Bariatric Surgery Patients Often Have Depression, BED

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
March/April Volume 27, Number 2
©2016 iaedp

According to the results of a study at the University of California, Los Angeles, a sizeable number of persons undergoing bariatric surgery also have depression and/or binge-eating disorder (BED). Dr. Aaron Dawes, a general surgery resident at UCLA, recently reported that an analysis of 68 studies found that almost one-fourth of candidates for gastric bypass or gastric sleeve techniques had a mood-related disorder, usually depression. Another 17% had BED. Dr. Dawes reported his findings in the January 12, 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. These figures for depression and BED are both twice as common as in the general U.S. population.

While having a diagnosis of BED might seem to preclude an individual from undergoing bariatric surgery, since food intake has to be strictly limited, people with the disorder fare as well as other patients, Dawes said. That might be partly because some get therapy for their binge-eating, Wolfe said, but added that the surgery also has effects on the nervous and hormonal systems that may help ease bingeing.

Based on the review, people with depression can also improve after surgery. Across seven studies, prevalence of depression dropped by anywhere from 8% to 74% after surgery. The severity of patients’ depressive symptoms also fell by 40% to 70%.

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