June 15th, 2011
01:24 PM ET
Depression and anxiety are common among morbidly obese patients who get bariatric surgery.
What contributes to the other can be a chicken-and-egg argument. But studies have shown that with weight loss, there are improvements in depression.
In a study, Jonathan Finks, an assistant professor of surgery of University Michigan and his co-authors observed that 46% of the patients getting the weight loss surgery have a psychiatric disorder.
They examined data from the Michigan Bariatric Surgery Collaborative that contains data of more than 26,000 patients who have undergone weight loss surgery since 2006.
The surgeries included gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy (removal of the left side of the stomach), gastric banding (placing a ring around the upper part of the stomach) and the duodenal switch (similar to gastric bypass, but keeps some stomach and passes most of the intestine).
Before the surgery, 72% of patients with depression used antidepressants.
A year after bariatric surgery, the percentage of people taking antidepressants dropped to 60%. Finks added that the percentage of people responding to the surveys a year later dropped to just 31%.
“The real focus is whether psychiatric disorders affect the outcome of surgery,” Finks said. “We wanted to look at the effects on depression. Our results suggest bariatric surgery may improve depression for patients, although further studies are definitely warranted.”
The study being presented at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery found that patients who have psychiatric disorders have similar improvement in their quality of life and weight loss, to patients who don’t have mental disorders.
Mental illness should not be a barrier to surgery, he said.
“Bariatric surgery may improve depression,” Finks said.
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