducing it to the size of an egg.

According to a March 2017 study published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, patients undergoing bariatric surgery, or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), are at an increased risk of developing alcohol dependence, soon after the surgical procedure. However, the risk was reportedly lower for people who had undergone another procedure called laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), in which an adjustable band is inserted around the upper part of the patient’s stomach, limiting his or her intake of food.

Link between bariatric surgery and alcohol use disorder

As part of the study, the researchers examined more than 2,300 patients over a follow-up period of 7 years. Among the participants, 1,481 patients had undergone RYGB, while the remaining 522 took up LAGB. During the seven-year follow-up period, all the participants (irrespective of the surgery type) were allowed to consume large quantities of alcohol so that symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD) could be measured.

Results revealed that nearly 21 percent of patients undergoing RYGB had developed AUD symptoms within 5 years of having the procedure, as compared to only 11.3 percent of the LAGB patients who developed similar problems. Additionally, of those participants without any alcohol issues in the year before the intervention, RYGB patients were over twice as likely to develop alcohol use problems over a 7-year period, as compared to those undergoing LAGB, found the study.

Although the study could not identify the exact reason behind the risk of alcohol dependence among patients undergoing bariatric surgery, it highlighted that RYGB procedure can increase the levels of alcohol in the bloodstream faster and higher than other methods. Additionally, the RYGB was also found to increase tolerance by altering the genetic expression of the hormones that deal with reward circuits in the brain.

Road to recovery

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for a healthy living. However, attaining an ideal weight through surgery is not a good idea. Also, doctors should ask the patients about their alcohol consumption before advising bariatric surgery.

Alcoholism is a treatable condition and can be cured through recovery programs and treatment. However, the road to recovery from alcohol addiction is not easy. People battling this addiction need proper treatment combined with strong willpower and the support of family and society to get over their addiction. If you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms of AUD, the Arizona Alcohol Addiction Helpline can help you on your road to embracing sobriety. You may chat online or call our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-1510 to know more about alcohol addiction treatment in Arizona offering various therapeutic interventions for sustained recovery.

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