According to a study conducted by The Permanente Medical Group in San Francisco, California, there is no reason bipolar disorder patients should not have the same weight-loss surgeries that others are eligible for. The study shows that there isn’t medical evidence why bipolar patients can’t have the surgery, and even displays the benefit of losing weight thanks to bariatric surgery and similar procedures. If the patient is stable, they can still get the surgery and take care of themselves following the surgery.

How does Bariatric Surgery affect Bipolar Patients?

doctor with patient

The study in question was performed by researchers at the Permanente Medical Group, located in San Francisco, California. It surveyed 144 patients that were in the severely obese category, according to their body mass index (BMI). Every patient also had bipolar disorder, but the disease was currently stable.

Among the 144 people who got the surgery, 13 of them needed a psychiatric hospital visit over the two years of the study. This was only 9 percent and considered a subtle amount, considering 10.0 percent of the group of 1,440 patients who did not get the weight loss surgery had the same treatment.

The Results

A variety of factors were taken into consideration for this study when compiling the results. It included the patient’s BMI, any medication they take for bipolar disorder, their age, ethnicity, and any comorbidity. The results showed no significant hazards following the surgery that required extensive psychiatric treatment. It also did not show an increase in visits to psychiatric outpatient offices in the two years of the study.

Before the study, there was a supposed risk of increased suicide for bipolar patients after surgery, but this was not seen during the study. There were lower chances of death among those who had the surgery, than those who did not.

Should People with Bipolar have Weight Loss Surgery?

What this study shows is that there is not a good enough reason to deny weight loss surgery to bipolar patients. There is not an increase in side effects, psychotic episodes, the need for mental care, or suicidal tendencies. There was also not an increase in substance abuse or dependence on substances among bipolar disorder patients who got bariatric surgery.

It does, however, benefit bipolar patients who have emotional difficulties due to their low self-esteem before their obesity. This certainly helps them in that respect.

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