Depression Hinders Obesity Surgery Results
> 6/18/2007 10:15:37 AM

A new study has found that extremely obese patients suffering from depression often lose less weight than those who are more mentally fit, following gastric bypass obesity surgery.

According to coordinator of the study, Melissa Kalarchian of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, patients involved with the study who were diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders shed, on average, 81 pounds. Participants who underwent surgery but were not suffering from depression or anxiety problems lost 86 pounds. The statistics reveal that although both groups lost a considerable amount of weight, those without a mental disorder did slightly better.

Prior to the surgery, numerous hospitals and insurers require patients to go through a battery of psychological evaluations, to make sure they are ready to deal with the lifestyle changes associated with the procedure. However, patients who report being depressed, aren’t always turned away. And even after a client's mental health has been assessed, each hospital treats mental health disorders differently when determining a patients’ eligibility.

Speaking with the AP, Kalarchian said:

“Patients with a lifetime history of mental health problems might benefit from closer surveillance”.

The results of the study were presented last Thursday at a meeting of bariatric surgeons in San Diego. And according to Kalarchian, the study will follow many of the patients for the next two years and record changes in weight over that span.

What the preliminary results of the study suggest, is that patients interested in undergoing this procedure should be aware that their mental health may prevent them from achieving optimal results. It will be interesting to see how the rest of Kalarchian's study plays out however, as there are many possible implications and interactions that could effect future weight loss and mental health improvement.

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