A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association uncovered that bariatric surgery increases risk of suicide in the second and third year after the operation.
The study took into consideration more than 8.800 patients and potential patients in Canada, over a period of three years, before and after the actual surgery. Morbid obesity seems to become something of an epidemic among the population of a wealthy nation. Statistics say that circa 6 percent of the population is affected by this disease, which means 0.6 out of 10 people can suffer from morbid obesity.
In their study of postoperative self-harm, researchers took into consideration the fact that some of the people that suffer from morbid obesity could also develop mental disorders. But they could not ascertain if the risk of self-harm came before the surgical procedure or it rose afterwards.
The paper states that before the surgical intervention, the number of emergencies caused by self-harm was very low. From out of 8.800 people, only about 111 patients requested assistance for such issues. The total number of emergencies was situated at around 158.
Still, researchers are alarmed by the fact that after the weight-loss procedure, the risks spikes up to nearly 50 percent. The most common form of intentional self-harm seems to be medication poisoning. Among other methods, researchers have discovered that patients used alcohol, subjected themselves to brutal physical trauma or attempted to willingly ingest toxic chemicals.
A doctor Junaid Bhatti, from the Sunnybrook Research Institute urged all physicians to be cautious when screening their patient for future bariatric surgery and be diligent in their follow-ups. Numbers show that 200.000 of such operations are performed each year all over the US. The same doctor said that if we don’t take all the necessary precautions, the adverse outcome of the surgery could outweigh its benefits.
Researchers point out that shrinking the stomach’s capacity through surgical means could affect the way the body metabolizes certain substances. For example, alcohol can metabolize much faster, prompting an increased risk of aggressive behavior.
Bariatric surgery can be a most effective tool in treating morbid obesity since the patient can lose about 60 to 80 percent of his body fat in the first year.
Both doctor and physicians state that the risk of developing such a mental disorder should not be taken lightly and urges all patients that undergo surgery to talk to their surgeon or psychiatrist if they show signs of depression or anxiety.
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