DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Gastric bypass surgery has become a popular solution for the extremely obese. But now, years after being introduced as an option, more patients are finding themselves struggling with a whole new set of serious issues.
Lindsay Horn battled food addiction throughout her entire life. “I turned to food,” she said. “It comforted me. When I was happy, I ate. When I was sad, I ate.” But in 2010, Horn chose gastric bypass surgery. Within months, she had dropped 170 pounds. “I went from a 24 to a 6.”
Shortly after the surgery, Horn went through a divorce. Newly single and no longer able to turn to food, she started going out more, and indulging in alcohol. “I felt good,” she said. “I wanted to get out there, show off.”
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients who had gastric bypass surgery doubled their risk for exccessive drinking, compared to those who had a less drastic weight-loss surgeries. “Because of the re-routing of the intestine, alcohol gets into the system significantly faster and can last longer,” Horn’s doctor explained.
It is estimated that about 2,000 people each year develop drinking problems after weight-loss surgery.
While a patient’s physical issues improve — blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes risk — the emotional struggles are far from over. “The first year is this high. People are telling you how great you look,” Horn’s doctor said. “Year two, that stops.” Most doctors counsel their patients and recommend joining a support group.
After realizing that she was drinking too much, Horn took action. “I probably only drink every couple of months now,” she said.
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