Weight-loss surgery and depression

People who undergo weight-loss surgery may be less likely to suffer from depression as a result. This is the suggestion of new research from Arizona State University (ASU), which showed this type of treatment can lead to an overall improvement in quality of life issues.

To be presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, the study showed individuals with chronic health problems experienced notable benefits following bariatric surgery.

Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld, a Professor at the ASU School of Social and Family Dynamics, noted: "We thought there would be more negative reactions to the surgery, but the response was very positive."

In addition to reporting a decrease in depression following the treatment, patients also claimed their relationships benefitted and health issue improvements were seen regarding heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnoea and cholesterol level.

Doris Palmer, a doctoral student in the School of Social and Family Dynamics sociology programme at ASU, said the findings show people are more satisfied with their relationships after overcoming stigma associated with being overweight. 

Chartered Psychologist Dr Marilyn Glenville commented: "Although the researchers thought there would be more negative reactions to the surgery the response was actually very positive.

"This could be the result of the stigma being lifted that is so associated with obesity and the change from negative to positive comments from family and friends about their size.

"The other benefits that will have reduced the risk of depression is the difference in their health from the surgery and getting back a quality of life that was missing before, such as being mobile, more energy, better sleep quality from the reduction in sleep apnoea and other improvements in health such as lower cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease."