According to a massive Canadian research published in the journal JAMA Surgery, a large number of the patients who undergo weight loss surgery are predisposed to depression and self-harm thoughts.
Popular weight loss surgery such as the gastric bypass usually show not only a significant change in the body mass index which brings with it a reduction in type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and hypertension, but also a general improvement in mood and self-esteem.
However, a small group of the 200,000 participants from last year reported that they are suffering from depression, eating disorders and substance abuse.
Previous studies showed that suicidal behavior and suicides are far more common among those who went through bariatric-surgery than in the rest of the population. However, it was not clear whether that was due to the mental state of the obese patients or due to the operation.
The Sunnybrook Research Institute from the University of Toronto inspected the issue by comparing the suicide rates between the same groups of weight loss patients, first before, then after their surgery.
The study analyzed hospital records of nearly 9,000 Canadian people who had bariatric surgery in the last decade, three years before and three years after they went through the procedures.
110 of the patients who had bariatric surgery were treated for self-harm behavior in Canadian hospitals. However, one third of those attempts occurred before the surgery, whereas the other two-thirds after the patients had the surgery. Therefore, the rate of suicide attempts was only 2.3 in 1,000 patients before the procedure, and 3.0 in 1,000 after the surgery, while in the general population the rate is 1 in 1,000.
The rates means that self-harming behavior increased by a little more than 50% in the same patients during the three years after the group of people had surgery.
The bad news is that the The Sunnybrook Research Institute study did not manage to gather data on suicide attempts for the patients who were not treated at hospitals, so the real numbers may be in fact much worse than what the research shows us.
Another thing that researchers were not able to determine was whether the depressive patients had actually managed to lost weight or they were still struggling with the issue. According to the medical files, almost all the patients who attempted suicide were diagnosed with some form of depression before they had the surgery.
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