Since its years of success, bariatric surgery, also coined as weight loss surgery, has experienced a steady growth in popularity and has been widely done in the United States. Recent studies document how surgeons and researchers alike have extensively observed patients who have undergone bariatric surgeries. They have found that weight loss have brought about long-term influences to the patients’ behavior. The overeating habits of these patients have stopped after weight loss surgery. Although there were some patients appeared to be more compulsive and addicted to other activities, majority have experienced positive effects, especially in their physical and mental well-being.
Researchers have found that these few post-bariatric patients develop new addictions as a means to divert from their previous nature of excessive eating. It is a must that these patients be informed and educated about the addiction that they have acquired. This is where bariatric teams come in. These teams can offer helpful activities such as seminars as well as building of support groups and counselling services that will focus on helping the patients overcome their addiction. Addiction can be in the form of smoking, alcohol consumption, gambling, and excessive shopping to name a few.
This development of new addiction have been coined by psychologists as addiction transfer, where one behavior is replaced by another compulsive behaviour. Once bariatric surgery has been performed, the patients have recognized that eating right and healthy is vital in their weight management. Also, they have increased awareness towards controlling how they must eat and adhere to the nutritional requirements that they must follow. With these positive improvements in the patient’s attitude towards eating, the development of new addictions have often been overlooked. These new behaviour may have risen from the emotional issues that comes with weight loss that has been left unnoticed while the food addiction was being addressed.
It’s a good thing that there are post-bariatric support groups that can deal with both the physical problems of the patient as well as the psychological or emotional aspect of losing weight, which is believed to bring forth the new addictions. Generally, the addiction, for example, substance abuse, serves to relieve and satisfy the cravings of the addicted person. Effective management of these addictions can be done through proper counseling. Family members and friends of these patients are also encouraged to show support by being a good example in terms of living a healthy lifestyle and by simply being there to extend help in any possible way. As long as the patient acknowledges his existing problem and is willing to accept help, he’ll surely be on his way to a much healthier and well-rounded way of living.