Gastric surgery linked to psychological stress

Weight loss surgery can leave patients suffering psychological stress, research suggests.

A study presented at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference in Liverpool this week showed that people who have gastric surgery are at risk of a range of psychological problems. These include low self-esteem, relationship problems and body image dissatisfaction.

UK researchers studied 25 patients, 16 of whom had diabetes, aged 30-58 years for 12 months after post-laparoscopic gastric banding.

The patients enrolled in the study reported significant health benefits, including improved blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

But they reported that the gastric band had a strong, negative impact on their daily lives. Most said that losing the opportunity to eat as a coping strategy left them struggling to deal with distressing life events.

Lead researcher Dr Andrew Johnson from Southmead Hospital, Bristol, said the findings showed that a gastric band should not be seen as the easy option when it comes to losing weight. 'This operation has a strong psychological impact as well as a physical one and we found that regular psychological support is needed to help people cope with the realities of having the device fitted,' he said.

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