The increased incidence of alcohol use disorders (AUD) after bariatric surgery has been proposed despite limited empirical support.
We sought to determine the prevalence of current and lifetime AUD and other Axis I diagnoses in patients who have undergone bariatric surgery, and to test the hypothesis that greater weight loss is associated with a higher incidence of AUD following surgery.
Individuals who underwent bariatric surgery between 2004 and 2007 were recruited for inclusion in the study. The diagnosis of current and lifetime AUD and other Axis I disorders was assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV.
A total of 51 individuals were included. The prevalence of lifetime and current AUD was 35.3% and 11.8%, respectively. No associations were found between weight loss following surgery and the development of an AUD or other Axis I diagnoses. Significantly more current AUD was reported in (1) individuals with a lifetime history of AUD compared to those without a lifetime AUD (p < 0.05), and (2) individuals undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) compared to those undergoing the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) surgery (p < 0.05).
Individuals undergoing bariatric surgery were found to have a lifetime prevalence of AUD comparable to the general population. Although weight loss was not associated with the development of an AUD following surgery, individuals with a lifetime history of AUD may be at increased risk for relapsing to alcohol use after surgery. All instances of current AUD were identified in individuals undergoing RYGB as opposed to LAGB.
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